Millionaire businessman Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) is also a high-stakes thief; his latest caper is an elaborate heist at a Boston bank. Why does he do it? For the same reason he flies gliders, bets on golf strokes, and ... more »races dune buggies: he needs the thrill to feel alive. Insurance investigator Vicky Anderson (Faye Dunaway) gets her own thrills by busting crooks, and she's got Crown in her cross hairs. Naturally, these two will get it on, because they have a lot in common: they're not people, they're walking clothes racks. (McQueen looks like he'd rather be in jeans than Crown's natty three-piece suits.) The Thomas Crown Affair is a catalog of '60s conventions, from its clipped editing style to its photographic trickery (the inventive Haskell Wexler behind the camera) to its mod design. You can almost sense director Norman Jewison deciding to "tell his story visually," like those newfangled European films; this would explain the long passages of Michel Legrand's lounge jazz ladled over endless montages of the pretty Dunaway and McQueen at play. (The opening-credits song, "Windmills of Your Mind," won an Oscar.) It's like a "What Kind of Man Reads Playboy?" ad come to life, and much more interesting as a cultural snapshot than a piece of storytelling. --Robert Horton« less
Larry N. from BEALETON, VA Reviewed on 5/19/2015...
Great movie! I hate to say much about it for fear of spoiling the movie. It's about the perfect crime, double-crossing, and being double-crossed. Watch it, you won't regret it.
Still Room For Improvement, Wake-Up!
John Sunyak | Brooklyn | 05/22/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"For some reason there remains a problem with the video quality of Thomas Crown Affair. What we are suppose to be seeing is a new transfer, ( I guess admitting that the prior version needed improvement) which in fact it did. This new transfer isn't quite what I was expecting, in fact it's uneven or should I say unbalanced which gives a uncomfortable viewing experience. Anyone who purchases this DVD version expecting the ultimate quality version is in for a big let-down. This DVD is offered with the wide screen/ full screen format. MGM appears to be looking in the rear view mirror. With Plasma/LCD quality, why is MGM wasting time with marginal quality standards. This Batch will end up in the bargin bin. Save your money and wait till next time."
A Stylishly Chic Affair to Remember
Christopher J. Jarmick | Seattle, Wa. USA | 12/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Even in 1968, audiences knew The Thomas Crown Affair was a film of style over substance. It had an interesting premise dreamt up by a Boston Lawyer who had never written a screenplay before-and there wasn't a lot of story or character development. It's the films' style and gimmicks which endeared it to audiences. And the coolest of the cool stars,Steve (I move like a panther) McQueen, on the planet teamed up with the fascinating mix of earthy sultriness and ice princess that is Faye Dunaway at her peak. So does this film hold up? Is it worth watching? The first half hour of the film - - the robbery is still an exciting, stylish, entertaining sequence that few films will top in terms of hipness. It's here the multiple screen gimmick works best. It's here that Hal Ashby's editing and Walter Hill's second unit work is most impressive. It's the best part of the film and it works beautifully. (Yes that's future directors Hal Ashby and Walter Hill I just mentioned).Affair is directed by Norman Jewison (a former editor/turned director who had just directed In the Heat of the Night, and The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming). United Artists didn't put much pressure or time constraints on Jewison, and Jewison took this very weak screenplay with an interesting premise and worked with writer Alan R. Trustman to create a sandbox for him and legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler to play in. They were young, they were anxious to break rules and try new things and they happened to wind up at Montreal Expo 67 and in the audience of a ground-breaking multi-screen extravaganza called Habitat. Habitat was created by film/maker and graphic designer Pablo Ferro. Jewison, Wexler and Ashby had found the gimmick they were looking for. It wasn't really until the film was in post production that they began putting together the multi-screen effects, and none of the film was story-boarded . A lot of improvisation was used for the film. The premise of the story (for the few who don't know) concerns a very wealthy corporate millionaire, Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) who is so used to winning at every game he plays, he challenges himself by quietly setting up and master-minding a huge bank robbery. It's one of the things that amuses him, one of the few thrills he has in life, his way to rebel and protest against his own corporate greed. The police are baffled, Paul Burke as top cop Eddie Malone is willing to work with a very unique insurance investigator to break the case. The investigator turns out to be Vicki Anderson (played by Faye Dunaway). She earns ten percent of the money she recovers and she's willing to do just about anything and break all the rules to earn her money- which frustrates the by the book Eddie Malone. Now there's never much time taken with conventional things like dialogue. Most of the characters speak in short phrases and sentences. The music is loud, intrusive, and obvious. It's used throughout the film to drive the pacing of the scene or over-emphasize minor moments. Today it plays a bit more campy than it used to, but it's a lot of fun.Vicki Anderson quickly decides that Thomas Crown must be the master-mind behind the bank robbery. She doesn't really have any evidence, or really much of a reason to come to this conclusion, but she does. The film expects you to accept this. So the rest of the film is a cat and mouse game. Vicki and Thomas are attractive jet-setting type people and they are attracted to each other, flirt, make love, drink port, play chess (in an extremely low key erotic fashion), buy fresh produce, go for dune buggy rides, and sit in sauna's together.They both know however that they are adversaries. McQueen's acting is also very stylized. He pauses before making facial gestures. He laughs somewhat forced, and his every movement feels calculated. It works.Although the film becomes less logical as it progresses, its inventive style held my attention throughout. And perhaps because of how dated it's hip chicness is, it's even more fun now,then when it was first released.The re-make is actually a better film than this one. The screenplay is much better constructed, and the film is structured better as a conventional narrative. But the first 30 minutes of this film is not easily topped, and Steve McQueen was a one of a kind screen presence. If your in the mood for a style over substance film from the late 60's complete with the title Academy Award Winning song Windmills of your Mind, you won't be disappointed.Three and Half .... make it Four...Chris Jarmick..."
