AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Thin Man Goes Home
Alternate Title: The Thin Man's Rival
Director: Richard Thorpe (Dir)
Release Date:   Jan 1945
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 25 Jan 1945
Production Date:   8 May--14 Jul 1944; addl scenes Aug and Sep 1944
Duration (in mins):   100
Duration (in feet):   9,048
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Cast:   William Powell (Nick Charles)  
    Myrna Loy (Nora Charles)  
    Lucile Watson (Mrs. Charles)  
    Gloria De Haven (Laura Ronson)  
    Anne Revere (Crazy Mary)  
    Helen Vinson (Helena Draque)  
    Harry Davenport (Dr. Bertram Charles)  
    Leon Ames (Edgar Draque)  
    Donald Meek (Willie Crump)  
    Edward Brophy (Brogan)  
    Lloyd Corrigan (Dr. Bruce Clayworth)  
    Anita Bolster (Hilda)  
    Ralph Brooke (Peter Berton)  
    Donald MacBride (Police Chief MacGregor)  
    Morris Ankrum (Willoughby)  
    Nora Cecil (Miss Peavy)  
    Minor Watson (Sam Ronson)  
    Irving Bacon (Tom)  
    Virginia Sale (Tom's wife)  
  And Asta    
    Paul Langton (Tom Clayworth)  
    Charles Halton (R. T. Tatum)  
    Wally Cassell (Bill Burns)  
    Arthur Hohl (Charlie)  
    Anthony Warde (Captain)  
    Bill Smith (Skater)  
    Lucille Brown (Skater)  
    Mickey Harris (Contortionist)  
    Rex Evans (Fat man)  
    Harry Hayden (Conductor)  
    Connie Gilchrist (Woman with baby)  
    Robert Emmet O'Connor (Baggage man)  
    Dick Botiller (Big man's companion)  
    John Wengraf (Big man)  
    Jane Green (Housekeeper)  
    Garry Owen (Pool player)  
    Saul Gorss (Bartender)  
    Bert May (Sailor)  
    Chester Clute (The drunk)  
    Clarence Muse (Porter)  
    Tom Fadden (Train passenger)  
    Joseph J. Greene (Train passenger)  
    Sarah Edwards (Train passenger)  
    Frank Jaquet (Train passenger)  
    Oliver Prickett (Reporter)  
    Don Wilson (Masseur)  
    Etta McDaniel (Ronson's maid)  
    Tom Dugan (Slugs)  
    Ed Gargan (Mickey Flanagan)  
    Thomas Dillon (Officer)  
    Bill Hunter (Officer)  
    Marjorie Wood (Mother)  
    Catherine McLeod (Daughter)  
    Clancy Cooper (Butcher)  
    Joe Yule (Barber)  
    Robert Homans (Railroad clerk)  
    Lee Phelps (Cop)  
    Helyn Eby-Rock (Tart)  
    Jean Acker (Tart)  
    Mike Mazurki    
    Mitchell Lewis    
    Ray Teal    

Summary: Nick Charles, the famous New York detective, takes his wife Nora and their dog Asta to his sleepy hometown of Sycamore Springs to visit his parents and celebrate his birthday. Soon after they arrive, Nora discovers that Nick's father, Dr. Bertram Charles, is disappointed in his son for not having become a doctor as he did. Determined to show Bertram that Nick is an accomplished sleuth, Nora encourages Nick to find and solve a crime in the small town. When a rumor begins to spread through town that Nick is visiting Sycamore Springs to investigate a case, some of the residents, especially Edgar Draque, who is secretly involved in an espionage ring, become alarmed. Draque tells his wife Helena that they must leave town immediately after they get their hands on a particular painting by local artist Peter Berton. Meanwhile, Nora, who is looking for a gift for Nick's birthday, finds the Berton painting in Willie Crump's art store and buys it for Nick. Later that night, Berton arrives at the Charles house and is about to reveal some important information when he is struck by a bullet and killed. While Dr. Bruce Clayworth, the town coroner, performs an autopsy on Berton, Nick begins an investigation into the murder by going to Berton's residence at Tom's Auto Court. There he learns that Berton had a fight with someone earlier in the week, and that the fight may have been over Laura Ronson, the daughter of banking tycoon Sam Ronson and the girl friend of Tom Clayworth. Inside Berton's room, Nick finds a rare Cuban cigar wrapper and continues searching for clues until Crazy Mary, a local character, enters the room and knocks him unconscious. Nora later shows Nick the painting she bought, but when he tells her that the windmill in the painting brings back bad memories for him, she donates it to the upcoming charity bazaar. Nick continues his investigation with a visit to the Ronsons. There he notices Cuban cigars wrapped in the same wrapper he found in Berton's room. When Laura tells Nick that she knows nothing about Berton's fight, Nick reminds her that her father is known to have objected to her friendship with Berton. R. T. Tatum, one of Ronson's employees, later warns Nick to stop meddling in Ronson's business and threatens to spoil his father's plans to open a hospital if the investigation continues. Nick, however, ignores Tatum's threats and later learns that Mary is Berton's mother. He also learns that Mary gave her son up for adoption when he was a child and that Berton never knew she was his mother. Meanwhile, Draque traces the Berton painting to Nora and offers her $500 for it. Nora, realizing that the painting must be of some worth, quickly loses Draque and takes Nick with her to the bazaar to look for the painting. At the bazaar, Nick and Nora discover that the much sought-after painting was sold to Helena and that Ronson is among the many who have been searching for it. When Nick enters Helena's hotel room, he discovers that she has been knocked unconscious and that the painting is missing. The trail of evidence leads Nick and Nora to Mary's. There, they discover Mary has been murdered, but before they leave, Asta uncovers the hidden painting. Believing he has the evidence he needs to solve the case, Nick calls the police and assembles all the possible suspects at his parents' house. Nick explains to the group that a special instrument has revealed that several of Berton's paintings concealed top secret plans for an airplane propeller manufactured by a company owned by Ronson. After exposing Draque's involvement in a scheme to sell the valuable plans to foreign interests, Nick tricks Dr. Clayworth into revealing himself as the killer. Clayworth desperately grabs the rifle used to kill Berton and points it at Nick, but because Nick has anticipated the move and removed the firing pin, the gun does not fire. The police arrest Clayworth and, to everyone's amazement, the crime is solved. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: Richard Thorpe (Dir)
  Al Jennings (Asst dir)
  Norman Taurog (Dir of addl scenes)
Producer: Everett Riskin (Prod)
Writer: Robert Riskin (Scr)
  Dwight Taylor (Scr)
  Robert Riskin (Orig story)
  Harry Kurnitz (Orig story)
Photography: Karl Freund (Dir of photog)
  Joseph Ruttenberg (Fill-in dir of photog)
  Harkness Smith (2d cam)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
  Edward Carfagno (Art dir)
Film Editor: Ralph E. Winters (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis (Set dec)
  Mildred Griffiths (Assoc)
Costumes: Irene (Cost supv)
  Marion Herwood (Assoc)
Music: David Snell (Mus score)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec dir)
  James K. Burbridge (Unit mixer)
  Standish J. Lambert (Re-rec and eff mixer)
  Frank B. MacKenzie (Re-rec and eff mixer)
  Robert W. Shirley (Re-rec and eff mixer)
  Newell Sparks (Re-rec and eff mixer)
  William Steinkamp (Re-rec and eff mixer)
  Michael Steinore (Re-rec and eff mixer)
  John A. Williams (Re-rec and eff mixer)
  Edward Baravalle (Mus mixer)
  M. J. McLaughlin (Mus mixer)
  William J. Saracino (Mus mixer)
Special Effects: A. Arnold Gillespie (Transparency projection shots)
Production Misc: Eddie Woehler (Prod mgr)
  Henry Eicheim (Mus tech adv)
Country: United States
Language: English
Series: The Thin Man

