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Return of the Thin Man: Two…

Return of the Thin Man: Two never-before-published novellas featuring Nick… (edition 2012)

by Dashiell Hammett, Richard Layman (Editor), Julie M. Rivett (Editor)

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7915152,477 (3.5)1
Title:Return of the Thin Man: Two never-before-published novellas featuring Nick & Nora Charles
Authors:Dashiell Hammett
Other authors:Richard Layman (Editor), Julie M. Rivett (Editor)
Info:Mysterious Press (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Tags:fiction, mystery

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Return of the Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett




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To the great credit of the producers of the audio version of this work, a great deal of effort went into peopling it with talented actors with distinctive voices, individuals who acted their roles with skill and verve. What's more, the work contains extended essays that explain the historical context of the screenplays, in the context of Dashiell Hammett's career and of the actual Thin Man movies themselves.

That having been said, I must confess that "The Thin Man" was my least favorite of Hammett's work, and I was never fond of the movies based on that character. The audio version of the screenplays confirmed my opinion. Maybe it is a reflection of my own failings, but I found the screenplay story lines difficult to follow. By 1/3 of the way into "After the Thin Man" I had lost track of who was who, and by halfway through I couldn't care less who had been murdered and why. Thinking I may have let my attention lag unduly, I was resolved to pay close attention in the second screenplay, "Another Thin Man." The results were the same, and not helped by the numerous confusing episodic scenes -- described in one sentence each -- that punctuate the last half of the work. (I am still not sure if they were intended to be a potpourri of successive episodes or if they were outlines of ideas to be fleshed out by subsequent writers and the film director.)

This was a project worth considering, and seems to have been enjoyed by many other readers and listeners. Fans of popular culture will appreciate the chance to compare the screenplays with the final versions of the movies that came from them. However, as read aloud, the bare screenplays did not contain enough description to hold my interest. What's more, the main character -- the supposedly tough but urbane "Nick" comes across (in the audio version) as a sardonic, snobbish lush who speaks in annoyingly prissy tones. By the middle of the series, I was strongly in favor of him being the next victim of murder. I am glad that others enjoyed the audio version, but I did not, despite my best efforts. ( )
2 vote danielx | Sep 24, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Overall, I enjoyed this audio book based on the recent book collecting the script and story work Dashiell Hammett did for the later entries in the Thin Man movie series.
This is another book I’ve received as part of Librarything.com’s Early Reader program.
Once the first movie was a hit, the studio paid Hammett for story and script work on the next three movies. This presents those stories based on his original work before any changes were made for the final film. In addition to the story treatment for After the Thin Man, this set has readings of the story treatment to Another Thin Man and a brief bit of story work that is just called a sequel to The Thin Man.
While it’s too bad there aren’t any more Nick and Nora Charles novels, it’s great to see these final pieces of Hammett’s work.
Hammett’s style and writing chops are evident and the stories are quite fun to listen to. Hammett is constrained by the studio’s requirements and these aren’t Hammett at his best, but they do read well and the Hammett touch is evident, even if these are not actually full developed novellas.
There’s also a great deal of detailed information on the scripting process of the movies, what was going on with Hammett at the time and his battles with the studio.
One problem I have is that this presented as the first publication of this material. However, the After The Thin Man script was already published in two issues of the Black Mask revival. At least one of the co-editors here knew this as Richard Layman co-edited those issues and his introduction is copied directly from them.
Overall, the audio work here is quite good. This is a full-cast recording with a number of good performances, particularly in the supporting cast.
I did have a slight problem with Peter Ganim’s interpretation of Nick Charles.
Charles is a difficult character to bring to life. He’s witty and urbane, snide and sarcastic, yet gets along with people from all walks of life. He’s comfortable in both high society and low dives. He’s clever, yet tough.
It’s been years since I’ve seen the original Thin Man movie, but I recall William Powell being quite good at finding the balance between witty and tough. Ganim is less successful. His Nick Charles is a bit fey, his performance is not masculine or tough enough for a Hammett leading character.
Similarly, Nicola Barber as Nora Charles is a bit weak. She just doesn’t have the moxie that made Myrna Loy a perfect foil for Powell.
This is a “reading” rather than a play. Most of the time this doesn’t matter, but occasionally the stage directions become distracting. As an example, there’s a spot where one of the supporting characters laughs, then the stage directions are read telling us that the man laughs. While it’s true to Hammett’s original writing, it’s a bit distracting when trying to listen to it as a story.
  haiirouchuujin | Aug 12, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Hmmm. This might have worked better for me in book form instead of audio. But I may just be too picky; it's happened before with audiobooks.

William Powell and Myrna Loy are somewhat ingrained onto my eardrums as the "right" voices for Nick and Nora; this put the actors playing them at a disadvantage. I appreciated the full cast approach, although some seemed too over-the-top and were distracting.

As to be expected, the stories were entertaining and witty. The interactions between Nora's family and Nick in the first story were particularly amusing. ( )
1 vote Sarahsponda | Feb 23, 2013 |
Dashiell Hammett's screenplays for the two films, After the Thin Man and Another Thin Man. Witty, charming, and you can easily see the movies in your head, well worth the read. ( )
  phoenixcomet | Feb 19, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received The Return of the Thin Man as an Early Reviewer Book in audio book form. The Return of the Thin Man is a newly released book that contains two stories and a sketch. The first, After the Thin Man, takes place immediately following The Thin Man and the second, Another Thin Man, takes place a few years later. Both were written by Dashiell Hammett as screen plays, sequels to the widely popular 1934 movie starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. The sketch is an 8 page summary of another Thin Man movie idea. By then, both Hammett and the screen writers were tired of the series and wanted to end it.
The book includes a lengthy description of the creation of the Thin Man series, Hammett’s life, and the relationship Hammett had with the producer of the movies and the movie company. I found the history very interesting and it served to make the stories more enjoyable.
The two stories contain the same intricate plots that Hammett is famous for, but his style of wording is lost in the loose screen play format. The audio version uses various actors complete with accents and so it sounds like a radio program with narration.
I enjoyed listening to the book very much. I loved the witty interplay between Nick and Nora so much that I borrowed the whole set of movies from the local library so that I could see Hammett’s characterizations played out by the well cast couple. ( )
2 vote joyceBl | Jan 23, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dashiell Hammettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Layman, RichardEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rivett, Julie M.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A train whistle sounds as the Chief arrives slowly in the Santa Fe Station in San Francisco.
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After the Thin Man -- Nick and Nora investigate a love triangle gone wrong after a dead man is discovered at their door. Another Thin Man-- After a wealthy business partner of Nora's father's is murdered, Nick and Nora's investigation brings them into the killer's crosshairs.… (more)

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