In the fourth entry of the Thin Man series, Nick and Nora get embroiled in another mystery involving a gambling ring when a jockey is found dead at a race track, just when Nick decides to bet on the horses.
Enjoyable entry, not for the run of the mill mystery, but for the always enjoyable cast and the usual amusing situations along the way. The casting director pulled every mug out of the Damon Runyon playbook for this one, which adds to the fun. The subplot with Nick slowly realizing that he needs to lay off the booze because of his son is also charming and understated. Only detriments are that the cops are apparently totally helpless without Nick (shades of Philo Vance, though Nick Charles is never anywhere near as obnoxious as Vance), and that Nelson & Reed's characters are colorless. Stella Adler's moll with a thin veneer of culture and Reynolds' pulp-addicted landlady more than make up for it. The clarity of the DVD unfortunately allows us to very clearly see the wires cruelly tied to Asta's legs, controlling his movements. Still, that's some screwy hat!!
Shadow of the Thin Man came out just a few weeks before Pearl Harbor and there is a martial air to the atmosphere--Nickie's little uniforms, Nora spying on Nick with binoculars, etc. Indeed, the racetrack shown in the film became a storage center for naval landing craft not long after the film was released.
Followed by The Thin Man Goes Home in 1944, which definitely had a more military atmosphere.
There are so many unknowns in this film that those questionable characters have been moved to a separate page.