DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


WS Van Dyke
William Powell, Myrna Loy, James Stewart
Writing Credits:
Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich

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

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 112 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 1/26/2021

• 1940 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast
• “Leo Is On the Air” Radio Promo
How to Be a Detective Comedy Short
The Early Bird and the Worm Cartoon
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


After The Thin Man [Blu-Ray] (1936)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 12, 2021)

In the 1930s, sequels weren’t as inevitable as they are today, but they occurred. After the success of 1934’s The Thin Man, a second tale with the same folks seemed logical. Eventually the series would encompass five sequels, the first of which came out in 1936.

After the Thin Man picks up right where the first film finished, as Nick Charles (William Powell) and wife Nora (Myrna Loy) return to California from their time in New York. They just want a quiet New Year’s Eve at home, but friends and hangers-on have taken over their house for a surprise party.

Nick and Nora slip out when they get an invitation for dinner from her Aunt Katherine (Jessie Ralph). Nick doesn’t like the “old battleaxe” but when Nora’s cousin Selma (Elissa Landi) pleads for their presence, he agrees to go. We sense something dire is afoot with Selma but don’t get more hints at this time.

When they arrive at the party, Selma reveals that her husband Robert (Alan Marshal) has been missing for three days. The upper crust Katherine doesn’t report this to the police as she worries about press, so they entreat Nick to investigate.

He agrees, and we hear some other aspects of the case such as Selma’s belief Robert only married her for the money. We also meet her friend David (James Stewart), a dude who obviously has long carried a torch for Selma.

Complications ensue when Nick and Nora find Robert at a nightclub. He’s having a fling with singer Polly (Dorothy McNulty), as is club owner Dancer (Joseph Calleia), as he strings him along so the pair can use him.

Robert also attempts to blackmail David: for $25,000, he’ll divorce Selma so David can finally marry her. Someone eventually shoots and kills Robert, which launches the mystery. Selma is the prime suspect, but she denies involvement, so Nick reluctantly steps in to solve the case.

Like most sequels, After bears many similarities to the original flick – Nick’s reluctance to work as a detective being one of these elements. This worked better in the first movie, as his reticence becomes tiresome here.

Nick seems especially curmudgeonly since Selma’s part of the family, and the gag gets old, particularly since we know there’s no chance Nick won’t eventually investigate. After all, it wouldn’t be much of a movie if he didn’t do his detective thing.

I won’t discuss the details, but After also offers an ending that strongly resembles the conclusion of the first film. In a change, Nora gets more to do here.

She was awfully passive in the original flick, whereas this movie gives her a moderately more active role. Asta’s part increases as well, at least for a few cutesy moments. We meet “Mrs. Asta” and his pups, though these are thrown-away elements that have nothing to do with the main story.

And what about that primary plot, anyway? I must admit it lacks the intrigue of the “Thin Man” mystery.

Frankly, I never really cared who did it. Both films offer lots of complications, but at least The Thin Man manages to keep our interest.

That doesn’t happen here, or at least not to the same degree. With all the different curveballs, I eventually realized that I wasn’t terribly concerned with the identity of the culprit and I just wanted the movie to end.

Granted, the mystery never really becomes of prime importance in the first film. We care more about the fun interplay between Nick and Nora and the other comedic elements.

Unfortunately, these lack the same zing here, as the banter doesn’t bring the same pep and zest. A few scenes reprise the goofy tone of the original, but usually the project displays few signs of life.

I must admit After the Thin Man comes as a disappointment to me. I expected a project that offered similar cleverness and creativity compared to its predecessor, but I found a flick with little of the same spark. It has some moments but it usually plods and fails to deliver the goods.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-

After the Thin Man appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While not a gleaming image, the transfer held up well..

Sharpness felt a little inconsistent, but not badly so. Though some softness crept in occasionally, most of the time the flick came across as reasonably well-defined and distinctive.

No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred. With a strong layer of grain, I suspected no noise reduction overuse.

Print flaws failed to manifest, and blacks looked mostly deep. Some of these tones could feel a little wan, but they usually worked pretty well, and low-light shots brought appealing delineation. For an 85-year-old movie, the image worked nicely.

I also thought the DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of After the Thin Man felt more than adequate given the movie’s age. Speech seemed thin and a little brittle, but the lines offered good intelligibility across the board.

Music played a more prominent role than with the first film, and the score and songs were slightlyt shrill. They generally seemed acceptable given their age, though, and the tinny nature in the upper register wasn’t too intrusive.

Effects stayed thin and without heft, but that was expected, and I noticed no problematic distortion. No issues with noise interfered. Ultimately, this was a more than acceptable piece of audio for a movie from 1936.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD from 2005? Audio seemed clearer and a little warmer, while visuals appeared sharper and cleaner. The Blu-ray turned into an obvious upgrade over the DVD.

The Blu-ray repeats the DVD”s extras, and we get a June 17, 1940 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast. This 59-minute, 35-second program offers a version of After the Thin Man and features William Powell and Myrna Loy in their roles as Nick and Nora.

Most of these radio adaptations badly chop up the source material, but this one actually seems surprisingly complete. It retells the story well and provides a fun piece.

A Radio Promo called “Leo Is On the Air” lasts 14 minutes, 27 seconds. This highlights popular songs from movies of the same era as After.

That means it includes a tune from the flick, which is why this program is here. The songs mostly sound like clunkers to me, but this offers a neat historical element.

In addition to the film’s theatrical trailer, we get two shorts. 1936’s How to Be a Detective (8:49) features Robert Benchley and provides a predictable but amusing “tutorial” on understanding and tracking criminals.

1936’s The Early Bird and the Worm (9:14) offers a “Merrie Melodies” cartoon with such a heavily cutesy bent that it becomes tough to watch. A pair of lazy crows present its only amusing moment.

Many folks seem to regard After the Thin Man as a film as good if not better than its predecessor. I don’t agree with that. I thought After was a fairly lazy rehash of the original and it lacked much of the same spirit or creativity. The Blu-ray offers good picture and audio along with a decent little set of extras. I think fans will be pleased with this release.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of AFTER THE THIN MAN

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main