Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nostalgia for Killer Blobs

The following piece was originally published on The Cinementals site in early June 2012:

Recently, I attended a fun and nostalgic cinematic treat. I live in a college town in Kansas, where the opportunities for enjoying classic cinema in a public venue are not exactly frequent. Kansas Public Radio's Retro Cocktail Hour hosted a duo of drive-in classics for "Killer Blob Night." (KPR's Retro Cocktail Hour is a weekly radio show devoted to the Space Age Pop revival genre. Picture a "Mad Men" happy hour soundtrack.) The Double Feature included the oozing, pulsating, flesh-eating Kinji Fukasaku's THE GREEN SLIME (1968) and Mario Bava's (uncredited) CALTIKI, THE IMMORTAL MONSTER (1959). The experience that followed was an audience verbally engaged akin to "Mystery Science 3000" with shout-out commentary, laughter and howls at every campy gaffe.

The Japanese-American co-production of the B movie cult favorite THE GREEN SLIME oozes with campy delight. As an asteroid hurdles towards earth, a crew must launch to save the day. A feisty love triangle develops between Gamma III station Commander Vince Elliott (portrayed by Richard Jaeckel, also known for THE DIRTY DOZEN), cocky and devoid of any emotion Commander Jack Rankin (portrayed by Robert Horton of TV series fame such as "Wagon Train" and "A Man Called Shenandoah") and love interest Dr. Lisa Benson (portrayed by Italian beauty Luciana Paluzzi of THUNDERBALL and MUSCLE BEACH PARTY fame). The crew lands upon the speeding asteroid rock and drills in prep for explosion, a scene plot eerily similar and precursor to "Armageddon" (1998). In a hurried departure, a scientist on the team accidentally brings back some green slime on his space suit after completing a successful mission. Quickly things go haywire at the station as the green ooze evolves into one-eyed tentacled creatures whose energy feeds off and weapon for destruction is electricity. It turns out when the creatures are zapped by the crew's weapons, not unlike some plot components from ALIEN, their green blood just makes them grow stronger! This cult gem was the first film covered in Mystery Science 3000's never aired pilot. All this it's-so-bad-it's-good-goodness is made even better by it's theme song. It was written by Charles Fox; well known music composer of 100+ film music scores, songs and TV theme songs from "Love, American Style" to Grammy winning "Killing Me Softly With His Song."

The second entry of the double feature was the Italian production, CALTIKI, THE IMMORTAL MONSTER. It shows Riccardo Freda as director but he claimed later that Mario Bava did most the directing after just a few days into production. The B cast ensemble includes John Merivale, Didi Sullivan, Gerard Herter, and Daniela Rocca. The plot centers around a group of archeologists exploring Mayan ruins who discover ancient Caltiki via pulsating, rapidly growing and flesh-eating blob monsters. In discovering Mayan gold and many skeletons in a hidden cave lake, one of the first  victims is driven by greed for more yet narrowly escapes and becomes partially mutated then later turns into a killer driven by madness. As the blobs continue to mutant and grow, armies attack with fire blowers. The plot thickens as a comet reappears after a 1300 year absence which showers radiation to make the ancient flesh-eating blob turn into one enormous pile of goo destined for world domination. For it's time and budget, there are some impressive special effects including underwater shots, authentic looking Mayan ruin sets, gory half-melted flesh shots and a film noir feel.

One of the highlights of the evening was the appearance of a local celeb, Crematia Mortem (aka Roberta Solomon, vocal and TV talent) She was the host of a late night TV show "CREATURE FEATURE" which aired from 1981-1988 and featured the best of the worst in horror and monster flicks. You could say growing up watching campy creature and horror flicks had an impact on me. Because of this influence, last year I discovered a twitter community for cinematic fans of B-movies experience called the @DriveInMob and I continue to reach out to fellow cinementals through twitterverse and other social media formats. After all, what's better than sharing your love for all the genres of classic cinema with other fans?   


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday, Gene Kelly!

Today marks what would have been Gene Kelly's 100th birthday. Turner Classic Movies is celebrating this momentous occasion with an all day broadcast of his films as part of the Summer Under The Stars event. For more information, check scheduling and be sure to tune in!