Chess was never this much fun
flickjunkie | 04/19/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was interested in seeing this film after I saw the remake, especially when I heard so many people say the original was so much better. After having seen both, I'd call it a toss up (both were good!).Actually, the remake was only loosely based on the original. The original is about a rich guy who knocks off a bank, and the remake about a rich guy who steals art.This film is well crafted and though the story is far fetched (as in the remake) it's entertaining. Norman Jewison does a terrific job of directing. His visual interpretations, camera angles and dramatic effects are timeless. He overuses the split screen concept a bit, but we need to remember that in 1968 this was fairly new technology and he was probably enamoured with the novelty of it. Think of how much `morphing' was being used when it was first developed.Probably the best scene involved the chess match between Thomas (Steve McQueen) and Vicki (Faye Dunaway). It was far more erotic than all the scenes where Rene Russo was running around naked in the remake.The acting was excellent, with Dunaway taking top honors as the stop-at-nothing insurance investigator who literally gets her man. Steve McQueen played the rich macho ego maniac to perfection. His only minus was his phony victory laugh, which was overacted and overused. Paul Burke stayed appropriately but effectively on the sidelines as the police detective.In comparing the two films, I'd have to say it's about even. The remake had a more inventive and interesting story, replacing the bank robbery with an art heist, but it was also more ridiculous in the final disposition of the stolen painting. The original had better direction and use of the camera, while the remake was much better in use of costumes, props and sets in recreating the opulent lifestyle. Clearly the remake benefited from 30 years of technological improvement in sound and film quality.The remake was more self indulgent, especially in the sexual area. The McQueen interpretation of Crown was more realistic than Brosnan's conflicted and emotional distraught version. Each reflected their respective times, but McQueen's character was a better representation of the timeless arrogance of the ultra rich. I have to give Rene Russo a slight edge as the investigator. She gave the character more complexity and range. Paul Burke was far superior to Denis Leary as the cop.The ending of the original was definitely superior, though each ending was really true to the characters' personalities as portrayed.I gave this film an 8/10. If you like classic films, and you enjoyed the remake, you will probably enjoy this one as well."
Alluring Cat-and-Mouse Thriller
David Baldwin | Philadelphia,PA USA | 12/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film very well could have been a case of style over substance. But what style! The cars are cool, the clothes are cool(particularly Faye Dunaway's mini-dresses), the interiors are cool. Even the use of multi-screen images, which were fashionable in some circles in sixties but I find annoying, is used to good effect. Understatement is the rule of thumb here and Norman Jewison directs this caper film effectively in that manner. Steve McQueen never got the respect as an actor he deserved probably because he wasn't the most histrionic of actors. Here he plays his emotions fairly tight to the vest which befits Thomas Crown. McQueen is more than matched by Dunaway who plays an insurance investigator whose success in her field relies on her feminine wiles in tandom with her brains. The sparks that eminate between McQueen and Dunaway are combustible and rare in a film. The literal chess match between the two is more sensual than 100 films featuring couples making love."
The Original Crown!
classicmoviefan | Rancho Mirage, CA | 05/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an extremely fine film. Besides a ingenious story and terrific acting by McQueen (who plays a "cool" and very wealthy businessman perfectly) and Dunaway (who looks absolutely stunning and plays it "smart" in nearly every scene), this movie has some fascinating and utterly BRILLIANT editing like no other film I know of... and a HAUNTING and GORGEOUS music score created by Michel LeGrand. What about the NEW version?I have been a huge fan of the original Thomas Crown Affair since I first saw it while in the military in 1969..... and bought the 1999 "re-make" because I heard so many good things about it. I must say that honestly there are good points in BOTH films. I never quite bought the fact that the original wealthy "Crown" got his "kicks" robbing a bank.... so stealing the "Monet" made much more sense to me. I also thought the story was a bit more interesting in the new version and I was more satisfied by the challenge Bronsnan's character found in Russo's bluntness.Overall, however this 1969 "Crown" is the version I prefer. It contains an absolutely beautiful music score by Michel LeGrand (which is superior to the loud, lackluster and frangmented score that Bill Conti created for the new version). The title track here is "Windmills of Your Mind" is an awesome song, but also amazing is "Her Eyes, His Eyes" created for the infamous chess playing sequence. I also prefer the sensuous and sexy elegance of the fire between McQueen and Dunaway to the overtly sweaty lust that Brosnan and Russo desparately share together... this film is more subtile and suggests sexuality.. which seems more fascinating than just the plain nakedness in the new version.Although I do prefer this film to the remake, both versions are well made and interesting in their own right, and should be enjoyed for what they are and what makes them so entertaining."