Another Thin Man (1939)

Another Side of Thin

With the third of the series, the producers decided to move a little more into the world of Hammett and nudge away from the cutesy cute banter. It is only a little in that direction, but noticeable with the fairly complex plot.

Hammett was a real innovator, taking the genre from the “game-with-the-reader” style of Christie to the “orchestrated surprise” method of Gardner. Before him, we had the notion of an intricate puzzle where neither the narrator nor the reader’s intuition were completely to be trusted. Afterwards, we had a different universe: the viewer entered a post-noir world of artificial complexities where logic wasn’t quite active and fate always had hidden tricks.

In this world, the end is always a surprise, something that happens to us. So strong has this tradition become that films of Christie stories wash out the game in favour of the surprise.

That this series has silly humour and banter rather than the dark resignation of traditional noirs is irrelevant.

So even though we get only a little more of the experiment with mystery this time out, it matters.

Posted in 2004

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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