Gene Kelly. What couldn't this man do? One of the most talented and versatile icons of the golden age of Hollywood, Kelly was so much more than a dancer. He could act, sing, produce, direct, choreograph and WHOA could he dance. He represented a fresh new face in the era of song and dance man. While Fred Astaire presented an elegant, light-as-air ballroom style of dancing in top hat and tails, Gene Kelly was an athletic, masculine god of dance in an technicolor dream. In comparing the two dance legends, Kelly put it simply, "Fred Astaire represented the aristocracy, I represented the proletariat." With Kelly's build, it was literally unfitting for him to wear the typical tux for his dance maneuvers. He explained, "I arrived in Hollywood twenty pounds overweight and as strong as an ox. But if I put on a white tails and tux like (Fred Astaire), I still looked like a truck driver." Further he stated, "I work bigger. Fred's style is more intimate. I'm very jealous of that when I see him on the small screen. Fred looks so great on TV. I'd love to put on a white tie and tails and look as thin as him and glide as smoothly. But I'm built like a blocking tackle."

To compliment his build, his wardrobe choices reflected that- tight fitting with the ability to stretch as he moved. Many of his most memorable scenes from his classic films were just that...a tight fitting jersey shirt with high-waist sailor pants. You can see examples of this from THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1948) to ANCHORS AWEIGH (1951). These costume choices were more natural to his form but also allowed us to see the full range of his movements. Kelly famously noted, "If Fred Astaire is the Cary Grant of dance, I'm the Marlon Brando." And unlike Astaire's high style of gliding, Kelly's bigger, athletic style often utilized props and common items as part of his dance routine. At the time, it was a truly unique and revolutionary change.

Gene Kelly entered the Hollywood scene in 1941 after David O. Selznick spotted him on the 1940 Broadway production of "My Pal Joey." Not long after, Selznick sold Kelly's contract to MGM Studios. There was a long-standing feud between him and MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer that stemmed from Kelly's offense that Mayer initially promised him no screen test was needed then later insisted. Kelly was not a fan of all of the methods of the old studio system. "The contract system at Hollywood studios like MGM was a very efficient system in that because we were at the studio all the time we could rehearse a lot. But it also really repressed people. There were no union regulations yet, and we were all indentured servants - you can call us slaves if you want - like ballplayers before free agency. We had seven-year contracts, but every six months the studio could decide to fire you if your picture wasn't a hit. And if you turned down a role, they cut off your salary and simply added the time to your contract."

But Kelly was very much a fan of hard work. As the roles started to come through for him, his dancing partners discovered first-hand what a work horse he was. MGM dancer and contracted star Cyd Charisse's husband  Tony Martin said he always knew who she had been dancing with that day on set. If she came home covered with bruises on her, it was the very physically-demanding Gene Kelly, otherwise it was the smooth and agile Fred Astaire. Kelly's strong work ethic always paid off. He set the bar high for himself and his dancing partners and the results were beautiful.

From 1942 to his death in 1996, Kelly worked in film as a performer, producer and director. He could play comedy as well as drama so his talents were in hot demand. He gave legendary performances with other brilliant co-stars like Judy Garland, Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra, Donald O'Connor, Rita Hayworth and Leslie Caron. To date, his most popular films are SINGING IN THE RAIN (1952) and AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951).  Namely for the reason that the innovative dance numbers in these films were ground-breaking and visually stunning. And just like Gene Kelly himself, they are forever timeless and breathtaking.   

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Great Race

As part of TCM's Summer Under The Stars event taking place all throughout August, this Wednesday August 22nd salutes an entire day, with a collection of 11 of films, devoted to Jack Lemmon.  To promote this mega cinematic event on Turner Classic Movies this month, Jill of Sitting On a Back Yard Fence and Michael of Scribe Hard are hosting the #SUTS Blogathon which can be followed on either of their sites or via twitter @TCMsutsBlog. I happily join the blogging fun by discussing my love for a madcap comedy favorite, Blake Edwards' THE GREAT RACE (1965). You can join the fun at 2:45pm EDT.

This hilarious slapstick spectacular truly has it all~ comedy, romance, adventure, music, gorgeous costumes, classic 'motor cars', magnificent saloon brawl, a grand scale pie fight, swashbuckling fencing and a truly stellar cast. Tony Curtis stars as our dashing hero always dressed impeccably in all-white, The Great Leslie. Natalie Wood plays the beautiful and feisty suffragette, Maggie Dubois. Jack Lemmon steals the show as the dastardly villain, Professor Fate. Peter Falk plays Professor Fate's ever-loyal and dutiful side-kick Max Meen. Sporting a handle-bar mustache,  Keenan Wynn portrays The Great Leslie's faithful companion and mechanic, Hezekiah Sturdy. Many wonderful supporting cast continues the list like Arthur O'Connell, Vivian Vance, Dorothy Provine, Larry Storch, Ross Martin, George Macready, Marvin Kaplan, Hal Smith and Denver Pyle. 

