34 user 28 critic

Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)

Passed | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | November 1941 (USA)
Nick and Nora are at their wisecracking best as they investigate murder and racketeering at a local race track.


W.S. Van Dyke (as Maj. W.S. Van Dyke II)


Irving Brecher (screen play), Harry Kurnitz (screen play) | 2 more credits »
4,266 ( 21,805)


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A scatterbrained socialite hires a vagrant as a family butler - but there's more to Godfrey than meets the eye.

Director: Gregory La Cava
Stars: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady


Complete credited cast:
William Powell ... Nick Charles
Myrna Loy ... Nora Charles
Barry Nelson ... Paul Clarke
Donna Reed ... Molly Ford
Sam Levene ... Police Lt. Abrams
Alan Baxter ... 'Whitey' Barrow
Henry O'Neill ... Maj. Jason I. Sculley
Richard Hall ... Nick Charles Jr. (as Dickie Hall)
Stella Adler ... Claire Porter
Loring Smith Loring Smith ... 'Link' Stephens
Joseph Anthony Joseph Anthony ... Fred Macy
Lou Lubin ... 'Rainbow' Benny Lumis
Louise Beavers ... Stella
Asta ... Asta


Nick and Nora's hopes for a pleasant afternoon at the local race track are dashed when a jockey is found shot dead in the locker room. Nick's friend Lt. Abrams wants him to help out but Nick is enjoying the good life too much to get involved. However, he is subsequently approached by Major Scully to look into corruption and the role of organized crime in gambling. Others are killed but in the end, Nick gathers all of the suspects into a room and identifies the killer. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The first Thin Man picture in 2 years - And it's a honey! See more »


Comedy | Crime | Mystery


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

November 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L'ombra dell'uomo ombra See more »


Box Office


$821,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The backdrop footage behind Nick and Nora after leaving the Bay Bridge traveling to the racetrack is authentic and rather historical, as one reared in the Bay Area can testify. They are driving the then new East Shore Highway, now known as the East Shore Freeway, formerly US40 now I-80. See more »


When Nick visits the apartment of Clair Porter, they're seated at a small table, with a centerpiece of flowers floating in water. Nick is smoking a cigarette. The cigarette has burned down to a very short length. Then, as he gets up, the cigarette is seen to be almost a full length cigarette. See more »


Estrellita: Ma'am, did he hear that or did he smell it?
Nora Charles: That's Mr. Charles, isn't it?
Estrellita: Yes'm.
Nora Charles: This is a cocktail, isn't it?
Estrellita: Yes'm.
Nora Charles: They'll get together.
See more »


Followed by Song of the Thin Man (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

"And I haven't killed a jockey in weeks - really."
16 July 2007 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

When the creators of the original 'The Thin Man' film released their hilarious movie back in 1934, they could never have realised what a successful formula they were using! Produced seven years later, using basically the same ingredients as the original, the fourth edition to the six-part series – 'Shadow of the Thin Man' – still feels as fresh and witty as ever, even surpassing its direct predecessor in terms of wit and mystery. Just as in'Another Thin Man,' there is perhaps a little more murder-mystery and a little less comedy in this installment, but this was a necessary decision in order to reach a fine balance, since, as we know from most comedic sequels, some jokes can get old pretty fast. Fortunately, of course, this is not the case for these movies, and 'Shadow of the Thin Man' still packs a deadly punch, perhaps due to the flawless chemistry of its leads and the return, once again, of the original director, W.S. Van Dyke (credited here as Maj. W.S. Van Dyke II), just two years before his suicide.

A few years after the previous film left off, Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) are living happily with their growing son, Nick Jr. (young Richard "Dickie" Hall, in his debut). Nick suddenly becomes involved in a murder investigation when the dead body of a corrupt jockey is found in the showers at the racetrack. The murders don't stop there, either, and there is a range of suspicious and nefarious characters who could have orchestrated the deaths. With his ultra-enthusiastic wife at his heels, and the playful Asta the dog by his side, Nick must get to the root of the mystery before a good friend of his, newspaper reporter, Paul (Barry Nelson, also in his debut), is convicted of murder. Rounding out a decent supporting cast are Donna Reed (in only her second film, and five years prior to Frank Capra's 'It's A Wonderful Life'), Sam Levene (reprising his role as the incompetent Lieutenant Abrams), Alan Baxter, Henry O'Neill, Stella Adler, Loring Smith, Joseph Anthony and Lou Lubin.

It is Nick Charles' philosophy that if you lock a bunch of murder suspects in the same room, eventually somebody like slip up and give themselves away. Once again, this law proves the villain's ultimate undoing, and I'll confess that never in a million years would I have suspected the actual murderer! The screenplay was written by Irving Brecher and Harry Kurnitz, both new to the franchise, and the murder-plot is noticeably less twisted and convoluted than previously, allowing for enjoyable viewing that doesn't require the viewer to strain their mind quite so much. Nonetheless, it is always fascinating to see how all the pieces fall neatly into place, and how one seemingly-minor clue can prove the most significant evidence of all.

Though present only during the early part of the film, young Nick Jr. – at about four years of age – allows for some excellent comedic gags. The film opens with Nick Charles and his son walking through the park, with the former offering to recite a fantastic fairy-tale that's never been heard before, only to clumsily make one up based on the horse-racing schedule he's reading. In order to coax Nick back to the house for a meal, Myrna begins using the cocktail shaker, prompting her husband – far, far away – to suddenly decide: "Nicky, something tells me that something important is happening somewhere and I think we should be there." Another particularly entertaining sequence involves Asta the dog, and how he single-handedly initiates a heated brawl between every single patron of a restaurant. Despite this being their fourth "Thin Man" mystery together, the chemistry between the two leads remains incredibly potent, and I can't help looking forward to their next great adventure.

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