Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Thin Man Boxed Set

I've acquired many a boxed set recently and over the years. I recently got for Christmas The Greta Garbo Signature Collection and The Myrna Loy and William Powell boxed set. I adore them to bits. And I Love You Again was hilarious, FYI. I've owned the amazing, wonderful, fantasmagorical, I'm running out of superlatives boxed set of all The Thin Man movies ever made. You can buy it here (UK), and here (US), on Amazon.

It's a great boxed set. I've recently really gotten quite obsessed with Myrna Loy and her movies, so I'm watching all the movies with her in that I can right now. Best Years Of Our Lives and The Thin Man were the only ones I'd watched her in - and I recently read Dashiell Hammett's novel it was based on, so in August I convinced the family to re-watch it with me. We adored it and the great couple that lead the cast - William Powell and Myrna Loy. I was intrigued by this awesome actress that I'd never really read about or seen before. Well, fast forward from August to January and I've seen 15 Myrna Loy films with several more bookmarked on YouTube and one more to watch on DVD. In August, along with the Hepburn/Tracy Signature Collection, we ordered the complete Tin Man boxed set for a steal on Amazon. The films were directed by a group of directors (mainly W.S. Van Dyke and his son W.S. Van Dyke Jr.) and not all of them were collaborated on with Dashiell Hammett - but we love them all. 

I would recommend this boxed set to anyone. It's a fantastic load of films, and a great look at the couple that should have gotten married, Myrna Loy and William Powell - without shelling out the cash as I did eventually for the TCM Powell and Loy boxed set. All the films are worth the watch and not one of them is a disappointment as a sequel. I do have my preferences, but here's the IMDB plot summary for each and what I thought - so if you are thinking of getting them, then you'll know what you're in for. Or if you're just curious you can take a look :-D

1. The Thin Man (1934)

Nick and Nora Charles, a former detective and his rich, playful wife, investigate a murder case mostly for the fun of it.

The Thin Man is a magnificent thriller/comedy in all it's pre-code glory. With Myrna Loy and William Powell finally hitting it off in their best loved genre - comedy - they totally embody the roles of playful husband and wife, Nick and Nora charles. After a two film string of melodramas (Manhattan Melodrama and Evelyn Prentice - both great, but not exactly their forte as a pair) MGM finally found out what to do with them. They also introduce the best acting dog ever as their dutiful wire-haired terrier, Asta. It's a great film filled with suspense, comedy, drinking, romance, drinking - did I mention drinking? You can never beat the first film in a series. There isn't anything wrong with this film, and of course it is where the Myrna Loy nose scrunch originated.

2. After The Thin Man (1936)

Nick investigates the case of a missing man and later a murder that is connected to Nora's family.

The Charles duo are back and this time with the addition of James Stewart who plays Nora's sister's ex-boyfriend driven half mad by revenge. This is probably technically the next best film after the first in terms of suspense and film craftsmanship. It's still a lot of fun and Nick and Nora are yet again wonderful and totally fun and in love just as they were in the first. This one's a great film on it's own, even if you haven't seen all the others in the set - which I do recommend watching in order.

3. Another Thin Man (1939)

An explosives manufacturer suspects a young man is out to kill him. He calls in Nick and Nora (with new baby) to sort things out.

And something makes three! At the end of the last film, Nick sees nora knitting a baby sock and he looks at her questioningly and she just replies, "And you call yourself a detective." Even with the addition of a baby, this film stands out to me as perhaps one of the two slightly weaker films in the set. This one suffers slightly from a contrived and weak plot, but obviously they are all worth the watch because of Nick and Nora and of course Asta who does a backflip in this film. Also, William Powell plays with a toy panda in this one. Does it get any better?

4. Shadow Of The Thin Man (1941)

Nick and Nora are at their wise-cracking best as they investigate murder and racketeering at a local race-track.

I have to say that this is my favourite of the films apart from the first of course. It's super fun and features one of the best plots in the set. There's lots of interaction with little Nicky who is more and more like his father every day. Nick reads him "fairy tales" about horses he's going to bet on, as Nora finds out when little Nicky comes back and tells her Daddy's newest story: "Son Of A Gun was forty to one!" It's adorable and the murder seems a lot more riveting and thrilling in this one than the previous one. That's a relief and this film is a joy to watch - as I say It's certainly my personal favourite :-D

5. The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)

Nick and Nora go on holiday to see Nick's parents, and end up involved in a murder - again.

So this one isn't as racy as the others, but what can you expect! The production code is in full swing so no more drinking 17 Martinis a day, it's onto apple cider. Also - in the book Nick is meant to be Greek. I've never seen a less Geek family, but oh well - we'll roll with it. There's plenty of cute stuff in this film and I love the vibe of Nora trying to make Nick's parents appreciate his illustrious career as a detective. Nick's parents are very stuck up so it's great fun to see them being shocked by Nick and Nora's bohemian lifestyle. Also, this is one of Myrna Loy's first films back after giving up the movies to work with the Red Cross. She was a wonderful lady.

6. Song Of The Thin Man (1947)

Nick, Nora, and Nick Jr. investigate the murder of a band leader in New York.

The Thin Man series ends with a bang for another great cosmopolitan mystery involving a band leader and a shady Gloria Grahame as a singer (anything new there?). I enjoyed this one a lot. There's a hilarious scene in a hay-filled train car where one of the Charles's friends says "So you always have to sit in this car because of the M-U-T-T?" and Asta growls loudly at the man as soon as he says "M-U-T-T." Love it. This is certainly not a disappointment for Thin Man Films. They leave on a high point.

There you go! That's my thoughts on the set anyhow. As for the boxing and look of it I'd say it's great. I got the version that has two DVD cases and a few DVDs in each case - but I believe it's available with all six discs in individual covers. Hope you enjoyed it!


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman: The Ship That Never Left The Dock

{My GIF}

There was a post floating around on Tumblr a while ago that had a picture of Cary and Ingrid and the caption: "The Ship That Never Left The Dock". I don't know if you ever use it or see it used, but on the web, it's customary to tag or label your favourite of/on screen couples with OTP (one true pairing) or I Ship These Two (I ship them together, I put them together even though their roles or life don't mirror your views.) This made me think. I love Kate and Spence and The Powells, but they were either together or always played Mr and Mrs. I completely love Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman together. They're lovely and romantic together and whenever I watch them on screen, I find it hard to deal with that they were never married with many children. Is that weird?

They certainly show their both dramatic and romantic best in Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece (and my favourite), Notorious (1946). Their pairing was utter genius from a genius director. From the moment they first look at each other you know that that's it - their a match made in heaven. The whole way through the film even when they aren't a "couple" they are always somehow romantically joined. You don't get that often or easily - they were a near perfect match. Fast-forward about 10 years and you've got the delightful rom-com Indiscreet (1958), which I believe Cary Grant claimed to be his favourite movie.

Indiscreet is one of my all-time favourites. I can't pick any holes or faults with it - it's pretty flawless. It's one of those films that when you can't decide what to watch you just stick this on and enjoy it as if you've never watched it before. I first watched it with my mum as an antidote to the grim yet mesmerising Cabaret and we laughed and enjoyed it so much we showed it to my little sister that day and she loved it, too. They prove in this that they can not only do the dramatic together - but the comedy too. Why didn't more directors cast them together?

I suppose it was probably because Cary was always being paired with the likes of Irene Dunne and his other partner (I happen to adore this pair almost as much as the Ingrid one), Katharine Hepburn. Ingrid was often galavanting off in Italy or  making other movies without a main plot being love. It's a true shame they never made more movies together - I adore them. I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP.


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Be My Valentine...

I made this little GIF with my OTP Kate Hepburn and Spencer Tract because as you probably all know, today's the 14th of February... Valentines Day! I think these two are great. You have to read Kate's autobiography or watch "Katharine Hepburn, Me: A Self Portrait" to fully understand how romantic and wonderful their love story was. Happy Valentines! If you want to use this as an e-card or blog graphic or something then that's great! Just link back please, stealing ain't dandy like sugar candy. I'm probably a little late with this for Valentines Day... oh well!!!

If you're planning on watching a movie tonight, I'd recommend either Notorious (Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman) or Random Harvest (Greer Garson and Ronald Colman)... They're the two most romantic films ever - in my opinion. Me? I actually just curled up on the sofa with Pillow Talk - I love me some Doris Day.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

Rianna's Classic Movie Survey

I just love doing surveys so when I heard that one of my favourite bloggers and best internet pals had recently made one I was super exited! Thanks Rianna of Frankly My Dear for the fun survey! Here are my answers.

