Friday, May 13, 2011


"Oh, Nicky, I love you because you know such lovely people."
-Nora Charles

I love Dashiell Hammett's writing. He created a whole new genre of fiction with the gritty private eye, and his books have endured to the point people are starting to finally recognize them as the literature they are.

One book that stands out is The Thin Man, which was made into a movie with the brilliant William Powell and Myrna Loy. Now a remake is being planned, with Johnny Depp as Nick Charles. Who is being planned for Nora is uncertain but she's such a great character, I expect they won't lack for interested actresses.

When I heard about this project I was worried. Sure, Johnny Depp is good casting, and he should pull off the part well, but what was the plan for the story? It turns out that they mean to keep it period - as it needs to be - set in the 30s. Unfortunately, the intent is to make it a "modern" 30s:
“It will be set in the '30s, but we'll do our own version of it,” says Marshall. “Like when I did a movie like 'Chicago', which is a period movie in the '20s, it's always nice to be able to see an era through modern eyes. I love period films, and I would never take something like 'The Thin Man' out of that era. It's the best era, you know: Speakeasies and martinis and murder.”
Yeah so, we'll have Nora as a partner who is a tougher fighter and smarter than Nick Charles, modern sensibilities all around, and the subtle play of characters and personalities screwed up by some writer who figures he knows better.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Incidentally: the thin man refers to someone other than Nick Charles, who is a pretty fit and big guy in the book,


Tina said...

Well, crumb. That's too bad. The insistence on "see[ing] an era through modern eyes" indicates a woeful lack of imagination.

Maybe someone could talk the Brits into doing it! They KNOW how to do a mystery.

Philip said...

To be fair, US general-audience movies have always been filmed through a filter of the then-current American culture. It's that now there's a less-common American culture and a bottom line drive to cater to both the industry, its backers, and a global market.

So yes - I expect the content to be adulterated. I suppose I should be at least thankful that it's not Nick and Norman Charles (with Martin Lawrence in the latter role).

Larry said...

Another movie that I refuse to see.
And yes, it is funny that six Thin Man movies were made, and Nick Charles was not the thin man.

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