The Thin Man works because of the chemistry between stars William Powell and Myrna Loy, and because screenwriters Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich had the good sense to transfer Dashiell Hammett's source novel to the screen without substantial alterations to the story. Planned by MGM as a lower-profile release, the film nonetheless featured first-rate talent in front of and behind the camera, including director W.S. Van Dyke, cinematographer James Wong Howe, art director Cedric Gibbons, and sound engineer Douglas Shearer. Shearer's role was of substantial importance in naturalistically capturing the casual banter of the stars and creating the film's atmosphere of sophistication and wit. The supporting cast features consistently good performances, with Maureen O'Sullivan the standout. Unlike many MGM films of the 1930s, the production design is understated, as the stars and the screenplay take center stage. Surprisingly popular at the box office, The Thin Man was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture.