The Complete Thin Man Collection (The Thin Man / After the Thin Man / Another Thin Man / Shadow of the Thin Man / The Thin Man Goes Home / Song of the Thin Man) DVD
   
The Complete Thin Man Collection (The Thin Man / After the Thin Man / Another Thin Man / Shadow of the Thin Man / The Thin Man Goes Home / Song of the Thin Man) DVD
The Complete Thin Man Collection (The Thin Man / After the Thin Man / Another Thin Man / Shadow of the Thin Man / The Thin Man Goes Home / Song of the Thin Man) DVD  

Cheap The Complete Thin Man Collection (The Thin Man / After the Thin Man / Another Thin Man / Shadow of the Thin Man / The Thin Man Goes Home / Song of the Thin Man) (DVD) (W.S. Van Dyke) Price

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Almost as welcome as a shaker full of martinis, The Complete Thin Man Collection represents an eagerly awaited DVD milestone for fans of the fizzy MGM movie series. The best film in the series came first: The Thin Man (1934), W.S. Van Dyke's marvelous adaptation of a Dashiell Hammet novel. The movie gods were in a generous mood when they paired William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles, the upper-class sophisticates whose sleuthing escapades somehow joined the classic form of the whodunit with the giddyup of screwball comedy. Among the series' many attributes, one of its most radical notions was the idea that a married couple might find each other delightful and view life as a goofy adventure together.

It is common wisdom that the Thin Man sequels adhere to the law of diminishing returns, and while none of the follow-ups reach the diamond level of the first film, all afford pleasures. There's the cocktail-swilling chemistry of Powell and Loy, for one thing, as well as the considerable satisfaction of average movies made during the studio system: the craftsmanship of studio hands, and a gallery of terrific character actors filling in supporting roles. First sequel After the Thin Man (1936) is very good, with the couple in San Francisco and a supporting part for rising player James Stewart. The scenery moves again, to Long Island, for the rather impudently-titled Another Thin Man (1939), which adds baby Nick, Jr., to the mix (a "bad idea," thought Pauline Kael, perhaps a sign of the domestication of the series).

Shadow of the Thin Man (1941) sets the action around a racetrack, and is the last of the series to be directed by the fast-working Van Dyke. The Thin Man Goes Home (1944) finds Nick escorting family to his parents' house for a visit. Song of the Thin Man (1947) engagingly adds a jazz milieu to the Charles's detective work; at this point, Nick, Jr. was played by child star Dean Stockwell. The series stuck with certain staples: the unveiling of the guilty party, a wirehaired terrier named Asta (who became a star in its own right), and booze. When Nick opines, in the first film, that a dry martini should always be shaken to "waltz time," you know why audiences fell in love with these guilt-free comedies. --Robert Horton

CATEGORY: DVD
DIRECTOR: W.S. Van Dyke
THEATRICAL RELEASE DATE: 31 May, 1934
MANUFACTURER: Warner Home Video
MPAA RATING: NR (Not Rated)
FEATURES: Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
TYPE: Comedies & Family Ent., Comedy Video, Feature Film-drama, Gift Set, Movie
MEDIA: DVD
# OF MEDIA: 7
UPC: 012569673991

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Customer Review of The Complete Thin Man Collection (The Thin Man / After the Thin Man / Another Thin Man / Shadow of the Thin Man / The Thin Man Goes Home / Song of the Thin Man)
Only About "Song of..." Don't Judge the Series by this Weak Entry
<
>The standard comment and review for 1947's "Song of the Thin Man" is generally that it is the weakest of the series but still way above your average film. It is the none-too- remarkable conclusion to a great six-film (produced over 13 year period) series and suffers from Hollywood's usual inability to sense when enough is enough, they just tried to wring one too many out of what had once been a good idea. <
> <
>The basic problem lay in trying to incorporate all the elements that sold tickets to the earlier films, as the number of these elements grew with each successive film and the producers were relatively clueless about which ones were needed to draw viewers. The interplay between Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) as they move about in the Dashiell Hammett world of odd characters had once been enough to turn a good murder mystery into great entertainment. To this add a little Asta comic relief and you have a complete package. <
> <
>But successive pictures introduced little Nicky, overused the Asta gags, infested the cast with characters who rather than being subtly oddball-were overbearing and stupid, and moved ever more toward screwball style comedy. "Song of the Thin Man" is the culmination of this process. <
> <
>But the real problem is not these less-than-zero additions but the subtractions that they cause. Gone was any pacing and suspense, gone was a clever mystery, gone was a nicely written script; they were considered unnecessary by the producers and there was no room for them anyway. <
> <
>So although "Song of the Thin Man" is a murder mystery, it lacks the clues that could provide the answers to perceptive viewers. Any movie mystery can have a surprise ending by revealing too little but a great mystery film is one where you look back at the end (in retrospective) and see that the necessary clues were provided, had you been insightful enough correctly puzzle things out. This requires great writing, directing, and editing. But by "Song of the Thin Man" the producers were just trying to repackage the elements that they thought most fans of the series would turn out to see. <
> <
>The film opens inside a casino, revealed to be inside a swank gambling boat named the S.S. Fortune. Nick and Nora are there for a charity benefit and there are cutaways to side stories concerning member of a jazz band performing on the casino stage. The band-leader (who is revealed to have mega gambling losses to the boat's owner) goes below to break into the casino office's safe and is shot in the back by an unseen assailant. For its oddball characters, "Song of the Thin Man" has Nick and Nora paling around with jazz musicians, in a jazz world mysteriously lacking in African-Americans but making up for it with slang that seems to come from another planet. <
> <
>All this said here are some interesting things to look for in "Song of the Thin Man". Patricia Morison plays Phyllis Talbin and Leon Ames plays her husband Mitch. Morison's failure to become a big star is perhaps the biggest mystery of Hollywood-she is not just breathtakingly beautiful but is blessed with far more acting talent than any of her contemporaries. If Ames looks familiar it is because he played supporting roles in most of the baby boomer Disney films. <
> <
>Keeman Wynn (of Dr. Strangelove fam) is clarinet player Clarence 'Clinker' Krause. You recognize the voice more than the face. His once intentionally funny lines have become so out-dated that they are unintentionally funny. <
> <
>Gloria Grahame is unexpectedly sultry as singer Fran Ledue Page, just a few years away from her show stealing performance as Ado Annie in "Oklahoma". <
> <
>"The Honeymooners" Jayne Meadows appears Janet Thayar Brant and is quite good in what is the film's only really difficult part. <
> <
>And what's up with "reed-man" Buddy Hollis. <
> <
>Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.


