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  Song of the Thin Man Ship Shape
Year: 1947
Director: Edward Buzzell
Stars: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Keenan Wynn, Dean Stockwell, Phillip Reed, Patricia Morrison, Leon Ames, Gloria Grahame, Jayne Meadows, Ralph Morgan, Bess Flowers, Don Taylor, Warner Anderson, Bruce Cowling, Connie Gilchrist, Henry Nemo, Marie Windsor, Asta Jr
Genre: Comedy, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Tonight Nick Charles (William Powell) and his wife Nora (Myrna Loy) are attending a society benefit on a glamorous ship-board club, although Nick would really rather be relaxing at home with a drink. Nevertheless, they try to enter the spirit of the thing, but there are problems brewing with the onstage band. The clarinet player, Buddy (Don Taylor) is almost too drunk to perform due to him being lovesick over the singer, Fran (Gloria Grahame), who in turn is in love with the bandleader, Tommy (Phillip Reed), but he has just told her the relationship is off. The obnoxious Tommy has other concerns, that is his gambling debts owed to a criminal gang, and knows he must pay them off - but how will he get the money? Perhaps by stealing a precious necklace that is on board? But he's not going to get far with it as someone shoots him dead - it looks like the Charles family will be embroiled with another mystery...

...and for the final time, too. This was the last of the celebrated Thin Man series that had started back in the mid-thirties, and even if it wasn't the best of them it still stood above other detective series of the era as reliable entertainment. The contemporary Charlie Chan or Sherlock Holmes would have to make some effort to beat the quality of these films, this instalment being scripted by Steve Fisher and producer Nat Perrin from Stanley Roberts' story. This time Nick and Nora are plunged into the smoky clubs of the jazz world, a suspiciously white jazz world at that - surely they could have found at least a couple of black musicians to participate? Instead we are forced to believe that Keenan Wynn of all people is a jive-talking hepcat (or is that a hep-talking jivecat?) who accompanies the sleuthing couple on their investigations.

Those wondering what happened to the Charles' son Nick Jr will be relieved to see he's still around in this one, played here by a young Dean Stockwell and constantly being left behind by his parents as they have all the fun. He wasn't the only rising star appearing, as Gloria Grahame plays a suspect and for 1950s B-Movie fans Marie Windsor has a small role too. Nick and Nora have returned home before hearing of the murder, so when the police's main suspect Phil (Bruce Cowling) appears at their door with wife in tow, they welcome him in until he breaks the bad news. Even worse for Nick, someone takes a shot at Phil when they're headed out of the door and smashes his prized bottle of Scotch. This is all the excuse he needs to get involved and commence working out whodunnit, and the good thing about the Thin Man films is that although you may remember who the killer was (or killers were) the plots are so complicated that you'll never recall the whys and wherefores, making them great for rewatching. As it was, Powell and Loy were sophisticated and witty to the end, so raise a glass to them. Or maybe a whole bottle. Music by David Snell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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