The Thomas Crown Affair (1968 film)

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The Thomas Crown Affair
Crown A.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Jewison
Produced byNorman Jewison
Written byAlan R. Trustman
StarringSteve McQueen
Faye Dunaway
Paul Burke
Jack Weston
Music byMichel Legrand
CinematographyHaskell Wexler
Edited byHal Ashby
Ralph E. Winters
Byron Brandt
Production
company
The Mirisch Corporation
Simkoe
Solar Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release dates
  • June 19, 1968 (1968-06-19)
Running time102 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$4.3 million[1]
Box office$14,000,000[2]
 
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The Thomas Crown Affair
Crown A.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Jewison
Produced byNorman Jewison
Written byAlan R. Trustman
StarringSteve McQueen
Faye Dunaway
Paul Burke
Jack Weston
Music byMichel Legrand
CinematographyHaskell Wexler
Edited byHal Ashby
Ralph E. Winters
Byron Brandt
Production
company
The Mirisch Corporation
Simkoe
Solar Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release dates
  • June 19, 1968 (1968-06-19)
Running time102 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$4.3 million[1]
Box office$14,000,000[2]

The Thomas Crown Affair is a DeLuxe Color 1968 film directed and produced by Norman Jewison starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, winning Best Original Song for Michel Legrand's "Windmills of Your Mind". A remake was released in 1999.

Plot[edit]

Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen), a millionaire businessman and sportsman, pulls off a perfect crime by having five men rob $2,660,527.62 from a Boston bank and dump the money in a cemetery trash can. Thomas never meets any of the five face-to-face, before or after the crime, and they do not know each other. He retrieves the money and deposits it anonymously at a bank in Geneva.

Vicki Anderson (Faye Dunaway), an independent insurance investigator, is contracted to investigate the heist and will receive a percentage of the stolen money if she recovers it. When Thomas comes to her attention as a possible suspect, she intuitively recognizes him as the mastermind behind the robbery.

Thomas does not need the money, and in fact masterminded the robbery as a diversion of sorts. He plays polo and golf, flies a glider, and drives a dune buggy but suffers from general boredom. Vicki makes it clear to him that she knows that he is the thief and that she intends to prove it. They start a game of cat and mouse, with the attraction between them evident, and their relationship soon evolves into an affair, complicated by Vicki's vow to find the money and help Detective Eddie Malone (Paul Burke) bring the guilty party to justice.

A reward offer entices the wife of the bank robbery's getaway driver, Erwin Weaver (Jack Weston), to "fink" on him. Vicki finds out that he was hired by a man he never saw, but whose voice he heard. She tries putting Erwin in the same room as Thomas, but there is no hint of recognition on either one's part. However, Vicki is clearly closing in on Thomas.

Thomas organizes another robbery exactly like the first with different accomplices and tells Vicki where the "drop" will be, because he has to know for sure that she is on his side. The robbery is successful, but there are gunshots and the viewer is left with the impression that people might have been killed, raising the stakes for Vicki's decision.

Vicki and the police stake out the cemetery, where they watch one of the robbers make the drop, and wait for Thomas to show up so they can arrest him, but when his Rolls Royce arrives, she sees that Thomas has sent a messenger in his place, with a telegram asking her to bring the money and join him — or else keep the Rolls Royce as a gift. She tears the telegram to bits and throws the pieces to the wind, looking up at the sky with tears in her eyes. Crown flies away in a jet.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The use of split screens to show simultaneous actions was inspired by the breakthrough Expo 67 films In the Labyrinth and A Place to Stand, that latter of which pioneered the use of Christopher Chapman's "multi-dynamic image technique", images shifting on moving panes.[3][4] Steve McQueen was on hand for an advance screening of A Place to Stand in Hollywood and personally told Chapman he was highly impressed; the following year, Norman Jewison had incorporated the technique into the film, inserting the scenes into the already finished product.[4]

The film also features a chess scene, with McQueen and Dunaway playing a game of chess, silently flirting with each other.[5] The photography is unusual for a mainstream Hollywood film, using a split-screen mode. McQueen undertook his own stunts (playing polo) and driving a dune buggy at high speed along the Massachusetts coastline.[6] This was similar to his starring role in the movie Bullitt, released a few months afterwards, in which he drove a Ford Mustang through San Francisco at more than 100 mph. In an interview, McQueen would later say this was his favorite film.

The car driven by Dunaway, referred to as "one of those red Italian things," is the first of only ten Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyders built.[6] Today, this model is one of the most valuable Ferrari road cars of all time. McQueen liked the car very much, and eventually managed to acquire one for himself. The dune buggy was a Meyers Manx, built in California on a VW beetle floor pan with a hopped-up Corvair engine. McQueen owned one, and the Manx, the original "dune buggy", was often copied. Crown's Rolls Royce carried Mass. vanity license tag "TC 100" for the film.

Sean Connery had been the original choice for the title role but did not accept —a decision he later regretted.[7]

Filming locations[edit]

The film was filmed primarily on location in Boston and surrounding areas in Massachusetts and New Hampshire:

Other locations included:

Reception[edit]

The film was moderately successful at the box office, grossing $14 million on a $4.3 million budget.[2] Reviews at the time were mixed. The chemistry between McQueen and Dunaway and Norman Jewison's stylish direction were praised, but the plotting and writing were considered rather thin. Roger Ebert gave it 212 stars out of four and called it "possibly the most under-plotted, underwritten, over-photographed film of the year. Which is not to say it isn't great to look at. It is."[10] Despite its tepid reaction, it has since become a cult film and inspired a 1999 remake starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.

The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Windmills of Your Mind" by Michel Legrand (music), Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman (lyrics). It was also nominated for Original Music Score for Legrand's score.

Remake[edit]

The 1999 remake stars Pierce Brosnan as Crown, Rene Russo as the insurance investigator, and Denis Leary as the detective. The original film's co-star Faye Dunaway also appears as Crown's therapist.

This version is different from the original in that it is set in New York rather than Boston and the robbery is of a priceless painting instead of cash, amongst other story line differences.

References [edit]

  1. ^ Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company The Changed the Film Industry, Uni of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p 187
  2. ^ a b "The Thomas Crown Affair, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ Atherton, Tony (2000-07-10). "When camera and gun collide". Ottawa Citizen. pp. D7. 
  4. ^ a b Scrivener, Leslie (2007-04-22). "Forty years on, a song retains its standing". The Star (Toronto). 
  5. ^ Neil Fulwood (2003), One hundred sex scenes that changed cinema, p. 32, ISBN 978-0-7134-8858-6 
  6. ^ a b Stone, Matt (2007). McQueen's Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood Icon. Minneapolis, Minnesota: MBI Publishing Company. pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-0-7603-3895-7. 
  7. ^ Jaccarino, Mike (28 August 2011). "'Thomas Crown Affair' screenwriter Alan Trustman talks films, working with Steve McQueen". NY Daily News. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Movie-Locations.com
  9. ^ http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/N9860E.html
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (1968-08-27). "Thomas Crown Affair". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-06-04. 

External links[edit]