Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: TBD

The Thin Man Details


Filmed on what MGM considered a B-picture budget and schedule (14 days, which at Universal or Columbia would have been considered extravagant), The Thin Man proved to be "sleeper," spawning a popular film, radio, and television series. Contrary to popular belief, the title does not refer to star William Powell, but to Edward Ellis, playing the mean-spirited inventor who sets the plot in motion. The recently divorced Clyde Wynant (Ellis) discovers that his new girlfriend, Julia Wolf (Natalie Moorhead), has stolen 50,000 dollars and is carrying on with other men. Not long afterward, he disappears. Anxious to locate her father, Wynant' daughter, Dorothy (Maureen O'Sullivan), goes to private detective Nick Charles (William Powell) for help. Having just married the lovely and wealthy Nora (Myrna Loy), Nick has no desire to return to sleuthing, but the thrill-seeking Nora eagerly talks him into taking Dorothy's case. Shortly thereafter, Wynant's lady friend is murdered; so far as police detective John Guild (Nat Pendleton) is concerned, the still-missing Wynant is the guilty party. Nick is unsatisfied with this deduction, and with the help of his wire fox terrier, Asta, he manages to uncover several vital clues -- including a decomposed corpse. At a fancy dinner party, between cocktails and the first course, Nick solves the mystery and exposes a hidden murderer. The story itself, lifted almost verbatim by scenarists Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich from the Dashiell Hammett novel on which The Thin Man is based, hardly matters. The film's strong suit is the witty repartee between Nick and Nora Charles, who manage to behave like saucily illicit lovers throughout the film even though they're married. The chemistry between William Powell and Myrna Loy would be adroitly exploited by MGM in several subsequent films, including five additional Dashiell Hammett mysteries produced between 1936 and 1948. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:June 1, 1934


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Albert Hackett Best Adapted Screenplay 1934 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Frances Goodrich Best Adapted Screenplay 1934 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences William Powell Best Actor 1934 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences W.S. Van Dyke Best Director 1934 Nominee


William Powell
as Nick Charles
Myrna Loy
as Nora Charles
Maureen O'Sullivan
as Dorothy Wynant
Nat Pendleton
as Lt. John Guild
Minna Gombell
as Mimi Wynant
Porter Hall
as MacCaulay
William Henry
as Gilbert Wynant
Harold Huber
as Nunheim
Cesar Romero
as Chris Jorgenson
Natalie Moorhead
as Julia Wolf
Edward S. Brophy
as Joe Morelli
Edward Ellis
as Clyde Wynant
Cyril Thornton
as Tanner
Douglas Fowley
Ruth Channing
as Mrs. Jorgenson
Gertrude Short
as Marion
Edward Hearn
Creighton Hale
Robert E. Homans
as Bill the Detective
Phil Tead
Dink Templeton
as Reporter
Leo White
as Waiter
Fred Malatesta
as Headwaiter
Clay Clement
as Quinn
Walter Long
as Stutsy Burke
Sherry Hall
as Taxi Driver
John Larkin
as Porter
Bert Roach
as Foster
Huey White
as Tefler
Harry Tenbrook
as Guest
Ben Taggart
as Police Captain
Garry Owen
as Detective
Kenneth Gibson
as Apartment Clerk
Rolfe Sedan
Pat Flaherty
as Cop/Fighter


W.S. Van Dyke
Hunt Stromberg
Frances Goodrich
Albert Hackett
Dashiell Hammett
Book Author
James Wong Howe
Dr. William Axt
Composer (Music Score)
Dr. William Axt
Musical Direction/Supervision
Cedric Gibbons
Art Director
Edwin B. Willis
Art Director
Dolly Tree
Costume Designer