Source Text: Based on characters created by Dashiell Hammett.
Authors: Dashiell Hammett

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Loew's Inc. 1/12/1944 dd/mm/yyyy LP13059 Yes

PCA NO: 10301
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

 
Genre: Comedy-drama
Sub-Genre: Detective
 
Subjects (Major): Espionage
  Investigations
  Murder
  Paintings
  Private detectives
  Small town life
 
Subjects (Minor): Art dealers
  Auto courts
  Bankers
  Birthdays
  Coroners
  Dogs
  Fathers and sons
  Jealousy
  Mothers and sons
  Physicians
  Police
  Secrets
  Temperance
  Threats
  Traps

Note: The working title of this film was The Thin Man's Rival . Various contemporary news items indicate that the film was originally set to begin production in Jun 1942 but was shelved when Myrna Loy, William Powell's co-star in previous "Thin Man" films, refused the assignment. Loy left California for New York in Dec 1941 to marry car rental heir John Hertz, Jr., and soon after began a lengthy leave of absence from films to work for the Red Cross war relief effort. In Nov 1942, a HR news item announced that the film was to begin production with Irene Dunne as "Nora Charles." The film was shelved again a short time later and did not receive mention in HR until Mar 1944, when a news item noted that Loy was set to do the film. The Thin Man Goes Home was Loy's only wartime film.
       According to an Apr 1944 HR news item, wartime liquor rationing prompted producer Everett Riskin to eliminate the heavy drinking that had been an integral part of "Nick" and "Nora's" daily life in previous "The Thin Man" films. According to HR , Norman Taurog directed the added scenes in Aug and Sep 1944, while Richard Thorpe began work on his next film, Thrill of a Romance (see below). Cameraman Joseph Ruttenberg filled in for Karl Freund in Jun 1944 while Freund was recovering from an illness.
       A NYT article notes that the dog that played "Asta" in previous "Thin Man" films "outgrew" its part and was replaced by another dog for this film. The same article also noted that the film was budgeted at $1,000,000, which was considerably less than the $2,500,000 budgeted for the most expensive film in the series. HR production charts list actor Douglas Morrow in the cast and HR news items list Mickey Roth in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The film marked the last screen appearance of actress Helen Vinson. The film was the fifth in the "Thin Man" series. W. S. Van Dyke, who directed the first four films in the series, died in 1943. For more information on the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry for The Thin Man in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.4572. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   9 Dec 1944.   
Daily Variety   22 Nov 44   p. 3.
Film Daily   6 Dec 44   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Jan 42   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Jun 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Jun 42   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Jul 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Nov 42   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Mar 44   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Apr 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   5 May 44   p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter   9 May 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   18 May 44   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   19 May 44   p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Jun 44   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jun 44   p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Jul 44   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Aug 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Aug 44   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Sep 44   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Nov 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Dec 44   p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   22 Jul 44   p. 2007.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   25 Nov 44   p. 2193.
New York Times   21 May 1944.   
New York Times   26 Jan 45   p. 16.
Variety   22 Nov 44   p. 10.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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