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Critics' Corner-THE THIN MAN

Even after the quick and relatively inexpensive completion of production, the studio was nervous about how The Thin Man would be received. But a rousingly successful preview in Huntington Park convinced them they had a major hit on their hands.

The Thin Man was premiered in May 1934 and put in general release the following month, becoming an immediate smash, earning more than $2 million in its initial run.

The Thin Man received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Writing (Adaptation).

In 1997, the film was chosen by the National Film Preservation Board to be one of the motion pictures preserved on the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress.

"An excellent combination of comedy and excitement." - New York Times, June 1934.

"A picture you simply cannot afford to miss unless you want to cheat yourself." - World Telegram, 1934.

"What made the Thin Man series work, what made it fun, was that we didn't attempt to hide the fact that sex is part of marriage. But it was deft, done with delicacy and humor. Then, too, the Charleses had enormous tolerance for each other's imperfections." - Myrna Loy, Beginning and Becoming (Knopf, 1967).

"New audiences aren't likely to find it as sparkling as the public did then, because new audiences aren't fed up, as that public was, with what the picture broke away from...Powell and Loy startled and delighted the country by their heavy drinking (without remorse) and unconventional diversions." - Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies (Henry Holt & Co.).

"Fast-moving, alternately comic and suspenseful mystery drama developed in brief scenes and fast wipes. It set a sparkling comedy career for two stars previously known for heavy drama, it was frequently imitated, and it showed a wisecracking, affectionate married relationship almost for the first time." - Halliwell's Film & Video Guide (HarperPerennial).

"This comedy-thriller is a classic of its kind and established a new trend of urbane, witty, detectives. Though its style seems effortless it is highly skillful, with a marvelous sense of informality and naturalism, crisp dialogue, and taut action." - Georges Sadoul, Dictionary of Films (University of California Press).

"Wildly successful blend of the murder mystery and the screwball comedy with delectable performances by William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles." - Danny Peary, Guide for the Film Fanatic (Fireside).

"A strange mixture of excitement, quips and hard-boiled sentiment...full of the special touches that can come from nowhere but the studio, that really make the feet a movie walks on." - Otis Ferguson.

"The Thin Man was an entertaining novel, and now it's an entertaining picture. In the Dashiell Hammett original there was considerable material not suited by nature to pictures. That this has been cut without noticeable loss of story punch or merit is high commendation for the adapters. They capture the spirit of the jovial, companionable relationship of the characters...." - Variety Movie Guide (Prentice Hall).

"The Thin Man could have been merely a thriller. But it sought flair as much as suspense and became something special, a salute to the American love of adventure." - Ethan Mordden, Movie Star: A Look at the Women Who Made Hollywood (St. Martin's Press, 1983).

"Some films are best watched with the sound off...but with The Thin Man you could almost watch from behind the sofa because nothing in this brilliantly executed work quite matches the dialogue." - The Rough Cut to Cult Movies (Penguin).

"...classic blend of laughs and suspense...this has gone on to become the sophisticated comedy-mystery par excellence..." - Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide (Plume).

Compiled by Rob Nixon & Jeff Stafford

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