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Another Thin Man

Director:
W.S. Van Dyke
Release Date:
17 Nov 1939
Genre:
Comedy / Mystery / Drama / Crime / Romance
Country:
USA
Runtime:
103 min

The third of the Thin Man movies, the story for Another Thin Man took place two years after the last movie. Nick, Nora, Nicky Jr. and Asta had just returned to New York from a trip when Colonel MacFay, who managed Nora's assets, called and insisted that they get to his country house at once. So the Charles family brought along their not-yet-unpacked luggage and went on their way. As they were about to reach the Colonel's mansion, Nick spotted a dead body on the side of the road, but when he had the car stopped and went back to look for it the body was gone. Nick and Nora began to feel uneasy about the place they were heading for. Their uneasiness grew as they found themselves passing through check posts patrolled by men with shotguns. But this was nothing compared to the Colonel himself. MacFay was living in fear, believing that one of his former employees was back for revenge and he would be murdered. MacFay believed that a man by the name of Phil Church would kill him. Phil had told MacFay that he had dreamt about his death three times, and all of his dreams come true after the third time. MacFay didn't believe it at first, but accidents began to happen around him. Nick was sceptical and went on with his cocktails. As if to prove MacFay's point, someone set the swimming pool on fire during dinner. Nick began to see that maybe MacFay was not crazy after all. Phil Church was living in a cottage nearby and Nick decided to pay him a visit. Phil was about to leave for Cuba but he had been expecting Nick; he wanted to tell his side of the story. It turned out that MacFay used Phil as the scapegoat for some seedy business transactions and left him out to dry. Now that Phil's out of jail, it's payback time. The meeting ended with Nick punching Phil, as he threatened to "dream" about Nora and Nicky Jr.; Nick also discovered that Phil's friends Smitty and Dum-Dum had special talents with guns and knives. Later that night a shot was heard, after which all lights went out. By the time the fuse was fixed it was too late - MacFay was already dead, just as Phil's dreams predicted, with his throat cut. Asta was ahead of the police and found the knife used to kill MacFay, but would not give it to anyone but Nick. Nick was called to look for Asta in the bushes and get the knife. He was almost killed by Dudley, saved by Lois' warning and the police officers around him. Dudley was killed by the police, leaving no apparent reason to want to kill Nick. Displeased with the manner in which they were questioned, Nick and Nora decided not to help the police and took what was left of the MacFay household back to New York - MacFay's adopted daughter Lois, the housekeeper Mrs. Bellam, and MacFay's secretary Freddie, who was secretly in love with Lois. A couple of days later, the district attorney dropped by, this time politely inviting Nick to join the investigation; Nick happily complied. The clues brought Nick to a night club, where he found his lovely wife sitting at a table, surrounded by men. Nora had been doing a bit of detective work on her own, and was about to meet a man who knew where to find Dum-Dum. They never found the man, they found something better, Dum-Dum himself. Dum-Dum knocked out a drunken man, claiming to be Phil's buddy, to stop him from telling Nick about Phil's other girlfriend Linda Mills and what he was doing on the night MacFay was killed. But Nick did manage to get an address to an apartment building. While Nora pretended to be checking out rooms, Nick checked out Linda Mills' apartment. He found bullet holes, gun shot residue and other evidence that did not make apparent sense. His search was interrupted by two gangsters climbing in through the fire escape, intending to silence him forever. Thankfully, Nick had asked Lieutenant Gould to follow him just in case. They were arrested. Back in their own apartment, Nick and Nora were about to sit down and talk over what they'd discovered when the apartment was suddenly flooded with ex-cons (all sent away by Nick but strangely on friendly terms with him) and their baby boys. It turned out that before they went away to MacFay's country house, Nick had met Creeps, a thief he once arrested. Knowing that Nicky Jr. was about to turn one year old, Creeps insisted on hosting a birthday party for him when the Charles' returned to the city. As Nora and Nick went in to the bedroom to call for more food, Phil Church showed up and threatened to kill them if they didn't keep quiet. As he was about to sneak out via the balcony, he was shot and killed. The police shut down the hotel and found Dum-Dum and Smitty waiting for Phil in the back alley. Nick now found that in the midst of the ex-cons, their babies, and the police, he also had all the suspects in his apartment. It had been obvious that Phil didn't kill MacFay, but Nick hadn't able to figure out who did. Phil's death gave Nick the last clue, and he was ready to solve the mystery. So Nick broke up the birthday party and made way for the showdown. Based on the evidence found in Linda Mills' room, Nick was able to deduct that when the shot was heard MacFay was already dead. The shot was fired using a delay mechanism designed by Phil, thus giving the murderer 5 minutes to establish an alibi. And that makes Lois, AKA Linda Mills, the murderer who killed both MacFay and Phil. Lois had been living the double-life as good country girl Lois MacFay and city party-girl Linda Mills for sometime now. Through her gangster friends, she met and fell in love with Phil. Phil wanted payback, Lois couldn't wait to get her inheritance from her penny-pinching father, so the two conspired to first drive Colonel MacFay mad with fear, and then kill him. Phil hired Smitty to play the accomplice so no one would suspect Lois, but ended up falling in love with Smitty. Lois was not going to lose her man and money to an older, less attractive woman, so she killed Phil and framed Smitty. Given that Smitty was still married to convict H. Culverton Smith, she would to be the perfect scapegoat. Lori was quick to confess and Nick was feeling pretty good about himself, until Lois told him that she had Nicky Jr. and he's going to be her way out. Nora rushed into Lois' room to rescue her son, but found someone else's baby there. Nick lost his confidence and was about to turn cold sober, when one of his ex-con friends ran into the apartment with his wife - he had taken the wrong baby home and his wife was crazy with worry. They were alone in their bedroom, the door closed, the murder solved, Nicky Jr. safely back in their arms, and Asta was quiet - Nick and Nora can finally get the rest they've been longing for since they got off the train.
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