AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Another Thin Man
Alternate Title: The Thin Man Returns
Director: W. S. Van Dyke II (Dir)
Release Date:   17 Nov 1939
Production Date:   mid-Jul--late Aug 1939; retakes completed 13 Oct 1939
Duration (in mins):   105
Duration (in reels):   10
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Cast:   William Powell (Nick [Charles])  
    Myrna Loy (Nora [Charles])  
    Virginia Grey (Lois [MacFay, also known as Linda Mills])  
    Otto Kruger (Van Slack)  
    C. Aubrey Smith (Colonel MacFay)  
    Ruth Hussey (Dorothy Waters)  
    Nat Pendleton (Lieutenant Guild)  
    Patric Knowles (Dudley Horn)  
    Tom Neal (Freddie)  
    Phyllis Gordon (Mrs. Bellam)  
    Sheldon Leonard (Phil Church)  
    Don Costello ("Diamond Back" Vogel)  
    Harry Bellaver ("Creeps" [Binder])  
    William A. Poulsen (Nickie, Jr.)  
    Muriel Hutchison (Smitty)  
    Abner Biberman ("Dum-Dum")  
    Marjorie Main (Mrs. Dolley)  
    Asta (Himself)  
    Martin Garralaga (Pedro)  
    Alexander D'Arcy (South American)  
    Frank Sully (Pete)  
    Horace MacMahon (MacFay's chauffeur)  
    Nell Craig (Maid)  
    Milton Kibbee (Deputy)  
    Thomas Jackson (Detective)  
    Walter Fenner (Detective)  
    Edward Gargan (Quinn)  
    Joseph Downing (First thug)  
    Matty Fain (Thug)  
    Bert Roach (Cookie)  
    Shemp Howard (Wacky)  
    Nellie V. Nichols (Mrs. Wacky)  
    Claire Rochelle (Telephone operator)  
    Doodles Weaver (Guard)  
    Roy Barcroft (Slim)  
    Joe Devlin (Barney)  
    Milton Parsons (Medical examiner)  
    Dick Elliott (Investigator)  
    Nestor Paiva (Cuban proprietor)  
    Gladden James (Fingerprint man)  
    Murray Alper (Larry)  
    Charles Brokaw (Trooper)  
    Frank Coletti (Trooper)  
    Edwin Parker (Trooper)  
    Eddie Gribbon (Baggage man)  
    Ralph Dunn (Baggage man)  
    George Guhl (Guard at gate)  
    Paul "Tiny" Newlan (Guard)  
    Paul E. Burns (Station agent)  
    Jack Gardner (Driver)  
    Anita Camargo (Hat check girl)  
    Charles Sherlock (Police photographer)  
    Guy Rett (Waiter)  
    Albert Morin (Waiter)  
    Alphonse Martell (Waiter)  
    Eddie Buzzard (Newsboy)  
    Jack Clifford (Policeman)  
    Howard Mitchell (Policeman)  
    William Pagan (Policeman)  
    Lee C. Shumway (Policeman)  
    Stanley Taylor (Taxi driver)  
    Frank Moran (Butch)  
    James Guilfoyle (Jake)  
    Richard Calderon (The Wackys' baby)  
    James G. Blaine (Policeman in Nick's suite)  
    Carmen D'Antonio (Dance specialty)  
    Rudolph Medina (Dance specialty)  
    Miguel Fernandez (Dance specialty)  
    Ramon Ros (Dance specialty)  
    Fred Valasco (Dance specialty)  
    Rosemary Grimes (Woman in cafe)  
    Blanca Vischer (Woman in cafe)  
    Sandra Andrews (Woman in cafe)  
    Tina Menard (Woman in cafe)  

