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Song of the Thin Man Reviews

The last and least of the long-lived series has Powell and Loy attending a party on board a gambling ship. When the bandleader is murdered, Powell at first doesn't want to take the case, even though the owner of the ship--Cowling, who had argued with the bandleader beforehand and who is now the chief suspect--asks him to help clear his name. But when someone takes a shot at the ship's owner, Powell's curiosity is piqued and he throws himself into the investigation. He enlists the help of musician Wynn and soon has put together an interesting list of suspects, including gambler Bishop, who owed the dead man $12,000; clarinet player Taylor; Morgan, the father of Cowling's fiancee; and Grahame, a singer the victim had jilted. Grahame is herself murdered and the obligatory call goes out to gather all the suspects in one room for Powell to expose the murderer. It turns out to be Ames, the dead man's business manager, with whom he had quarreled over the bandleader's attentions toward his wife, Morison. The formula had definitely gone stale by this time, the sixth THIN MAN film and the 13th and last Powell-Loy teaming in as many years. As always with the two stars, the film is well worth watching, but it had come down a long way from the first series entry more than a decade before. The writing doesn't crackle and spark as in the earlier films, and the reliance on characters like Wynn to provide some of the laughs only points up how flat the lead duo had become over time. Wynn does do a tolerable job here, while Grahame is always fun to watch, and here she sings a sultry song for good measure. The last entries of series are, as a rule, bad. This one breaks the mold and, while hardly in a league with the earlier films, can hold its own against any B movie mystery of the period.