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Nick Charles (William Powell) has once been a private detective, but he
has given up his job long ago to get perpetually drunk at the side of his
rich wife Nora (Myrna Loy). And when a friend of his, Dorothy Wynant
(Maureen O'Sullivan) asks him to investigate the disappearance of her
father (William Henry), he's less than interested. Thing is though,
everybody else thinks he's on the case by mere association, and when
finally a murder - the girlfriend (Natalie Moorhead) of the missing man -
happens, Nick does get sucked into the case pretty much against his will
... especially when Dorothy insists on confessing to the murder though
it's quite obvious she didn't do it (and it's later revealed that she
believed her father was the killer and wanted to protect him).
a second murder happens, a shady guy (Harold Huber) who was obviously a
witness to the first murder, and before you know it, Wynant is the prime
suspect in both cases, especially since he still remains on the loose.
Nick comes up with the idea to search Wynant's shop, and wouldn't you know
it, he finds a skeleton, which everybody believes to be the body of
Wynant's arch enemy, but Nick has other ideas.
In the finale, Nick, Nora
and Nick's friend police Lt Guild (Nat Pendleton) come up with the idea to
invite all the suspects in the case (minus Wynant) to a dinner, including
of course Dorothy, her money-grabbing mother (Minna Gombell), mum's shady
second husband (Cesar Romero), Wynant's deceased girlfriend's other
boyfriend (Edwaqrd Brophy), Wynant's bookkeeper with a criminal past
(Cyril Thornton), and of course Wynant's lawyer MacCauley (Porter Hall) -
and once they are all here, Nick makes a decisive revelation: The skeleton
found in Wynant's shop was actually Wynant himself, and with him dead, the
murderer must be one of those around the dinner table ... and Nick
eventually reveals the killer to be MacCauley, who wanted to get his hands
on Wynant's money. Instead though, he gets his just desserts ...
of the funniest murder mysteries ever: The point here is that this film
never takes its basic whodunnit storyline any less than seriously, but
dresses it up with an interesting ensemble cast, an unlikely drunk in the
lead, clever oneliners and snappy dialogue, and of course the undeniable
on-screen chemistry between Myrna Loy and William Powell. Also, the film
is paced just right to never let the funny scenesw hijack the serious plot
or vice versa. That the story this film is based on also doesn't suck
doesn'T hurt one bit neither.