Director Blake Edwards sets the tone, even before our story begins with an illustrated turn-of-the-century 'magic lamp' slide projection of credits that introduces our main characters. This comes complete with audible cheers for our hero, jeers for our villain and wolf howls for our femme fatale. Another Edwards touch is placed right at the start with his dedication "For Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy", as this film was his homage via slapstick and style to the greats of silent film. 

Our story begins as we see ladies helplessly swoon over the Great Leslie, the professional daredevil and consummate gentleman. As he confidently masters daring feats of bravery with ease, arch-rival Professor Fate and Max unsuccessfully and comically attempt to make their own record-breaking daring feats. Always decked in black, our villainous duo obsessively make repeated attempts to sabotage and thwart any of Leslie's successes. Then, Leslie presents the ultimate daring challenge to a motor car company, an westward route automobile race from New York to Paris. As Leslie, Fate and others prepare for this enormous challenge, an unforeseen contender enters the scene. Maggie Dubois forcefully utilizes her feminine charms her way into the role of the new and only female reporter for the The New York Sentinel. She makes it known to her fellow racers and her new employer that she's entered the race for the dual purpose of covering the story with a truly first-hand perspective but also intends to win the race to prove the emancipation of the female sex. There are many funny and running gags throughout so be sure to look for them... like the shimmering occasional glints coming from Leslie's eyes and smile or the moose head in Fate's dark, eery mansion (if you look closely you'll see the rest of the moose on the other side of the wall.)

The race begins and takes us into multiple cities, cross-country and cross-continent paced in a heavily competitive adventure. As they each try to stay ahead in the race, they occasionally meet hilarious challenges both on and off the road. This leads to everything from an Old West mega bar brawl to a polar bear encounter on a floating ice block to bare-chested saber fighting to pie fights and even imprisonment. One item I failed to mention earlier (SPOILER ALERT!), Lemmon actually plays another role- one he fails to get properly credited for... Prince Hapnick. This additional role is hysterical and displays more of Lemmon's extraordinary acting gifts. These dual role scenes of Fate and Hapnick are Edwards' salute to The Prisoner of Zenda (1937). Throughout, Maggie Dubois struggles to assert her female independence while reporting the race updates via pigeon carrier. As you might expect of any classic romantic comedy, the feisty and beautiful Dubois and our debonair Leslie fall for each other despite themselves. 

This was a highly anticipated reunion of Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis after the popular SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959). While the two met earlier in 1951, they became close friends when Lemmon was working with Curtis's wife Janet Leigh in MY SISTER EILEEN (1955). Natalie Wood met Jack Lemmon at the 1956 Oscars' ceremony. Both were nominated and Lemmon won that year! He was nominated and won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as Ensign Pulver in MISTER ROBERTS (1955). Wood was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her legendary role in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955). After the L.A. screening of THE GREAT RACE, Natalie Wood said of her co-star's brilliant performance: "He can do mad slapstick comedy and is an incredibly funny guy off-screen too. But he can also certainly do drama, and that showcases what a wonderfully amazing actor he is, so versatile." As a matter of fact, when Natalie was pregnant with her first child Natasha in 1970, Jack Lemmon was with her when she fell into labor and he was the one who drove her to the hospital! Lemmon also became fast friends with Peter Falk as a result of this film. Lemmon, Curtis and Falk all loved playing pool so much that they arranged for a pool table on the set to play in between filming. Falk was known as the best player amongst them. Peter Falk stated THE GREAT RACE as his personal favorite film of his entire career.

