As you might guess, I’m a big fan of Nick and Nora Charles in all their various incarnations. I’ve read the novel at least three times and listened to audio version twice. I’ve seen all six films numerous times, and even enjoy the comparatively bland TV series and blander radio series. I’ve read the Charles-free chapters of Hammett’s earlier attempt at the story, and the recent Return of the Thin Man book containing two screen treatments (not novellas, as advertised). I have yet to name a dog Asta, but there’s still time.
The story follows the Thin Man formula - an affectionate, hard-drinking, wise-cracking couple encounter both gangsters and society folk as they solve a mystery that baffles the relatively dimwitted police. Powell, of course, is perfect in the role. The shocking thing is how well Ginger Rogers does as an almost-Nora. She’s smart, funny, quirky, and determined to out-do Nick (uh, I mean “Dal”) in uncovering the clues. And the two have great chemistry.
The result is thoroughly enjoyable entertainment.
Of course, the story and screenplay are not quite up to the standard of The Thin Man, or even After The Thin Man. But I’d say this film reaches the level of Another Thin Man, and surpasses Shadow of the Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home and Song of The Thin Man. And Ginger Rogers, good as she is, is not quite as good as Myrna Loy in those early films. And the supporting cast (except for Paul Kelly as the gangster) is nothing to shout about. And there’s no Asta.
Still, it’s almost The Thin Man. And that’s pretty damn good.
Here's a sample:
More Overlooked Films at SWEET FREEDOM.