I am a long time fan of the Thin Man movies which starred William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles. They were really the prototype of the married detectives and this first incarnation of this genre remains one of the best. So often we have detectives that are purposely single so that they can pursue love interests that change across novels/episodes. The dialog between Nick and Nora Charles was always especially fun and witty. While a fan of the movies I had not really noticed that they were written based on the novel The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. A couple of years ago I read all his novels and was really delighted to find that this novel was one of them. It was like returning to an old friend as I realized so much of the dialog and the plot were part of the movie. It is rather amazing just how perfectly William Powell and Myrna Loy played these characters as if they had been written for them.
So imagine how happy I was to find that Return of the Thin Man was being offered by Amazon Vine for review. This book contains two screenplays of novella length that became the two followup Thin Man movies “After the Thin Man” and “Another Thin Man.” After this Dashiell Hammett connection with the franchise was ended which was obvious in the subsequent sequels.
These two full-length novellas are screenplays that were written under contract . As screenplays there are some formatting that make them different from a normal novel and infrequently there are some directions given as far as characters and action. Still as screenplays they read quite well as novels and you barely notice the screenplay formatting.
As always Hammett’s dialog is superb with involved plots. There are some differences between these screenplays and the final movies, but they are mostly minor.
Just having these two screenplays makes this a must read for any Hammett fan, but there is also a lot of introductory commentary that gives a background to Dashiell Hammett’s and the circumstances that brought about these screenplays. There is also information regarding the films and the deviations they made along with some artistic choices they added. This content really added to the enjoyment of these screenplays and also set the context. I found lots of interesting trivia such as the first movie was made in only two weeks and they had no idea how big a hit it would be. Also fascinating is the fact that Nora got pregnant was suppose to be a way to end the series by the director.
This book goes on sale on November 6th.