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 Post subject: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:43 pm 
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Let’s talk about the minor male characters…..

Herbert MacCaulay

Gilbert Wynant

Chris Jorgensen

Harrison Quinn

Shep Morelli

Arthur Nunheim

Lieutenant Guild



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:30 pm 
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Hmmm. The guys....
I know they were all thrown in there to be potential suspects.

MacCaulay was the friendly guy with all the answers.
Gilbert was strange, but so was everyone in that family. I did find his interest in cannibalism and other such topics distubing.

Jorgenson was difficult to get a handle on because his presence added another twist to the plot.

Guild, like most coppers in those books and movies, always had to rely on the Nick to explain the case. Difficult to understand how all those guys got their jobs, when they could never solve a crime on their own.

The other three aren't ringing a bell, so I guess I wasn't that impressed with them.

Maybe someone with a better memory than mine will chime in soon.


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:38 pm 
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SnoopyDances wrote:
Hmmm. The guys....
Guild, like most coppers in those books and movies, always had to rely on the Nick to explain the case. Difficult to understand how all those guys got their jobs, when they could never solve a crime on their own.

I have a feeling that was the attitude of the Pinkerton guys.

Nunheim was the guy who's girlfriend threw a frying pan at him. He got knocked off shortly after his escape from the apartment. Shep Morelli shot Nick. He was also a former boyfriend of the murder victim. Quinn was the married guy after Dorothy.



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:43 pm 
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Liz wrote:
I have a feeling that was the attitude of the Pinkerton guys.

Nunheim was the guy who's girlfriend threw a frying pan at him. He got knocked off shortly after his escape from the apartment. Shep Morelli shot Nick. He was also a former boyfriend of the murder victim. Quinn was the married guy after Dorothy.

Doh!
The guy with frying pan! Right! Yep, he wasn't long for this world. There always has to be more than one murder in these things. Just when you or the cops think they have the right guy, he gets whacked.

I remember Morelli now. Still a bit of a minor character. I never really thought of him as a suspect.

Quinn, I thought was a waste of good ink. Didn't think his presence was necessary. That family didn't need any more help in the dysfunctional realm.


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:35 am 
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SnoopyDances,

Did you watch the movie? I found the men the most interesting. I can't say more here about this because we will have a question about the movie and the differences between it an the book.

If any of you don't want to buy the movie, it is available in libraries (at least mine). Unfortunately, it was checked out and I couldn't get it in time. I found that in itself interesting.



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:01 am 
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Liz wrote:
SnoopyDances,

Did you watch the movie? I found the men the most interesting. I can't say more here about this because we will have a question about the movie and the differences between it an the book.

If any of you don't want to buy the movie, it is available in libraries (at least mine). Unfortunately, it was checked out and I couldn't get it in time. I found that in itself interesting.

I've seen the movie, but it has been a while. I did remember who dunit, though. ;)

I just thought the family and Nick/Nora were more interesting than the others. Sometimes a book or a movie just has too many characters or sidebars to keep track of. In a murder mystery, I try to keep track of the main folks.

TCM showed After the Thin Man yesterday and I was able to watch that. I've seen all the movies at one time or another. :ok:


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:51 am 
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I had a hard time keeping up with some of the minor characters because there were so many characters, period! Most of the more minor male characters seemed stereotyped for the times and the story. However, my comment is made in hindsight from a much later period in time.



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:56 am 
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Liz wrote:
SnoopyDances,

Did you watch the movie? I found the men the most interesting. I can't say more here about this because we will have a question about the movie and the differences between it an the book.

If any of you don't want to buy the movie, it is available in libraries (at least mine). Unfortunately, it was checked out and I couldn't get it in time. I found that in itself interesting.

I think we have noticed in the past that whatever is selected for ONBC seems to be selling well or show up as a suggestion on Amazon.com - ;) Perhaps we underestimate our power.


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:00 pm 
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A lot of the more minor characters just sort of blended in a haze of confusion for me. I did write a lot of notes in the margins of my book, but I think in hindsight making a list of characters would have helped me more.

Jorgensen reminded me of Fabio. :lol: But I think I really saw him as Johnny's surfer character in Sponge Bob. Not sure why Hammett's description gave me such a strong visual of him, and not at all like the movie portrayed him.

Gilbert fascinated me. I found him to be one of the most interesting characters in the book and I would have loved to see him developed more and have a bigger role in the story.


