The film, The Thin Man, was a hit after it was released in 1934. MGM asked the same team – stars William Powell and Myrna Loy, director Woody Van Dyke, and writers Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett – to make a sequel. Dashiell Hammett wrote the novel The Thin Man in 1931, but had written about the characters in an early typescript in 1930, before abandoning the story for a year. Goodrich and Hackett used some of the incidents from that typescript to build a story set around Nick and Nora Charles’ return to their home town, San Francisco, supposedly occurring directly after the events in the first movie.
The film was produced from September to October 1936 and was released Christmas, 1936. As we’ve told you before, Powell and Loy made three films together in 1936, and after we see this one, we will have seen all three this summer. Goodrich and Hackett were nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay in 1937 for their work on this picture. Audiences loved the sparkling banter between Powell and Loy and this movie displays that. The series went on through 1947 with four more films, though Goodrich and Hackett would write only one more and Woody Van Dyke, who died in 1943, would not direct the last two. It is generally felt that this film and its predecessor, the only ones whose stories originated from Hammett’s writing, best typify the magic that Powell and Loy brought to the Nick and Nora characters.