Crime, Movies

Another Thin Man

02.13.12 | Comment?

I DVRed Another Thin Man a while back and finally got around to watching it last night. Not bad! Perhaps a bit dated but the chemistry between William Powell (no relation, sadly) and Myrna Loy was really good, and the supporting cast was top-notch.

The story: Nick and Nora Charles have just returned to New York from California, new baby in tow. Their business manager (and Nora’s father’s old partner), Colonel MacFay is being stalked by a former employee who went to jail for ten years and feels he’s owed compensation. This man, Church, says he’s dreamed about MacFay’s death twice, and if he dreams about it again, it will happen.

So naturally he’s the main suspect when MacFay does turn up dead. Hijinks follow.

Sheldon Leonard is really good as Church, as is Abner Biberman as his henchman Dum-Dum. Marjorie Main has a hilarious scene as a landlord. And even Shemp Howard turns up!

But the most interesting of the bit players is Tom Neal. Here he’s as clean-cut as he can be, and a romantic – he writes plays! He has a crush on the boss’s daughter! His part sort of echoes his upbringing, as a well-to-do midwestern college boy. Unfortunately, his more famous turn as an amoral drifter in the noir classic Detour is closer to the remainder of his life.

Neal was a jealous man with a violent temper, and as a former boxer, could back it up. He famously beat the crap out of Franchot Tone over a woman, leaving the Frenchman with a broken cheekbone and nose (basically, he smashed his face in) and a concussion. Years later, apparently tired of his third wife, he shot her through the back of the head with a .45 and served six years for manslaughter.

He got out in 1971 but didn’t get to enjoy his freedom much. The next year he fell over dead from a heart attack at 58.

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