Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Movie Small Talk: Hotsie-Totsie Mystery, Or How To Remain Looking Elegant While Binge Drinking and Chain Smoking

Bonnie + Clyde, Barbie + Ken, Mulder + Scully, Bogie + Bacall, Bill + Ted - names that are strong on their own, but when combined have left behind a legacy of pop culture power.

There is one other pair that could be called the figureheads of all there is to know about classic movies. Their characters spawned what many could surmise as the original film franchise (six flicks in total). Plus,  70 years after the release of the first in the series, these characters are still influencing the entertainment of today. Fans of the podcast/homage to 1930s radio shows, The Thrilling Adventure Hour, might not know that the antics of Frank and Sadie Doyle are in fact (at least partially) a tip of the hat to this old-timey guy and gal.

Okay, so enough of a build up. True movie aficionados have probably already guessed the duo, but I have only just over the weekend discovered their time tested charm. No one drank, smoked, and solved mysteries, while still dressed to the nines, better than Nick and Nora Charles. [No, not Nick and Norah with their infinite song list of sorts, but I'm sure that book/movie is also some sort of homage as well.]

After many years hearing my grandma's opinion on the matter, I arranged another outdoor movie over the weekend and made 1934's The Thin Man the star of the hour. As many movies as I've seen, there is still such a world I know nothing about.

Myrna Loy and William Powell, the wonderful actors who portrayed Nick and Nora, are such a delight to watch. Their quick banter bouncing off each other steals the show.  Combine that with exquisite 1930s fashion and a fast-paced, "who-dunnit" mystery story, and this makes for a terrific example of movies that could still be entertaining to the masses of modern viewers.

This first film in the series, finds Nick, a former detective, and his wife Nora, plus their doggie sidekick Asta (already want to steal this name for my next pet!), dragged into the middle of an unsolved murder. For most people death is serious, but from the beginning, this entire script, penned by famed writer Dashiel Hammet, is purposely comical and campy, finding Nick perpetually asking for his tumbler to be topped off, and neither one too far from the reach of a ciggie.

Even though it seems like their wits would be compromised, Nick never misses the chance to put his brain to use looking for clues, or perform elaborate speeches, and then, solve the crime. It's truly delightful.

Anyone who is not normally a fan of all those old black and white features, think again, and find a copy of The Thin Man. I mean, Asta the terrier even has a fan site!

Soon, you could be dreaming of attending the TCM movie festival next year, I hope to be there too. Let's start saving now!

Until next time.

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1 comment:

  1. I've always meant to see this too! Soon. Also, we should probably still do LA and The Thrilling Adventure Hour, among other things!


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