THE COMPLETE THIN MAN COLLECTION 

(includes THE THIN MAN, AFTER THE THIN MAN, ANOTHER THIN MAN, SHADOW OF THE THIN MAN, THE THIN MAN GOES HOME, SONG OF THE THIN MAN) WARNER BROTHERS HOME ENTERTAINMENT 

NORA: "Don't you ever think you'd like to go back to detecting once in a while just for the fun of it?" NICK: "I haven't the time. I'm too busy trying to see that you don't lose any of the money I married you for." 

The two predominant reasons why the THIN MAN series was so enduringly successful are intoxicatingly easy to identify: William Powell and Myrna Loy. With the possible exception of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn (and Crosby and Hope?), no other screen duo has been able to complement the other to such a spectacular extent with the degree of dry wit, grace, and supreme charm that was so typical of this justifiably legendary combination. The subtle and genuinely affectionate manner in which these two Golden Age icons continuously traded intimate glances and barbs is so powerful and truthful that they were able to make the following revolutionary concept seem not only believable but achievable: a married man and woman could actually have fun together while remaining unconditionally devoted to each other. (Their ability to make the consumption of massive amounts of alcohol seem entirely reasonable and attractive must have given Alcoholics Anonymous fits!) 

The other remarkable thing about this series is that all six of them remain consistently engaging and amusing and never suffer the massive drop in quality that seems to be an omnipresent danger of most continuing series, though the death of series director W.S. Van Dyke II after the first four films does have a somewhat stifling effect on the final two films which, however, is compensated for by the joyous continued participation of Powell and Loy who, if anything, actually appear to be enjoying themselves more with each entry. 

Adding to the pleasure of this wonderful collection is the fact that all six of these full-screen black-and-white films look surprisingly fine, including the previously released initial THIN MAN opus which appears sharper and considerably less grainy than that first dvd release. The monaural sound is solid and distortion-free. 

Not to be missed is the most intriguing extra in this collection, an episode of the failed THIN MAN television series starring Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk. Witnessing their pathetically arch and feeble attempts to recreate Nick and Nora make one even more appreciative of that very special magic that Powell and Loy imbued this couple with.

--DICK DINMAN 

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