Shadow of the Thin Man

Shadow of the Thin Man

3.5 2
Director: W.S. Van Dyke

Cast: W.S. Van Dyke, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Barry Nelson

This fourth entry in MGM's Thin Man series could just as well have been titled "Nick and Nora Charles Go to the Races." Officially retired from sleuthing, Nick Charles (William Powell) does his best to be a dutiful husband to his lovely wife Nora (Myrna Loy) and a good father


This fourth entry in MGM's Thin Man series could just as well have been titled "Nick and Nora Charles Go to the Races." Officially retired from sleuthing, Nick Charles (William Powell) does his best to be a dutiful husband to his lovely wife Nora (Myrna Loy) and a good father to his young son Nick Jr. (Dickie Hall). But when murder rears its ugly head at the local race track, Nick is called in by Major Jason I. Sculley (Henry O'Neill), head of the New York athletic commission, to help solve the case. As usual, there is no shortage of suspects: This time the "rogue's gallery" includes high-rolling gamblers Link Stevens (Loring Smith) and Fred Macy (Joseph Anthony); Link's hoity-toity girlfriend Claire Porter (played by legendary acting teacher Stella Adler); two-bit tout "Rainbow" Benny Loomis (Lou Lubin); reporters Whitey Barrow (Paul Kelly) and Paul Clarke (Barry Nelson); and Clarke's sweetheart Molly Ford (Donna Reed). Highlights include a zany episode on a department-store merry-go-round, an outsized brawl at a fancy sea-food restaurant, and the inevitable gathering together of suspects in the offices of police lieutenant Abrams (Sam Levene). The flippant nature of Shadow of the Thin Man can be attributed to screenwriters Irving Brecher and Harry Kurnitz, both longtime friends and associates of comedian Groucho Marx.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The series of films starring sophisticated sleuths Nick and Nora Charles are among the most treasured in the movie mystery genre. Unfortunately, Shadow of the Thin Man, while very decently entertaining, is far from the best entry in the series. Chief blame lies with screenwriters Irving Brecher and Harry Kurnitz and to a lesser extent with director W.S. Van Dyke. While our two leads are given the requisite number of witty bon mots and carefully turned phrases, the humorous approach to subsidiary characters is inappropriately low and broad. This is especially true of Sam Levene's Lieutenant Abrams, who at times seems to have wandered in from a 3 Stooges short. This uneasy mix of styles damages the film, as does the muddiness with which the plot is laid out; plot points are presented not casually (which would be quite effective) but carelessly (which is annoying). Fortunately, the chemistry between and stellar talents of William Powell and Myrma Loy make up for a great deal of the film's shortcomings. Both of them seem to be enjoying themselves immensely, and there's an especially appealing ease to Loy's entire performance that is hard to resist. Barry Nelson and a young Donna Reed offer fine support, and Stella Adler makes a great deal of what is essentially just another familiar film noir type. While Shadow lacks the champagne fizz of other Nick and Nora adventures, it still provides enough seltzer bubbles to tickle the nose.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Vintage short The Tell-Tale Heart; Classic cartoon The Goose Goes South; Theatrical trailer; Subtitles: English, Français & Español (Feature Film Only)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
William Powell Nick Charles
Myrna Loy Nora Charles
Barry Nelson Paul Clarke
Donna Reed Molly Ford
Sam Levene Lieutenant Abrams
Alan Baxter Whitey Barrow
Henry O'Neill Maj. Jason I. Sculley
Dickie Hall Nick Charles, Jr.
Loring Smith Link Stephens
Joseph Anthony Fred Macy
Stella Adler Claire Porter
Lou Lubin "Rainbow" Benny Loomis
Louise Beavers Stella
Arthur Aylesworth Coroner
Arthur Belasco Actor
John Berkes Paleface
Sam Bernard Counterman
Oliver Blake Fenster
Aldrich Bowker Watchman
Harry Burns Greek Janitor
Charles Calvert Referee
Ken Christy Detective
Inez Cooper Girl in Cab
Noel Cravat Baku
Cliff Danielson Actor
Wee Willie Davis Actor
Edgar Dearing Motor Cop
Joe Devlin Mugg
John Dilson Actor
Abe Dinovitch Actor
James Flavin Cop
Jo Gilbert Lana
Fred Graham Waiters with Steaks
H.B. Haggerty Actor
Edward Hearn Actor
Jenny Jerome Reporter
Jerry Jerome Actor
Tor Johnson Jack the Ripper
John Kelly Meatballs Murphy
Lyle Latell Actor
George Lloyd Pipey
Tommy Mack Soft Drink Vendor
Jerry Mandy Waiter
Sid Melton Fingers
Roger Moore Actor
Joey Ray Stephen's Clerk
Adeline Reynolds Landlady
Buddy Roosevelt Actor
Jack Roper Actor
Ray Teal Cab Driver
Dan Tobey Announcer
Sailor Vincent Actor
Tito Vuolo Luis
Fred Walburn Kid on Merry-go-Round
Harry Wilson Muggs
Duke York Valentino
J. Lewis Smith Actor
Hal LeSueur Reporter
Bill Fisher Actor
Eddie Simms Actor
Robert Kellard Cop
Will Wright Maguire

Technical Credits
W.S. Van Dyke Director
Irving Brecher Screenwriter
William H. Daniels Cinematographer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Paul Groesse Art Director
Robert Kalloch Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert J. Kern Editor
Harry Kurnitz Screenwriter
David Snell Score Composer
Hunt Stromberg Producer
Edwin B. Willis Art Director

Scene Index

Side #1 -- Shadow of the Thin Man
1. Credits [1:40]
2. More Like His Parents [3:49]
3. Police Escort [5:27]
4. Killing at the Track [5:13]
5. Drink Milk [2:52]
6. Wrestling Date [4:05]
7. Dame in a Screwy Hat [3:53]
8. Whitewasher Takes Powder [5:06]
9. Bullet for Whitey [2:56]
10. Chief Suspect [4:42]
11. Loaded Laundry List [4:43]
12. Helping Out Hubby [3:40]
13. Fake Murder Gambit [4:08]
14. Who's a 'Fraidy Cat? [5:20]
15. Your Accent's Showing [3:38]
16. How Jewels [6:37]
17. They'll Have Sea Bass [3:17]
18. Mayhem at Mario's [3:53]
19. The Dope on Benny [2:45]
20. Benny's Place [2:42]
21. Crossed Alibis [6:19]
22. Spilled Beans [4:39]
23. Our Murderer [3:57]
24. Our Heroine [1:22]


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Shadow of the Thin Man 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Was ever a detective's life, to say nothing of his wife, so cool and stylish? Once again Mr. & Mrs. Detective, Nick and Nora Charles, find themselves in the middle of murder in this nicely paced, self-deprecating (Nora's hats)and amusingly performed film. William Powell and Myrna Loy deliver delightful performances with excellent supporting work coming from, among others, Lou Lubin (Rainbow Benny) and Stella Adler (Clair Porter). The latter stews and seethes and oozes sexuality so that you wish she had lots more to do in this film. Pretty Donna Reed sits and pouts (what a waste). Dickie Hall, as Nick Jr., does a nice job with his cue cards. Of course there never was a pair like Nick and Nora Charles, at least not in the detective business. Ours is not the loss, though, as we are infinitely fortunate in the pairing of superb light comedian, William Powell, and a charming and intelligent Myrna Loy, in Shadow of the Thin Man. Oh to be able to go back to a wonderful time that never was and play detective with Nick and Nora Charles.