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:42 pm 
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I never formed any impression at all of Jorgensen; even when he was in the scene he didn't seem to be really there. He seemed like an afterthought, maybe added in to complicate the plot.

Gilbert's portrayal was odd ... at times he was the very immature adolescent, and at others straightforward. I thought that was odd, since Hammett had Nick marry Nora when she was only a year older. Maybe as a man, he is more condescending to a young man than to a young woman.

I liked Morelli -- a good stock character, the crook who respects the private detective since they both know the score.

Nunheim, I was surprised to learn was only 5'3" -- that description came late in the book, almost at the end, and I wondered why, since if Macaulay had killed him he would know that. Nick must have said it to him for a reason which I can't figure out.



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:34 pm 
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It was very interesting that there were so many characters and that Hammett took the time to develop them so they became vignettes, little tales within tales. My favorite is Shep Morelli because I felt Hammett was really finally rolling in his description of this guy, the incredible detail of the Pigiron Club (Chapter 22), the customers that came and went, making all sorts of relevant and spurious comments. Very alive dialogue. Shep apologizes for shooting Nick and Nora says "It was fun." He looked at her suspiciously." For me this is the center of the book, where the story finally came alive in a way that I wanted to be present and watch what happened. You get such a wonderful picture of a place and time and also a deepening sense of what the story was about. Morelli was a good guy for me, impulsive and violent at the core but also strangely kind and gentle.



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:35 pm 
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In all detective stories there have to be plenty of red herrings to throw off the reader and Hammett I think did a great job with the men (and women) he cast in the book. Harrison Quinn was perhaps the only exception, because his purpose I believe is to further illustrate Dorothy as either a vulnerable child-woman or a conniving shrew (and therefore capable of murder) and Hammett leaves it to the reader to make a decision on which throughout much of the book.

All the other men give us suspects to ponder. Gilbert is so weird, we're not sure if he did it or just wants to date his sister. Morelli obviously could do the deed, but he's not a cold-blooded killer he's the kind of guy that would have to be provoked and usually people who have to be provoked into killing don't plan for the aftermath (as obviously Julia's/Wynant's killer did) and so get caught fairly easily. Jorgensen would only have had to kill Julia, if he was in on helping her swindle Wynant and he and Julia had some kind of falling out; but even then he wouldn't want the blame to fall on Wynant because that would be killing the golden goose. Nunheim's a stool-pidgeon and therefore likely not to be the killer, so we know he knows something that will lead us to the killer; so of course he has to be dealt with by the killer. Lieutenant Guild, is a descent copper, he's not a thinking-man's sleuth like Nick, but he's good at basic old-fashioned police work and so makes a fair ally for Nick's hunches because he has the authority to follow through on them and besides he has a crush on Nora that's just fun read. Overtime, everything begins to crystallize around Herbert MacCaulay, the one guy who always has some news about Wynant when no one else does. This is what I like about mysteries it like reading an onion. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:17 pm 
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Sponge Bob, eh? That’s an interesting one. I did not have a visual for Jorgensen. But when I saw him in the movie…..it was yeah, that’s exactly how I saw him. Sorry, I shouldn’t bring up the movie yet.

I’m with Firefly on Morelli. For me, he was a twist on what I view as a gangster type. A little bit more vulnerable that how I view them.

I did note that Nunheim was short although I totally missed the ages of Nick and Nora. As usual, I pay more attention as I get further into a book.

MacCaulay didn’t seem to have much character to me. Maybe that was purposeful. A non-character who fades into the background but ends up being more important.

Not sure how I feel about Quinn. Thanks for explaining his reason for being, Boo.

Lt. Guild seemed like a typical cop who is inept compared to the PI.

Gilbert was definitely a weird one, and my favorite character next to Nick. He was colorful.



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:30 am 
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Quote:
Gilbert is so weird, we're not sure if he did it or just wants to date his sister.
:rotflmao:
I actually think that part of Gilbert's "weirdness" was designed to make him seem like what we consider a geek these days - very brainy with "peculiar" social skills. He's his father's son - written in part to confirm the "intelligence" that runs in the family, perhaps?
I, too, like Morelli - a nice take on the gangster with a heart of gold.


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #6 - The Men
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:53 pm 
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Boo, you should write a book!

Very nice observations all around, Noodlemantras.

The rich were fun to read about, a peek into their world. I think the large cast of characters would have appealed to the readers as many were everyday types they could relate to.



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