Wednesday, August 17, 2005

'Thin Man' movies released on DVD

I can't imagine a better life than the one lived on "Hart to Hart," a television series from 1979.

I mean, who wouldn't want to be Jonathan Hart (played by Robert Wagner)? You've got a dish of a wife played by Stefanie Powers, and you’ve got a gruff, stogie-chomping manservant played by Lionel Stander. In your free time, between fabulous parties and ski trips to the French Alps, you solve murders.

The only couple that ever had it better than Mr. and Mrs. Hart was Nick and Nora Charles in the "Thin Man" movies.

Nick and Nora, played by William Powell and Myrna Loy, were the prototypes for the Harts -- and they also would have drunk them under the table.

Powell and Loy made six "Thin Man" movies from 1934-1947, and now they're all together in a DVD box set full of gin-and-vermouth benders and rakish, screwball one-liners.

In the 1934 original, "The Thin Man," we learn that Powell’s character used to be a private detective. He gave it up to live the good life with his rich and sassy wife.

But when he bumps into a woman at the bar, she convinces him to look for her missing father -- an eccentric scientist/inventor.

Detective work follows, but it takes a back seat to Nick and Nora’s lightning-quick repartee. Even with their characters’ dueling hangovers, Powell and Loy still outpace the screwball banter of duos like Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. They might be the best on-screen couple in Hollywood history.

While the 1934 original is the clear standout of the collection, the others have their charms. "After the Thin Man" (1936) stars a young Jimmy Stewart as a nice guy who isn't is as nice as he seems.

No comments: