Song of the Thin Man (1947)

“Song of the Thin Man” (1947) is the sixth and final installment in the Thin Man series, starring Bill Powell and Myrna Loy. The series started in 1934 with “The Thin Man”. In the midst of the depression, that first movie struck a chord with people and was instantly popular. More movies followed, in 1936, 1939 and 1941. One was even made during WWII, in 1944.

This final movie made in 1947, at the end of WWII, was a turning point. From that point on, movies changed. Americans who came home from abroad, from war and travel, had a different perspective in life. Social hierarchy changed. American prosperity came into its own and people’s expectations changed (not necessarily for the better). You’ll see hints of all those things in this movie.

I may be wrong on this, but it’s possible that Bill Powell was made to wear a wig for this movie. He had a receding hair line as early as 1931, and it was visible in his other Thin Man movies. In this one, however, you’ll see a clear, determined hair line, much closer to his forehead than in earlier movies. It bothered me a bit. I wanted to see the Bill Powell I knew, with his own hair.

The plotline for this movie is similar to the others in the series. Someone gets murdered, there are lots of suspects and motives, the likely suspects turn out to be false, and the criminal is someone close to the action but an unlikely choice. Although we know how things are going to unroll, it’s the action, the dialogue, and above all, the actors that keep us interested in this movie, and in the others as well.

Bill Powell and Myrna Loy are two of my favorite actors, and they’re amazing when they’re together on screen. It’s a delight to watch them. Every time I see a movie that stars only one of them, I miss the other. They’re just not the same if they’re not together.

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