Summary: After Colonel MacFay frantically summons them to his Long Island estate, amatuer detectives Nick and Nora Charles arrive to find the house under heavy guard and the colonel under threat of death by his former employee, Phil Church. Among MacFay's house guests are his adopted daughter Lois and her fiancĂ©, Dudley Horn, who explains that Church blames the colonel for sending him to jail, and the macabre incidents that have been occurring are a result of Church's revenge attempts. That night, the colonel is murdered and Church disappears. As the police interrogate the witnesses, gunshots are heard in the night and Horn is killed. Back in the city, a mysterious caller who promises to produce Church's Cuban accomplice, "Dum Dum," directs Nora to the Rio Club, and Nick, acting on a clue uncovered at Church's girl friend Smitty's apartment, also turns up at the club. There, Nick learns that Church had a second girl friend, Linda Mills, and he goes to investigate her apartment, but finds the girl missing. The next day, Church appears at the Charles' apartment and threatens to harm Nick unless he abandons the case. As he escapes across the rooftops, Church is shot and killed, and the police are summoned. Nick then explains to the puzzled assemblage that Church did not kill MacFay. As he re-stages the shooting, Nick explains that Church's accomplice, Linda Mills, killed the colonel, and Nick then unmasks Lois as Linda. Nick continues that Lois, tired of playing the good daughter, led the life of a moll and killed her father for his money. Once Horn began to suspect her of the crime, she killed him, and Church became her third victim when she began to suspect him of double-crossing her over Smitty. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's, Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: W. S. Van Dyke II (Dir)
  Hugh Boswell (Dir of retakes and asst dir)
Producer: Hunt Stromberg (Prod)
Writer: Frances Goodrich (Scr)
  Albert Hackett (Scr)
  Dashiell Hammett (Orig story)
  Anita Loos (Contr wrt)
Photography: Oliver T. Marsh (Dir of photog)
  William Daniels (Dir of photog)
  John Seitz (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
  John S. Detlie (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Frederick Y. Smith (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis (Set dec)
Costumes: Dolly Tree (Ward)
Music: Edward Ward (Mus score)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec dir)
Dance: Eddie Larkin (Dance dir)
  Rene and Estelle (Rhumba specialty)
Country: United States
Series: 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. 15/11/1939 dd/mm/yyyy LP9259 Yes

PCA NO: 5826
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

 
Genre: Comedy-drama
Sub-Genre: Detective
 
Subjects (Major): Amateur detectives
  Fathers and daughters
  Impersonation and imposture
  Murder
  Revenge
 
Subjects (Minor): Adoption
  Engagements
  Escapes
  Long Island (NY)
  Mansions
  Marriage
  Nightclubs
  Police
  Rooftops

Note: The working title of this film was The Thin Man Returns . It was the third film in the Thin Man series. According to a 9 Oct 1939 M-G-M "Notice of Tentative Credits" (located in the AMPAS production file for this film), Anita Loos was a contributing writer on the screenplay. M-G-M press releases contained in the AMPAS production files note that the dance team of Rene and Estelle were headliners at New York's Havana-Madrid Club. Although an Oct 1939 HR news item states that Rafael Storm was "assigned a role for retakes," his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to news items in HR in 1938, actors Reginald Gardiner and Melvyn Douglas were considered as replacements for William Powell in The Thin Man series when a serious illness caused delays in the start of this film. Modern sources add that this film marked Powell's return to M-G-M after a two-year bout with cancer. From the completion of Double Wedding in 1937 until Another Thin Man in 1939, Powell appeared in only one film, Fox's 1938 film The Baroness and the Butler . Because of his weakened condition, he had to work a shortened workday. To accommodate Powell, director W. S. Van Dyke II doubled the crew size to speed up filming and demanded that all the principal actors be furnished with stand-ins for the lighting chores between setups. For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry below for The Thin Man

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   9 Nov 39   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jul 39   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Aug 39   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Sep 39   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Oct 39   p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Oct 39   p. 5.
Film Daily   14 Nov 39   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Nov 39   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   14 Nov 39   p. 1, 7
Motion Picture Herald   9 Sep 39   p. 59.
Motion Picture Herald   18 Nov 39   p. 44.
New York Times   24 Nov 39   p. 29.
Variety   15 Nov 39   p. 18.

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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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