The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)


A debonair, adventuresome bank executive believes he has pulled off the perfect multi-million dollar heist, only to match wits with a sexy insurance investigator who will do anything to get her man.

I always feel a bit strange reviewing films that are old as I quite often think, “What else could I possibly add that hasn’t already been said?”, and secondly, feel as though I am so late in getting round to watch it that it’s almost embarrassing to put up! However, in the hope that I have something constructive to say and that someone reading this out there has not seen this film, I will continue to give my two cents.

I was drawn to watching this on Netflix before it was promptly removed a few weeks back for two reasons – the first of which was Steve McQueen, notable for many performances in his time but arguably his most well known would be that of Capt. Virgil Hilts in The Great Escape. Having seen none of his other films (leave the barrage of abuse in the comments below), this seemed like a good option for the second McQueen film I sit through. Secondly, having been introduced to the excellent Network, I jumped at the chance to see Faye Dunaway grace my screen once more. The combination of these two seemed like a match made in movie heaven.

The film itself is an excellent example of nostalgic class and style over substance. Like a 40 year old man who just discovered star-wipe on Powerpoint, The Thomas Crown Affair abused it’s editing capabilities making it one of the most over-edited films I have ever sat through. Wipe, leading into multi-screen, into screen wipe, it continued over and over again until it became laughable. The costumes, the backdrop and the music were at least suitable and well thought out, but it all seemed rather forced and over the top. Nevertheless, it was not offensive to the eyes. For someone who does not watch a lot of ‘old’ films, this was a pleasant change of pace from the norm.

The performances from the two main leads as I touched upon earlier, were excellent. I have read that McQueen was at the height of his career at this stage, and it shows. His bravado and machismo shone through, he was every bit as suave and cool as I thought a rich tosser should be. I loved to hate him. Dunaway’s intelligence, meticulous eye for detail and outright sex appeal made her a dream to watch on screen as a rule-breaking, gorgeous investigator who is only in it for money, she was the biggest challenge McQueen’s character had ever faced. The chemistry displayed between these two, carried the standard, unimaginative heist storyline to new heights. It was their personal back-and-forth rather than the investigation that kept me interested, and nowhere was this more apparent that the infamous chess scene, seen here parodied in Austin Powers.

This romantic heist movie is definitely more romance than heist, and everything in the film aside from Dunaway and McQueen were mere formalities to watch these two on screen. It lacks substance, is slightly anti-climatic, but it exudes style and showcases two great actors of this era. Aside from the over-excited editing, it is a thoroughly enjoyable film. I can see why The Thomas Crown Affair is definitely what you call, ‘a classic’.

I’ll get round to watching the remake in due course. If you haven’t seen the original, this is worth your time.

One response to “The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

  1. Pingback: Three Days of the Condor (1975) [Review] | movieblort·

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