Cast & Crew
Gloria De Haven
Nick Charles, the famous New York detective, takes his wife Nora and their dog Asta to his sleepy hometown of Sycamore Springs to visit his parents and celebrate his birthday. Soon after they arrive, Nora discovers that Nick's father, Dr. Bertram Charles, is disappointed in his son for not having become a doctor as he did. Determined to show Bertram that Nick is an accomplished sleuth, Nora encourages Nick to find and solve a crime in the small town. When a rumor begins to spread through town that Nick is visiting Sycamore Springs to investigate a case, some of the residents, especially Edgar Draque, who is secretly involved in an espionage ring, become alarmed. Draque tells his wife Helena that they must leave town immediately after they get their hands on a particular painting by local artist Peter Berton. Meanwhile, Nora, who is looking for a gift for Nick's birthday, finds the Berton painting in Willie Crump's art store and buys it for Nick. Later that night, Berton arrives at the Charles house and is about to reveal some important information when he is struck by a bullet and killed. While Dr. Bruce Clayworth, the town coroner, performs an autopsy on Berton, Nick begins an investigation into the murder by going to Berton's residence at Tom's Auto Court. There he learns that Berton had a fight with someone earlier in the week, and that the fight may have been over Laura Ronson, the daughter of banking tycoon Sam Ronson and the girl friend of Tom Clayworth. Inside Berton's room, Nick finds a rare Cuban cigar wrapper and continues searching for clues until Crazy Mary, a local character, enters the room and knocks him unconscious. Nora later shows Nick the painting she bought, but when he tells her that the windmill in the painting brings back bad memories for him, she donates it to the upcoming charity bazaar. Nick continues his investigation with a visit to the Ronsons. There he notices Cuban cigars wrapped in the same wrapper he found in Berton's room. When Laura tells Nick that she knows nothing about Berton's fight, Nick reminds her that her father is known to have objected to her friendship with Berton. R. T. Tatum, one of Ronson's employees, later warns Nick to stop meddling in Ronson's business and threatens to spoil his father's plans to open a hospital if the investigation continues. Nick, however, ignores Tatum's threats and later learns that Mary is Berton's mother. He also learns that Mary gave her son up for adoption when he was a child and that Berton never knew she was his mother. Meanwhile, Draque traces the Berton painting to Nora and offers her $500 for it. Nora, realizing that the painting must be of some worth, quickly loses Draque and takes Nick with her to the bazaar to look for the painting. At the bazaar, Nick and Nora discover that the much sought-after painting was sold to Helena and that Ronson is among the many who have been searching for it. When Nick enters Helena's hotel room, he discovers that she has been knocked unconscious and that the painting is missing. The trail of evidence leads Nick and Nora to Mary's. There, they discover Mary has been murdered, but before they leave, Asta uncovers the hidden painting. Believing he has the evidence he needs to solve the case, Nick calls the police and assembles all the possible suspects at his parents' house. Nick explains to the group that a special instrument has revealed that several of Berton's paintings concealed top secret plans for an airplane propeller manufactured by a company owned by Ronson. After exposing Draque's involvement in a scheme to sell the valuable plans to foreign interests, Nick tricks Dr. Clayworth into revealing himself as the killer. Clayworth desperately grabs the rifle used to kill Berton and points it at Nick, but because Nick has anticipated the move and removed the firing pin, the gun does not fire. The police arrest Clayworth and, to everyone's amazement, the crime is solved.
Gloria De Haven
Robert E. O'connor
Joseph J. Greene
James K. Burbridge
A. Arnold Gillespie
Standish J. Lambert
Frank B. Mackenzie
M. J. Mclaughlin
William J. Saracino
Robert W. Shirley
John A. Williams
Edwin B. Willis
Ralph E. Winters
The Thin Man Goes Home
Loy, highly involved with the home-front war effort and a marriage to car-rental heir John Hertz that had kept her in New York, had been away from the screen for three years. Thin Man fans had clamored for a new film in the series, but reacted with horror when MGM suggested that it might enlist a different actress, such as Irene Dunne, to play Nora opposite Powell's Nick. "The fans wanted Myrna, and they didn't want anyone else," Powell later recalled. "And I wanted Myrna, too. Besides the favorable reception our pictures always received, I must say it was certainly a pleasure to work with her."
