1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die - The Thin Man (1934)
“The chemistry between Myrna Loy and William Powell was so potent in the 1934 film Manhattan Melodrama that its director, W.S. Van Dyke, cast the two again in the same year. As Nick and Nora Charles, they are unique in the history of cinema. The first popular husband-and-wife detective team, they not only love each other, they like each other, too, without being insipid, disrespectful, or dull.
Trying to make sense of the story gets in the way of what is genuinely important—the snappy banter full of covetable lines between the rich, sophisticated Nora and her sharp lush of a husband. Disarming an unwanted guest one night, the incident is reported in the morning news. “I was shot twice in the Tribune,” says Nick. “I read you were shot five times in the tabloids,” says Nora. “It’s not true. He didn’t come anywhere near my tabloids.” Said with cast-off ease, the lines are funny without jumping out as such. Nick may seem like an alcoholic, but he springs back and forth from relaxed giddiness to active sobriety in the wink of an eye. The couple’s prodigious boozing seems to have little effect on their actions; it’s more of an elegant prop—a vital element for a country just coming out of the Great Depression.
Taken from a novel written in the same year by Dashiell Hammett, Nick and Nora were supposedly modeled on Hammett’s relationship with playwright Lillian Hellman. Shot in fourteen days, this sparkling screwball detective story earned over $2 million and was nominated for four Academy Awards. Not surprisingly, popularity spawned four more movies as well as a radio and television series, and was the inspiration behind TV shows such as McMillian & Wife and Hart to Hart.”