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Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)



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Fourth in the series of six Thin Man films, this one reunites Nick, Nora, Asta, booze, witty banter, and a murder mystery for another go around the track. Literally, this time: the story takes place at the racetrack. If it feels a little familiar, it might be because you saw a wisecracking William Powell solve a racetrack mystery in an earlier film, The Ex-Mrs. Bradford. But the differences are enough to warrant a viewing of both.

The first two Thin Man films were electric with their fast-paced scripts and the ritzy, carefree lifestyles of their characters. By the end of the series, the formula was wearing thin, and in any case it was better suited to Depression-era escapism than the darker social climate of World War II that gave rise to film noir. Shadow of the Thin Man is a noticeable step down from its predecessors but still well worth seeing.

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