Well, it had to happen eventually. Looking at other reviews, the Thin Man series followed a gradual downward slope from the excellent original. I was pleased to find the second adventure as enjoyable as the first. Another Thin Man is the third film outing for Nick and Nora Charles – the retired detective and his wealthy wife who solve puzzling crimes when the whim takes them. Unfortunately this time around fatigue has started to set in. There’s less drinking and the pregnancy announced at the end of the second film has resulted in a rather large baby, so quite a bit of time has passed. It’s a charming enough film but only perhaps for fans of the series. Even then, they may be disappointed that there’s far less emphasis on comedy.
The plot of the second film was pretty unimportant. I didn’t particularly care what was happening and I think the film itself wasn’t that bothered, either. It was all mostly an excuse for some comedy. The scene that still sticks in my mind is the one where they chase the dog around the house to try and rescue some evidence from his jaws. Another Thin Man is more about the plot. It does have some scenes that slowly build up in their comic tempo, such as one in a club where Nick sits back to watch Nora do the sleuthing. There’s a mix-up and she ends up dancing with another man, and not the contact as intended. It’s mildly amusing. In another scene the pair arrive at a lodging house and pretend to have come for separate purposes, meaning Nora can distract the landlady while Nick takes a more than superficial look around. This time the teamwork probably wasn’t intended to be more than an amusing background to Nick’s detecting.
Perhaps Another Thin Man’s biggest problem is that the first two films were so great. All three have pretty convoluted plots, so much so that they don’t work as straight mysteries since the viewer is starved of the information required to work it out without Nick’s inspired deductions and guesswork. Since this third film doesn’t even try for comedy in the same way its predecessors did, the formula doesn’t quite work. Some things are overly-familiar, like seeing the dog run comically in circles, chasing his tail – a kind of fan service that feels tired and further works against the film. In the end, Another Thin Man is carried by the charm of William Powell and Myrna Loy. They’re watchable as always, but there’s no real need for anyone to watch this one unless they loved the first two Thin Men and want to see more of the family Charles.