1. Favorite classic Disney?

{These GIFs are not mine.}

My personal favourite has to be The Aristocats if we are talking about classic. It's amazing and all the cats are perfect. I can't ever find a Disney classic I'll have more affection for. This is as cute as it gets. Everybody wants to be a cat... I also adore Mulan and The Little Mermaid but I think they aren't really classic. I used to be quite obsessed with dressing up and putting on little shows when I was younger (haven't grown out of it) and I dressed up as many a Disney princess :-D

2. Favorite film from the year 1939?

{My graphic}

Ooooohhh. I couldn't tell you. I love Wuthering Heights which I reviewed for the 1939 movies blogathon, but I also love Dark Victory and Goodbye Mr. Chips. I don't think I could choose at all, I love so many from that year!

3. Favorite Carole Lombard Screwball role?


My Man Godfrey for this reason. "GODFREY LOVES ME HE PUT ME IN THE SHOWER!" Enough said. Seriously.

4. Favorite off screen couple? (It’s ok if it ended in divorce.)


Well, my favourite off-screen couple that are widely known to have existed (The Powells were real. It's just my secret.) I have to say Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Their love for each other was great. You really have to either read Me: Stories of My Life or watch Me: A Self Portrait to understand how much they loved each other. It's so upsetting sometimes because of his many problems.

5. Favorite pair of best friends? (e.g: Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford)

I have recently found out about a friendship between Greer Garson and Katharine Hepburn who ate together and socialized at MGM, but as for a proper friendship as in a famous one (that actually has the evidence of cute photos) I love Olivia DeHavilland and Bette Davis. They were great friends as this clip shows.

6. Favorite actor with a mustache? 


William Powell and Clark Gable have to be tied. Their moustachioed awesomespice is equal in all ways. I love them too much for words.

7. Favorite blonde actress?

Blonde? Well I don't like to stereotype blonde, but I really love lots of Marilyn Monroe movies. She was a much better actress than everyone thought she was.

8. Favorite pre-code?



WHAT IS THIS? I LOVE SO MANY - PRE-CODES ARE ALL THAT IS WONDEROUS IN LIFE. If I had to pick it though it would be The Thin Man - or It Happened One Night - also Queen Christina!

9. Which studio would you have liked to join?

MGM. They had a blast there. Kate, Greer and Myrna? Yes! We could have been ladies who lunched in each other's apartment-sized dressing rooms! Me, Myrna and Kate would come from our serious dramas and clever comedies in black and white to go and see Greer who's been working with Walter Pidgeon on their lavish technicolour picture. Kate would go with Spencer, Myrna would come with William Powell (of course) and I'd be there with Cary Grant. Because since I suddenly find myself in classic Hollywood then of course, he is naturally my husband. THIS WOULD BE SO DAMN AMAZING.

10. Favorite common on screen pairing that SHOULD have gotten married? 

THE POWELLS. THERE ARE NO MORE AND NEVER WILL BE. They were married. They just kept it secret. Some commenter asked me a while ago how many secret children they had. Four. Two boys and two girls. Myrna Jr, Bill Jr., and the other two called Nick and Nora. Hellyeah The Powells and their family. And anyway, what more proof does anyone need than this?

11. Favorite I Love Lucy episode?

I have shamefully only seen a few but I got the first series from my grandmaw for Christmas so ILL here I come! So far I love the "Viteameatavegamin" episode best.

12.  Out of these actresses which one do you like best: Lucille Ball, Ingrid Bergman, Natalie Wood, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Greer Garson, Grace Kelly, or Katharine Hepburn?

{My Scan}

Why Rianna? Just why? I've already emailed you in shouting capitals at the total unfairness of this heart-wrenching question. This is so hard, but I think I'll have to choose Kate. After reading books about Greer, Ingrid and Kate's own lovely contribution, I have to say that I feel most akin to Katharine Hepburn and can relate most to her movies and her stories. Darn you though, tough question much?

13. Shadowy film noir from the 1940’s or splashy colorful musicals from the 1950’s?

I can't choose so I'm going to say one of each. Shady 40s noir, Double Indemnity. Barbara Stanwyck is a shadowy ninja of suspense. Deal.

Splashy colourful musical I pick Kiss Me Kate. It's been my favourite ever since I can remember.

14. Actor or actress with the best autograph (photo preferred).

Well, I think that Myrna Loy's extravagant hand is pretty darn awesome. Don't you?

15. A baby (or childhood, or teenage) photo of either your favorite actress or actor (or both, if you’d like.)

Cary Grant as a boy (sorry Rianna, it's the same as yours!)

Best picture of Kate Hepburn (this is the cutest thing ever guys.)

{My Scan}

Thanks Rianna for such a great survey! I had great fun doing it :-D