The kind folks at Warner Archive have sent me almost every blu-ray they’re putting out this month, I talked about their wonderful new restored disc of 1932’s “Doctor X” two weeks ago. This week I have three movies from them all making their HD debuts in brand new scans. From 1939 we have MGM’s “Another Thin Man,” the third film in the popular series of “Thin Man” movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as everyone’s favorite pair of cocktail-loving sleuths. A year ahead, also from MGM, is the dazzling “Broadway Melody of 1940” with Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire, featuring some truly fantastic feet-work. Lastly, we have 1990’s “Quick Change” which to date is the only movie ever co-directed by the great Bill Murray.
I absolutely adore the “Thin Man” series of movies that MGM made, the pairing of William Powell and Myrna Loy in 1934’s “The Thin Man”—taken from a novel by Dashiell Hammett—was inspired casting. The pair were perfect together as Nick and Nora Charles, Nick a retired detective ready to enjoy the high society life his new bride Nora comes from, and the both of them ready to turn up at any and all cocktail parties. The comedy-mystery films were a huge hit with audiences, lasting for a franchise of six films spanning up to 1947.
When WA put out the first film on blu-ray last year, there were immediate hopes the others would follow, and so far they’re making good on that by having the second film out towards the end of last year, and now the third film in the series “Another Thin Man.” The title not only a play on it is yet another film in the series, but also points to Nick and Nora are now parents with a little one.
Nick and Nora are looking forward to spending some time in NYC with their little one when an industrialist who worked with Nora’s father calls and tells them he’s terrified that someone is out to kill him. He begs them to come out to his Long Island home, they do, and not too long after someone murders the old man. Nick even finds himself among the suspects by a too eager police force ready to pin it on anyone and everyone who was in the estate when the murder happened.
The film is a great deal of fun and a solid entry in the beloved franchise. Warner Archive’s new blu-ray is a 1080p transfer, sourced from a new 4K scan of the best surviving preservation elements. It looks absolutely fantastic! I’ve seen this movie many times over the years, on TV, DVD, even LaserDisc, and simply put it’s never looked as good as it does here. The black and white are sumptuous with a delicious silvery overtone that just makes every frame sparkle. Extras were ported over from the DVD release, the trailer, a period short subject, and cartoon. For fans of the series, this is a must-own.
“Broadway Melody of 1940” is a dazzling MGM musical, the fourth and final “Broadway Melody” film the studio made. Featuring songs by Cole Porter the movie’s plot has some little touches of watch Astaire would do two years later in Paramount’s “Holiday Inn.” He and his dance partner, George Murphy, are looking for a career breakthrough, but a mix-up sends George to the stage instead of Astaire, who the scouting broadway producer had his eye on.
This movie is a great time for all, but the stand-out is the dance sequence set to “Begin the Beguine.” This number done on a mirrored set is one of the most dazzling sequences you could ever hope to see in your life. I sat that simply amazed by the artistry, both on-screen and off, as Never once does the mirrored background ever show a hint of crew or camera. A dazzling sequence that makes this one a treat for anybody. The blu-ray is taken from a new 4K scan of Nitrate preservation elements, it’s another winner, looking the best the film has had since perhaps it was first seen in theaters. Bonus features from the DVD were ported over, including a delightful look at the film hosted by Ann Miller.
Did you know Bill Murray co-produced and co-directed a movie in 1990? I didn’t and it wasn’t till that movie, “Quick Change” showed up as coming soon from Warner Archive did I have a clue about it. Geena Davis and Randy Quaid co-star in the movie along with Murray, who plays a frazzled New Yorker who schemes to rob a bank dressed as a clown, with Davis and Quaid as his cohorts. The trio pulls the heist off, but they find the hardest part of their plan is getting to the airport to get out of the metropolis and away with their loot. Jason Robards also stars in the film as the police chief out to catch the crooks and along the way you see a very early in their careers Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub in very funny bit parts.
“Quick Change” is a very funny and very Bill Murray sensibility movie. The new blu-ray looks great, in keeping with the look of films made in the time, the picture is a little grain heavy, but it looks natural and not forced. If you’re a fan of Murray, this is another must-have. The only extra is the trailer, but for a deep cut to wind up on blu-ray, that’s the prize in and of itself.
These three are great additions to the Warner Archive Collection, which continues to produce impressive blu-ray releases. All three titles are worth your time, and I hope you’ll check them out and add them to your library soon. I was delighted by each of them, and what a treat it was to discover a new to me Bill Murray movie. See you next week.