At last, the Thin Man at home.
What can one say but excellent. The Thin Man collection is a must have for anyone with an interest in movies from the golden age. The pairing of Powell and Loy as the well to do couple who always end up in the middle of murder was perfection. They play with a relaxed familarity, speak with an easy banter that they are Nick and Nora. <
> This set shows how the series evolved over its life time with the addition of Nick Jr. Never forget the important character of Asta who was integral to the story. True as time went on the plots got a little skimpy, but you watch these movies for the characters. Good writing that abounds with a host of colorful characters means a good time to be had by all. <
> The special feature disc was also fascinating. It gives the background to the series and the lead players.


the template for sophisticated mystery-comedies
For movies made in the 1930s, the delightfully entertaining "Thin Man" series of comedic whodunits have a remarkably modern sensibility. Just consider the first film, The Thin Man: <
>Nick and Nora drink constantly, usually martinis. Is it just coincidence that Prohibition was repealed in 1933 and this glorification of steady-state inebriation came out in 1934? <
>The chief suspect, a crusty eccentric inventor, left his wife for his platinum-blond secretary <
>The secretary is a two-timing floozy who filched $50K of bonds from the clueless inventor to fund one of her shady "acquaintances" <
>The inventor's ex-wife hooked up with a sleazy no-goodnik who turns out to have a first wife he forgot to divorce <
>The inventor's son is a borderline sociopath who has a psycho-babble explanation for everything <
>The daughter has a standard-issue "nice guy" in love with her, but when her father is suspected of murdering his two-timing ex-secretary/lover, she concludes her family is doomed to madness. Having reached this abundantly well-supported conclusion, she ditches her upstanding fiance and runs off to the train station with an unctuous seducer. <
>Did I mention that a stiff drink is always close at hand when Nick Charles in onscreen? <
> <
>Sounds like a script from Oprah's show, doesn't it? Dysfunction, corruption, heavy drinking--it's all here. But the appeal is all in what's not present in today's America. <
> <
>The charmingly natural chemistry between William Powell and Myrna Loy and the sparkling dialog have endeared viewers for decades (as have the antics of their irrepressibly cute dog, Asta) but I have a soft spot for the wonderfully rough-around-the-edges (if not outright seamy) slice of life the films portray: if a suspect mouths off shortly after being collared, he's quickly silenced by a fist in the face (here's yer Miranda rights right here!), and the movies abound with two-bit grifters, gamblers, floozies, shifty characters and ex-cons. <
> <
>Nick Charles has the enviable (and let's face it, wildly improbable) gift of being at ease in both this underworld of human greed, passion and cupidity, and the glittery high-society life the couple inherited from Nora's rich father. One highlight (at least for me) in each film is some accented (Bronx or Brooklyn? I need some guidance here from a New-Yawka) ex-con, who good-naturedly reminds Nick, "Hey, Nick, doncha remember me? Two-bit Charley? Ya sent me up the river, remember? But hey, no hard feelings, you're alright!" Nick, ever so slightly taken aback, nonetheless greets the proletarian ex-con with bonhomie and makes a point of introducing Nora to the ex-con, who inevitably makes a wisecrack along the lines of, "Hey, she's a looker!", allowing Nora to look askance at her all-too-chummy-with-smalltime-hoods husband. <
> <
>The films sport an abundance of class-conscious Depression subtexts. While they enable the audience the escapist pleasures of vicariously sharing the high life of parties, discreet gambling boats and hot jazz clubs, Nick's breezy comfort with lower-class crooks simultaneously inoculates the couple from underclass resentment. You just gotta love Nick, who in classic anti-hero fashion, staves off pressure from both the police and media while giving the hoods who are wrongfully suspected a straight deal. He is, in other words, the personification of noblesse oblige: the embodiment of all the noble characteristics that the nation sought in the privileged class. (The role of film is, after all, to make fantasy real.) <
> <
>Most amazingly, the film takes the old, hackeyed gambit of assembling all the suspects into one room for the hero-detective to pick apart and makes it work, both as drama and as comedy. Beefy cops don ill-fitting waiters outfits and roughly shove recalcitrant suspects into their dining chairs ("You're not gonna pin this on me, copper!" etc.) The fancy dinner-party mis-en-scene sets up one of Nora's best lines: "Waiter, serve the nuts. (pregnant pause). I mean, serve the nuts to the guests." <
> <
>The Thin Man is both the epitome of and the template for sophisticated mystery-comedies, a lighter-than-air souffle of class pretensions deflated, seamy villany exposed and a constantly inebriated anti-hero who nonetheless is sharp as a tack when it comes to nailing the evil-doer or countering his adorable mate's witty barbs. <
>

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