For me, there are many highlights I adore about this film. Jack Lemmon's brilliant performance is foremost. His maniacal laughter and expressive responses crack me up every single time I've seen this. The multitude of costumes are visually stunning, especially for Natalie Wood's Miss Dubois which were mostly in a flattering pink and absolutely gorgeous. The song, "The Sweetheart Tree" is a real lark because while it's a lovely song that holds it's own it also comes with a bouncing ball lyrics scroll along the bottom of the screen. I can't help but enjoy the famous pie fight. It's actually a record-holder as the largest pie fight in film history. They used 2,357 REAL pies of fruit, custard and whipped cream variety. In the midst of the pie-throwing chaos Lemmon's Prince Hapnick shouts, "more brandy!" with his face covered in brandy-flavored pie and he gets smacked in the face with yet another. He then tastes the new pie smatterings from his face and announces: "Rum! I never mix my pies." The best bit here is that while pies are constantly flying all over the room, Leslie stays untouched in his all-white outfit.  

Warner Brothers spent a whopping 12 million dollars to make this film- an investment that paid off. This film received five Oscar nominations including Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Music Song ("The Sweetheart Tree") and won in the category of Best Sound Effects. If you're a Jack Lemmon fan and have somehow missed this gem, this is a MUST SEE. It's also a great one to enjoy with the entire family. If you can't play hooky to see this technicolor treat, by all means- DVR it! And for you 'cool kids' out there, there's an actual GREAT RACE 'drinking game' I've discovered. (Non-alcoholic beverages work too). I'm happy to provide the details~ just let me know! Now...Ready, Set... "Push the button, MAX!!"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bringing Up Baby

As part of TCM's Summer Under The Stars event taking place all throughout August, today marks an entire day, with a collection of 12 of films, devoted to Katherine Hepburn.  To promote this mega cinematic event on Turner Classic Movies this month, Jill of Sitting On a Back Yard Fence and Michael of Scribe Hard are hosting the #SUTS Blogathon which can be followed on either of their sites or via twitter @TCMsutsBlog. I happily join the blogging fun by discussing my enduring love for a screwball comedy classic, Howard Hawks' BRINGING UP BABY (1938). You can kick-off your weekend in style with this madcap romantic comedy at just past midnight, 12:15am EDT early Saturday morning.

BRINGING UP BABY is a film I have placed in my all-time 'top 10' of classic films since my grade school days. It belongs in the collection of one of my earliest film memories.  Katherine Hepburn stars as Susan Vance, the eccentric and quirky heiress. Cary Grant stars as Dr. David Huxley, the scholarly zoology professor/ paleontologist. The supporting cast includes familiar character actors like Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett, Barry Fitzgerald, May Robson and even Asta as George the dog plus a slew of uncredited well-known's such as Ward Bond and Jack Carson.

Our story begins when mild-mannered David is seen working on his enormous brontosaurus skeleton as he enthusiastically reveals the good news that an intercostal clavicle bone has been found to complete his construction, years in the making. We discover he recently became engaged to his assistant, Alice Swallow. However, it quickly becomes evident that Ms. Swallow is far from the romantic type of gal and only shows interest in his work. In order to finish this major project, David must acquire a million dollar endowment for which he intends to persuade wealthy dowager Mrs. Carleton Random via her attorney, Alexander Peabody. As David attempts to meet with Mr. Peabody to impress and persuade him to make this heavy investment, a chaos-creating Susan unintentionally throws distractions and obstacles at every turn. One of the many obstacles is the arrival of 'Baby', the tame leopard Susan's brother sends from Brazil, as a gift pet to her Aunt Elizabeth. David soon learns that daffy Susan is his key to meeting Mr. Peabody as she knows him as a close family friend (but she calls Mr. Peabody, 'Boopy'). After Susan helps ensure that David makes a poor impression on her Aunt Elizabeth, David then discovers Aunt Elizabeth is actually Mrs. Carleton Random.  More hilarious additions to mistaken identities include David's introduction to Aunt Elizabeth's friend and big game hunter Major Applegate, George the dog's compulsion for burying bones (even if they are rare dinosaur bones), and intersecting with a traveling circus that loses a far-from-tame leopard of their own.  In the end, identities are restored and both Susan and David find what (or who) they were looking for all along.

I'm drawn to this romantic comedy for it's stellar cast and for the superb all-out silliness. It's a true screwball treat. The chaotic chemistry between David and Susan is exquisite and the writing reflects that:
David: "Now it isn't that I don't like you, Susan, because after all, in moments of quiet, I'm strangely drawn to toward you, but- well, there haven't been any quiet moments."

Another example in the jail cell...Susan: "Anyway, David, when they find out who we are they'll let us out." David: "When they find out who you are they'll pad the cell."

