Shadow of the Thin Man

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Shadow of the Thin Man is the fourth of the six Thin Man films. Released in 1941, it was directed by W. S. Van Dyke, and stars William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles. Also, in this film their son Nick Jr. (Dickie Hall) is old enough to figure in the comic subplot. Other cast members include Donna Reed and Barry Nelson.

The movie includes a historic sequence on the then-new San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge when the Charles' car is stopped by a highway patrolman. Just after this scene, there's also a shot of the MacArthur Maze, an interchange on the east end of the bridge. The local racetrack central to the plot is Golden Gate Fields.

Contents

Plot

Nick and Nora Charles are looking forward to a relaxing day at a racetrack, but when a jockey accused of throwing a race is found shot to death, Police Lieutenant Abrams requests Nick's help. The trail leads to a gambling syndicate that operates out of a wrestling arena, a murdered reporter, and a pretty secretary whose boyfriend has been framed. Along the way, Nick and Nora must contend with a wild wrestling match, a dizzying day at a merry-go-round (accompanied by Nick, Jr.), and a table-clearing restaurant brawl.

For this film, producers moved Nick and Nora from their mansion into a modest flat, in consideration of the cutbacks that U.S. citizens were making during wartime.

Background

Shadow of the Thin Man was eagerly welcomed, coming two years after the previous outing and hitting theaters just two weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It would be three years before Loy would make another film (The Thin Man Goes Home in 1945) as she left Hollywood for New York, where she volunteered with the Red Cross. As a world-famous movie star at the top of her game, her passionate condemnation of fascism reportedly earned her a spot near the top of Hitler's "hate list" after she spoke out against Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia. She also went through a messy public divorce and remarriage, after which there was speculation that her wholesome image had been irreparably tarnished and she might not work again.[1]

Cast

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