The Thin Man Goes Home
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The Thin Man Goes Home (1945), the fifth of six mystery-comedies in the popular series about a sophisticated married couple with a knack for solving murders, was the first NOT directed by W. S. Van Dyke, who died in 1943. Richard Thorpe took over the reins for this outing, with William Powell and Myrna Loy returning in their trademark roles as Dashiell Hammett's Nick and Nora Charles, the sleuthing couple who adored martinis, witty repartee and their dog Asta. In The Thin Man Goes Home, the scintillating pair take a vacation to visit Nick's parents, only to find themselves embroiled, of course, in a homicide case. Harry Davenport and Lucile Watson play the elder Charleses, who had wanted their son to become a doctor, not a detective. Thorpe, who previously had directed Powell and Loy in Double Wedding (1937), keeps the emphasis on comedy in this breezy entry. Loy would recall Thorpe as a "good director" who helped make The Thin Man Goes Home "a funny movie." Later in his varied career at MGM, Thorpe specialized in such swashbuckling epics as Ivanhoe (1952), The Prisoner of Zenda (1952), and Knights of the Round Table (1953).
Loy, highly involved with the home-front war effort and a marriage to car-rental heir John Hertz that had kept her in New York, had been away from the screen for three years. Thin Man fans had clamored for a new film in the series, but reacted with horror when MGM suggested that it might enlist a different actress, such as Irene Dunne, to play Nora opposite Powell's Nick. "The fans wanted Myrna, and they didn't want anyone else," Powell later recalled. "And I wanted Myrna, too. Besides the favorable reception our pictures always received, I must say it was certainly a pleasure to work with her."
Powell was so delighted with the return of his co-star, in fact, that he arranged to meet Loy when she arrived in Pasadena by train. He even borrowed Asta from the studio and took the pooch along for the reunion. Observing that Loy looked tired and thin, he told her that the studio might change the title of the picture to The Thin Woman Comes Home.
When Loy arrived at MGM for her first day's work on the film, she was greeted by banners reading WELCOME HOME, MYRNA and DON'T LEAVE US AGAIN, MYRNA. According to Powell, she was pelted by papier-mache roses left over from the Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy operetta Maytime (1937). "I've never seen a girl so popular with so many people," Powell recalled. "Everybody from wardrobe was over the set, everybody from makeup, everybody from property, everybody from miles around, it looked like."
Producer: Everett Riskin
Director: Richard Thorpe
Screenplay: Robert Riskin, Dwight Taylor, from story by Riskin and Harry Kurnitz
Art Direction: Edward C. Carfagno, Cedric Gibbons
Cinematography: Karl Freund, Joseph Ruttenberg (uncredited)
Costume Design: Irene Sharaff
Editing: Ralph E. Winters
Original Music: David Snell
Principal Cast: William Powell (Nicholas "Nick" Charles), Myrna Loy (Nora Charles), Lucile Watson (Mrs. Charles), Gloria DeHaven (Laurabelle "Laura" Ronson), Anne Revere (Crazy Mary), Helen Vinsons (Helena Draque), Harry Davenport (Dr. Bertram Charles), Leon Ames (Edgar Draque).
BW-101m. Closed captioning.
by Roger Fristoe