Powell was so delighted with the return of his co-star, in fact, that he arranged to meet Loy when she arrived in Pasadena by train. He even borrowed Asta from the studio and took the pooch along for the reunion. Observing that Loy looked tired and thin, he told her that the studio might change the title of the picture to The Thin Woman Comes Home.
When Loy arrived at MGM for her first day's work on the film, she was greeted by banners reading WELCOME HOME, MYRNA and DON'T LEAVE US AGAIN, MYRNA. According to Powell, she was pelted by papier-mache roses left over from the Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy operetta Maytime (1937). "I've never seen a girl so popular with so many people," Powell recalled. "Everybody from wardrobe was over the set, everybody from makeup, everybody from property, everybody from miles around, it looked like."
Producer: Everett Riskin
Director: Richard Thorpe
Screenplay: Robert Riskin, Dwight Taylor, from story by Riskin and Harry Kurnitz
Art Direction: Edward C. Carfagno, Cedric Gibbons
Cinematography: Karl Freund, Joseph Ruttenberg (uncredited)
Costume Design: Irene Sharaff
Editing: Ralph E. Winters
Original Music: David Snell
Principal Cast: William Powell (Nicholas "Nick" Charles), Myrna Loy (Nora Charles), Lucile Watson (Mrs. Charles), Gloria DeHaven (Laurabelle "Laura" Ronson), Anne Revere (Crazy Mary), Helen Vinsons (Helena Draque), Harry Davenport (Dr. Bertram Charles), Leon Ames (Edgar Draque).
BW-101m. Closed captioning.
by Roger Fristoe
The Thin Man Goes Home
When Nick is resting in the hammock in his parent's front yard, he is reading a "Nick Carter, Detective" comic book.
Liberal drinking of alcohol, a mainstay of the first four "Thin Man" movies, was curtailed for this movie due to wartime liquor rationing.
Norman Taurog directed the additional scenes filmed in August and September, 1944, because Richard Thorpe had begun work on his next film Thrill of a Romance (1945).
The Charles' dog, Asta, was replaced for this movie. The original dog outgrew the part.
This movie was to begin production in 1942, but Myrna Loy refused the part. Instead, she went to New York to marry car rental heir John Hertz, Jr., and worked for the Red Cross war-relief effort. The movie almost began shooting with Irene Dunne as Nora Charles.
The working title of this film was The Thin Man's Rival. Various contemporary news items indicate that the film was originally set to begin production in June 1942 but was shelved when Myrna Loy, William Powell's co-star in previous "Thin Man" films, refused the assignment. Loy left California for New York in December 1941 to marry car rental heir John Hertz, Jr., and soon after began a lengthy leave of absence from films to work for the Red Cross war relief effort. In November 1942, a Hollywood Reporter news item announced that the film was to begin production with Irene Dunne as "Nora Charles." The film was shelved again a short time later and did not receive mention in Hollywood Reporter until March 1944, when a news item noted that Loy was set to do the film. The Thin Man Goes Home was Loy's only wartime film.
According to an April 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item, wartime liquor rationing prompted producer Everett Riskin to eliminate the heavy drinking that had been an integral part of "Nick" and "Nora's" daily life in previous "The Thin Man" films. According to Hollywood Reporter, Norman Taurog directed the added scenes in August and September 1944, while Richard Thorpe began work on his next film, Thrill of a Romance (see below). Cameraman Joseph Ruttenberg filled in for Karl Freund in June 1944 while Freund was recovering from an illness.
A New York Times article notes that the dog that played "Asta" in previous "Thin Man" films "outgrew" its part and was replaced by another dog for this film. The same article also noted that the film was budgeted at $1,000,000, which was considerably less than the $2,500,000 budgeted for the most expensive film in the series. Hollywood Reporter production charts list actor Douglas Morrow in the cast and Hollywood Reporter news items list Mickey Roth in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The film marked the last screen appearance of actress Helen Vinson. The film was the fifth in the "Thin Man" series. W. S. Van Dyke, who directed the first four films in the series, died in 1943. For more information on the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry for The Thin Man in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4572.