Unlike Cary Grant who was well-versed in comic timing and gags, this was Katherine Hepburns' first attempt at comedy. Howard Hawks needed to train her with the assistance of hired veteran vaudevillians. One comic that came to her aid was co-star Walter Catlett, who plays Constable Slocum. Hepburn was so grateful that she asked Hawks to make Catlett's role larger so he could also be more available to coach her. While comedy was not natural to Katherine Hepburn initially, the results show she learned quickly as the perfect companion to Cary Grant's comic timing mastery. 

However, Hepburn did feel like a natural around the trained leopard. She would fearlessly even pet it. This was just the opposite for Grant. For any scenes where his character was supposed to interact with the leopard, a double was utilized. Once, to tease him, Hepburn popped a stuffed leopard through his dressing room vent. She wrote in her autobiography Me: Stories of My Life, "He was out of there like lightening." However, Hepburn did experience a close call once with the leopard that caused the trainer to decide upon no more free roaming of the leopard on the set. She was wearing a long skirt with metal beading trim that created shimmering effect with movement. As she moved suddenly, the leopard lunged for her back side. Hepburn was saved only by the quick intervention of the trainer's whip.  From then on, Hepburn used more caution around the leopard.

This film did not do well at the box office at the time of it's release. Poorly enough that Hawks was fired from his next production at RKO. However, it has since proven to be one of Howard Hawks' best comedies of all time. I'm certainly in agreement. To me, BRINGING UP BABY is everything a romantic comedy should be. And if Cary Grant's David in his round spectacles looks a bit familiar, you're right. Howard Hawks modeled David after silent film legend Harold Lloyd, right down to those iconic glasses. Hope to see you at Summer Under The Stars @TCM!


Sunday, August 12, 2012


Today is a magical day for classic film fans of Ginger Rogers. As part of the month-long Summer Under The Stars event on Turner Classic Movies, a full day of Ginger Rogers films will be broadcast. For me, I look forward to watching a majority of the day's collection.  I want to share my thoughts on one of these films: George Stevens' SWING TIME (1936).

Ginger Rogers is a rare treasure of the Hollywood Golden Era... a dynamo of talent in dancing, acting, singing and beauty. Born as Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, MO (about an hour from my home), Rogers grew up on the stages of vaudeville and performed in dance contests as a child. With the guidance of her single parent mother (who later met and married John Rogers while working as a scriptwriter), she quickly acquired a taste for acting. She moved to New York in 1929 and made several short films while performing on Broadway, as well. After more bit parts in movies, her big break came a few years later via her small part yet popular performance in THE GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933.  Her first pairing with Fred Astaire launched in FLYING DOWN TO RIO (1933), where their dance number coupling was like lightening in a bottle. A true star was born.

Rogers and Astaire were teamed up for a total of ten films; showcasing their enormous talents of musical comedy and heavenly dance chemistry. One such gem is SWING TIME, which shows on TCM at 9:45pm EDT. This was Ginger Rogers' sixth but her favorite of all the films she starred with Fred Astaire. The supporting cast includes familiar characters like Victor Moore, Helen Broderick, Eric Blore, Betty Furness and Georges Metaxa. The basic plot revolves around a dancer and gambler, Lucky Garnett (played by Astaire) who is pranked by his fellow performers and misses his wedding ceremony. His father-in-law calls off the wedding and Lucky needs to raise $25,000 to marry his fiancee. Yet things get complicated when he meets the beautiful dancing instructor, Penny Carroll (played by Ginger Rogers).

The best part of this film, like all the musical comedies of the Rogers and Astaire duo, are those mesmerizing song and dance sequences. My favorite song is the ever-classic and Academy Award for Best Original Song winner "The Way You Look Tonight," (which later became Astaire's most successful hit record.) There are four dance routine masterpieces and "Never Gonna Dance" is a dance musical that truly stands out. 

Whenever I watch SWING TIME or any of the Rogers/Astaire films, I am swept away by the magnitude of beauty and talent of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. The gowns and tuxes are the very definition of elegance of the 1930's glamorous style. No dancing pair has ever graced the screen with such seamless grace; making every practically impossible dance maneuver seem easy. Did I mention they act, sing and are both funny too?! Beyond her teaming up with Astaire, Ginger Rogers continued a successful career of her own in film and on stage for decades. Her career successes include winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in KITTY FOYLE (1940), showing at 11am EDT today on TCM's Summer Under The Stars tribute to Ginger Rogers. She was one of the greatest Hollywood legends on the silver screen and I look forward to enjoying her collection!

