August 16th, 2001


The Thin Man

A few days ago, I finished rereading The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett.

It was a decent story, but I think I like the movie better. The movie sparkles with wit and charm, and the book is much more gritty and noirish.

The book has a lot more vices going on that wasn't mentioned in the movie. The movie only mentions bigamy and alcohol consumption; the book also includes marijuana use, a mother beating her daughter, a married man having an affair with a much younger woman, financial malfeasance, and for all I know, philately.

Nora plays much less of a role in the book, which is a big part of its comparative lack of wit and sparkle; much of the sparkle of the movie is about the banter and interplay between Nick and Nora.

The plots were certainly reminiscent (is it a spoiler to say that they had the same criminal, but slightly different motivations?)

I would like to have done a deep thoughtful review, but I guess I'm just going to hit the high points and post what I've written so far. The upshot: the book is fine, but I'd rather see the movie.