Nick and Nora's hopes for a pleasant afternoon at the local race track are dashed when a jockey is found shot dead in the locker room. Nick's friend Lt. Abrams wants him to help out but Nick is enjoying the good life too much to get involved. However, he is subsequently approached by Major Scully to look into corruption and the role of organized crime in gambling. Others are killed but in the end, Nick gathers all of the suspects into a room and identifies the killer.
William Powell ... Nick
Myrna Loy ... Nora
Barry Nelson ... Paul
Donna Reed ... Molly
Sam Levene ... Lieutenant Abrams
Alan Baxter ... 'Whitey' Barrow
Henry O'Neill ... Major Jason I. Sculley
Richard Hall ... Nick, Jr. (as Dickie Hall)
Stella Adler ... Claire Porter aka Clara Peters
Loring Smith ... 'Link' Stephens
Joseph Anthony ... Fred Macy
Lou Lubin ... 'Rainbow' Benny
Louise Beavers ... Stella
I thought this was the best in the Thin Man series but, it should be pointed out, I was disappointed in the series as a whole. Of the six pictures, I only found two as "keepers."
This "episode" has less of the normal alcohol-worshiping, some great characters and some very funny lines. Some of those lines are very clever. Of course, there are a couple of really stupid people with dumb dialog, too, such as the cop in charge of the case. However, I really enjoyed the wild assortment of characters in this film and I always appreciate a film in which horse racing is involved.
The story can be confusing, but that's nothing new in these classic films in which the suspects are all rounded up Charlie Chan-style in one room and our hero divulges the crook despite hearing a bunch of excuses and accusations from all the suspects. Confusing or not, this is a fun story and interesting. It also was one of the few times I correctly guessed the killer!
Corny, but a very likable Thin Man story. William Powell, Myrna Loy, Barry Nelson, Donna Reed, Sam Levene, and Asta the dog all provide good entertainment.
In this fourth movie in the Thin Man series, the familiar formula still works pretty well, making "Shadow of the Thin Man" an enjoyable feature with plenty of wit, an interesting mystery, and most of all Nick and Nora. It's hard to think of any other screen couple that worked together better than William Powell and Myrna Loy. All it takes is a few seconds of seeing them interact before you feel as if you are in the company of old friends.
The story and setting make use of Nick's fondness for the horse races, and this also allows for an entertaining assortment of characters. The mystery has several twists and turns, and the story developments alternate with lighter stretches of Nick and Nora being themselves. Besides the race track, there are some other imaginative settings that help in creating an atmosphere that is both believable and interesting.
Most of the other characters are pretty straightforward, but Sam Levene gets quite a few good moments as the police lieutenant. Barry Nelson also has a decent role as a reporter. A very young Donna Reed gets a fair amount of screen time, but her character is not as interesting as the others. It's also interesting to see Stella Adler in one of her rare screen roles.
This one is a cut below the earlier movies in the series, but it's still good fun. As well as the familiar combination works, there weren't a lot of reasons to make significant changes.
"Shadow of the Thin Man" is another addition to the "Thin Man" series starring that wonderful couple, Nick and Nora Charles, played to perfection by William Powell and Myrna Loy. In this film, they have a son, Nicky, who's adorable and keeps Daddy on his toes. In one scene, Nick has to drink milk (instead of his cocktail) so that Nicky will drink his; in another, so as not embarrass his son, Nick rides the carousel and gets quite dizzy. So does Asta - we see him hugging a fire hydrant for dear life once the ride ends.
The movie starts out innocently enough with Nick reading the racing forms to his son as if it's a story. When Nick and Nora get to the track, a murder has been committed and the two become immediately involved. Donna Reed has a small role as a secretary for a thug, and she's giving information to her boyfriend, a reporter, played by Barry Nelson. This was the stage actor's first film, and he's right out of college.
There are some very funny scenes in this film - the best being the one in the restaurant. But Nora and Nick attending a wrestling match is another goodie. That brilliant actor, Asta, really has a good supporting role. It's one of his better performances.
The murder mystery is interesting, but like all the "Thin Man" movies, the style, the repartee, and the humor are what make Nick and Nora fun and even today, keep them popular. And their little dog too.