For more information on @TCM's Summer Under The Stars, be sure to follow the @tcmSUTSblog via twitter hosted by Jill at www.sittinonabackyardfence.com and Michael at www.ScribeHardOnFilm.WordPress.com

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Thin Man

To celebrate a Summer Under The Stars day devoted to Myrna Loy, I enthusiastically chose to commit a blog to W.S. Van Dyke's THE THIN MAN (1934).  Turner Classic Movies is devoting the entire month of August to "Summer Under The Stars", where each day solely reflects programming to a specific star of classic cinema. This Thursday, August 2nd you can enjoy THE THIN MAN at 11pm EDT plus many more Myrna Loy films on TCM all day long!

THE THIN MAN is the first entry in a collection of a total of six films of the enormously popular characters Nick and Nora Charles, portrayed by William Powell and Myrna Loy.  Although already well-known and experienced actors, THE THIN MAN and subsequent Thin Man series films launched William Powell and Myrna Loy into super-stardom...with good reason.

Nick Charles is a former detective who returns to town with his new bride, Nora Charles, a wealthy heiress and their lovable wire-haired terrier, Asta. In introducing our lead threesome, we see that Nick is charismatically and deeply charming, Nora is adorably sophisticated and fashionable in an unpretentious style and Asta always provides comic appeal on his own terms. We also quickly realize that Nick and Nora take social drinking to an all-new level. This two are not mere occasional hobbyists but true professionals in martini shaking and party-throwing. And most of all, we see Nick and Nora's flirtatious and playful love for one another lights up the screen with authentic and magnetic chemistry.

Based on Dashiell Hammett's novel of the same name, the "thin man" actually refers not to Nick Charles but to the missing 'tall, thin man with white hair' Clyde Wynant whom Nick Charles seeks throughout the film and whose mysterious disappearance is central to the plot. Clyde's daughter, Dorothy, played by pretty Maureen O'Sullivan, becomes worried about her inventor father's absence. Dorothy's step-mother is found murdered and her father quickly becomes the main suspect so she begs Nick to take her case. With Nora's thirst for thrills and adventure, she convinces Nick to come out of retirement and return to his sleuthing ways. As Nick follows leads, we are introduced to Dorothy's eccentrically odd family and circle, and the suspicious characters replete with motive begin to pile up. The police decide to work in cooperation with Nick in pursuing the case, but not before Nick and Nora throw a party so we can meet Nick's ole cronies and witness a typical heavy bender. What's revealed in this little party besides the Charles' high tolerance for cocktail consumption and their generosity in hosting, is that Nick Charles is admired and respected by both the police and the street-wise criminals he's worked with through his prior cases. (Upon surveying the room of colorful guests, Nora Charles says: "Oh Nicky, I love you because you know such lovely people.") Finally, when the police are convinced the wrong man is responsible, Nick convenes a dinner party for all possible suspects to attend and the ultimate whodunnit revelation showcases Nick Charles' brilliance in detective mastery.

THE THIN MAN is such a favorite because of the brilliant chemistry between William Powell and Myrna Loy. They're both perfection in these fun roles. With their quick witty banter and confident ease in exchanges, they each wear their roles comfortably as a custom-fit glove. The dialogue is sharp; and makes me chuckle and smile, every single time I watch. Here's one example of the many zingers... Nora Charles: "You know, that sounds like an interesting case. Why don't you take it?" Nick Charles: "I haven't the time. I'm too busy seeing that you don't lose any of the money I married you for." Only William Powell could portray the ever-charming, while heavily intoxicated party host one moment then a brilliant mastermind detective the next, all while casually flirting with his beautiful wife. And only Myrna Loy's calm confidence and beauty could balance the sophisticated socialite who's acquired a taste for the adventure and thrill of her husband's gritty profession. Myrna Loy truly epitomized the consummate combination of beauty and brains.

For me, when watching this charming gem, there is one thing that sums up the delightful relationship of Nick and Nora Charles sublimely... the scenes when Myrna Loy playfully scrunches up her nose at William Powell and he returns the gesture in kind. If you haven't seen THE THIN MAN yet, I urge you to get those martini shakers ready and tune in this Thursday and see for yourself- I guarantee it won't be your last.