Thin man, 3rd case

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German title Thin man, 3rd case
Original title Another thin man
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1939
length 98 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director WS Van Dyke
script Frances Goodrich ,
Albert Hackett
production Hunt Stromberg
for MGM
music Edward Ward
camera Oliver T. Marsh ,
William H. Daniels
cut Fredrick Y. Smith

←  Predecessor
Thin Man, 2nd case

Successor  →
The Shadow of the Thin Man

Thin man, 3rd case (alternative title: Another thin man ) is an American crime comedy by WS Van Dyke from 1939. It is the third part of the thin man film series, which was based on the work of Dashiell Hammett and includes six films.


Nick and Nora Charles have been parents to little Nicki for almost a year. After a trip across the USA via Boston , they actually only want to spend a quiet hotel stay, but Nora's uncle, Colonel MacFay, invites them to Long Island for the weekend . While Nick suspects that the Colonel wants to have his tax return done again, the situation is more serious. The Colonel has lived in constant fear of his former colleague Phil Church for some time. He had to go to prison for illegal machinations of the Colonel and now wants a high compensation for the injustice he has suffered, which the Colonel does not intend to pay. Now Phil threatens to kill the Colonel.

On the first night of their stay in the Colonel's villa, events came thick and fast: The dog of MacFay's adopted daughter Lois was murdered, the cubicles by the swimming pool were suddenly in flames and finally the Colonel was actually shot. In search of the murder weapon, which Asta suddenly discovers as a toy, Nick is visited by the panicked Lois, who sees herself being followed by her fiancé Dudley Horn, who is shooting at Nick. The called police shoot Dudley in self-defense .

The next morning brings great newspaper interest in the case and visits by investigating officer Van Slack to Nick. He begins with investigations, since he visited the night before the assassination of Colonel Phil Church, who lives with his girlfriend Smitty and the seedy Dum-Dum in a nearby villa and was shadowed by "Diamond Back" Vogel, who is himself in turn passed Nick off as a police officer. The New York police found Smitty in the city, although she, like Phil and Dum-Dum, indicated the day before that she wanted to go to Cuba. The visit of the police and Nick to her leads to a fight between Smitty and the incoming bird and brings to light a cigarette letter from the West Indies Club, which Nick finds in Phil's coat, which he left with Smitty. In the club he meets his wife, Dum-Dum and a friend of Phils, who all too eagerly explains that Phil is with a certain Linda Mills and was at the club last night, so he could not have committed a murder. While he was still explaining, he was knocked down by Dum-Dum and chaos broke out in the club.

Nick goes to Linda's apartment, where he discovers a bullet hole in the wall and scorch marks on the carpet. A short time later, he is almost shot by two shady men, but the police are there on time. Later in the hotel there is a little baby party that former inmates convicted by Nick give with their babies for Nicki, who is celebrating his first birthday. A heavy boy even comes with a loan baby that he has already fed with beer as a precaution. The party is abruptly interrupted when Phil Church shows up and announces that Nick will be dead soon if he doesn't leave. A short time later, Phil is shot and the former felons storm out of the hotel apartment with their babies out of fear of the police.

Eventually the suspects gather at the hotel. Nick demonstrates how a pistol can go off in five minutes without anyone moving the tap. It turns out that the trick had already been rehearsed in Linda Mills' apartment, which left the scorch marks on the floor. Whoever murdered the Colonel could get an alibi within five minutes of the Colonel's actual murder. The only one who took advantage of this was his adopted daughter Lois MacFay aka Linda Mills.

Lois was with Phil Church, who was trying to raise suspicion of murder. Since he had a watertight alibi, which was only known to his friend in the bar, he could have subsequently proven his innocence if convicted of murder. Again, since no one can be punished twice for a murder, he would have ended up unpunished as the organizer of the crime. Lois, in turn, implemented Phil Church's plans. Her dog was killed by Phil Church; he made no sound, knowing Phil. The dog murder, in turn, distracted from Lois' complicity. Dudley Horn suspected that Lois had murdered the Colonel and wanted to protect her. He would have even been happy with the murder of Nick - Lois, who feared that Horn would betray her to Nick, speculated that the panicked Horn would be shot by Nick or the police officers in self-defense. She murdered her father because she wanted to get hold of the inheritance sooner, so that she could finally give up her double life as Linda Mills and Lois MacFay and no longer have to sneak out of the house at parties. Phil Church, in turn, had to die because he had found a new lover in Smitty after the Colonel's death and has since blackmailed Lois with his knowledge.

Lois tries one last coup: the infant who was left behind when the fathers flew with their children is not Nicki, but another child. She promises to release Nicki if she can go free. Before Nick can respond to this suggestion, the angry mother of the swapped child appears with Nicki to bring her own child back. It was not a kidnapping, just a mistake for the loan father who is contrite. Lois is arrested and Nick and Nora are happy that they finally got through the weekend that was intended as relaxation.


The film was shot in California and premiered on November 17, 1939. It was the eighth of 14 films in which Myrna Loy and William Powell appeared together in front of the camera. The German TV premiere ran on June 30, 1969 on ZDF .


For the Lexicon of International Films , Thin Man, Part 3 was a "less original, but still nicely entertaining sequel film".

The Protestant film observer drew the following conclusion: “Solid Hollywood pre-war work, but only in terms of craftsmanship. Overall uninteresting, as chatty instead of exciting, hopelessly overtaken by the milieu drawing and pointless despite many jokes. "

Thin Man (film series)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Klaus Brühne (Ed.): Lexicon of International Films . Volume 2. Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1990, p. 779.
  2. ^ Editor: Evangelischer Presseverband München, Critique No. 301/1969, p. 298.