Dashiell Hammett’s mystery novel, The Thin Man, was written in 1933 and published in January, 1934. MGM bought the film rights. The film was made in sixteen days in April, 1934 by W.S. Van Dyke from a script by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, and was released in May, 1934. It was nominated for Academy Awards: William Powell for best actor; Van Dyke for best director; Hackett and Goodrich for best writing of an adaptation; and for best picture 1935. It was added to the National Film Registry as a film worthy of preservation in 1997.
Two things make this movie the delight that it is, even after seventy-five years. First is the way the story is told, sparely, quickly, economically, and visually. Second is the banter between William Powell and Myrna Loy. In film, lovers had not been depicted before involved in ironic cross-talk. This proved to be an enduring style followed by other films in the 30s and afterward. Anyway, I hope you enjoy watching it with me tonight.