The Thin Man Goes Home


Richard Thorpe

Fifth of the Thin Man films is certainly the least. Nick returns home to visit the folks in Sycamore Springs, Nora and Asta in tow (Nick Jr. is handwaved away and not seen). Everyone there is sure he is investigating something, though he denies it. He obviously is, but it's never clearly defined, evidence of last minute tampering to salvage a poor film. Once again, Nick gets involved with murder and intrigue, this time with a wartime slant (espionage).

This is a poor film precisely because the scriptwriters and director did not have a firm handle on the characters. Van Dyke, the director of the first four films, had died, and the sense of consistency is lacking. Certainly a better director than B-movie churner Thorpe was needed.

Nick doesn't drink in this film, something brought about by wartime rationing, but that's the least of it. The whole thing with Nick's parents and the stifling, puritanical hometown does not jibe with Nick's character (or what Hammett wrote; in the books he's Greek, not a WASP). Nick is not the calm, in-control character he is in the other films; in fact, here he is presented as a bit of a buffoon. I don't know if Powell was tired of playing the character, or if it's an attempt at something like 'man returns home and reverts to childhood in front of his parents', but it does not work. Further, all the other characters in the film are rude, tired and irritable.That certainly reflects the war-weary audiences of 1945, but it makes for a very trying viewing experience today--the opening train scene is a good example. Also, way too much Asta. A major disappointment. . .

Followed by one more film, Song of the Thin Man, which was a definite improvement, especially in terms of the mystery element.

-Dave W.

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The Thin Man Goes Home
25th January 1945

100 mins

William Powell
Nick Charles
Myrna Loy
Nora Charles
Lucile Watson
Mrs. Marta Charles
Gloria DeHaven
Laurabel Ronson
Anne Revere
Crazy Mary
Helen Vinson
Helena Draque
Harry Davenport
Doctor Bertram Charles
Leon Ames
Edgar Draque
Donald Meek
Willie Crump
Edward Brophy
Lloyd Corrigan
Dr. Bruce Clayworth
Anita Sharp-Bolster
(as Anita Bolster)
Ralph Brooks
Peter Berton
Donald MacBride
Police Chief MacGregor
Morris Ankrum
Nora Cecil
Miss Peavy
Minor Watson
Sam Ronson
Irving Bacon
Virginia Sale
Tom's Wife
Chester Clute
The Drunk
(scenes deleted)
Arthur Hohl
(scenes deleted)
Lee Phelps
(scenes deleted)
Anthony Warde
(scenes deleted)
Jean Acker
Oliver Blake
Dick Botiller
Big Man's Companion
Lucile Browne
Skating Woman
Wally Cassell
Bill Burns
Clancy Cooper
Butcher in Montage
Joseph Crehan
Clancy, Policeman at Railroad Station
Tom Dillon
Police Officer
Tom Dugan
Studs Lonnegan
Helen Eby-Rock
Sarah Edwards
Passenger on Train asking 'Why Should I?'
Rex Evans
Fat Man in Train Passageway
Tom Fadden
Train Passenger in Passageway
Sam Flint
Hotel Clerk
Dorothy Ford
Tall Girl With Dog
Edward Gargan
Mickey Finnegan
Connie Gilchrist
Woman on Train with Baby
Sol Gorss
Bartender in Pool Room
Jane Green
Miss Harvey - Clayworth's Housekeeper
Joseph J. Greene
Train Passenger
Charles Halton
R.T. Tatum
Mickey Harris
Harry Hayden
Train Conductor
Robert Homans
Railroad Clerk
Bill Hunter
Police Officer
Frank Jaquet
Train Passenger with Glasses Askew
Paul Langton
Tom Clayworth
Mitchell Lewis
Third Man Outside Barber Shop
Bert May
Mike Mazurki
First Man Outside Barber Shop
Etta McDaniel
Ronson's Maid
Catherine McLeod
Daughter in Montage
Clarence Muse
Porter on Train
Robert Emmett O'Connor
Baggage Attendant on Train
Garry Owen
Pool Player
Bill Smith
Skating Man
Ray Teal
Second Man Outside Barber Shop
John Wengraf
Big Man
Marjorie Wood
Mother in Montage
Joe Yule

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