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THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, 1968
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  MOVIE POSTER THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, 1968
Movie Reviews

Directed by Norman JewisonStarring Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke, Jack Weston, Yaphet Kotto

Review by Russell Hill

SYNOPSIS:

A multi-millionaire is suspected by an insurance investigator for possibly leading a notorious bank robbery

REVIEW:

There are movies which are recognised for the way in which they are shot. Others could be for their star power and many more movies are cherished by many for the music which is chosen to be included in the soundtrack. This very stylish movie is gold-star from start to finish not just for the two leading stars but generally the entire film in itself. Admiring Faye Dunaway for her role in “Bonnie and Clyde” and Steve McQueen for literally everything I have seen him in, this movie is a must-see for any Cinephile and far better than the remake which was released in 1999.

Thomas Crown (McQueen) leads a life many would envy. He has a huge apartment, drives sand buggies and has a high powered executive job which has a six figure salary even in the swinging 60’s. However, Crown has a sinister side to him as he organises the perfect crime which involves strangers working together and robbing a bank. The crime seems to be seal-proof and the local police force has no idea about who is behind it. Queue Vicki Anderson (Dunaway) who works for an insurance company and begins to investigate the crime and who could be behind it. After pointing the finger of blame at Crown, she falls for his charms and they become lovers. Will she be able to label Crown a criminal?

The 1960’s were a wonderful time for Hollywood. Leading films of this era include “The Graduate”, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and the aforementioned “Bonnie and Clyde”. But what this movie has which these other three films do not have is Steve McQueen. Never has someone in cinema, in fact make that in life, made flying a glider look as exciting nor does his life which he leads with such pleasure to be as appealing as possible that you want that life for yourself. McQueen was well-known for this portrayal in films and it is shocking to read that just twelve years later he was to die at the age of fifty.

McQueen’s female equivalent has got to be Faye Dunaway. Her beautiful looks and then-contemporary fashion gave her an aura of invincibility. Here, her character Vicki is hard-nosed and perfectly poised as she shows that these two different personalities can be balanced properly and, after wooing from Thomas Crown, shows that she has a sensitive side that, despite her tough character, lies a woman who wants to be loved and is testament to Dunaway’s talent that she is able to deliver this performance with such ease.

Nominated for two Oscars, the movie won one of these which was for the song “The Windmills of Your Mind”. Even to this day it has a haunting sound which immediately brings to mind this legendary film. It can be first found in the opening titles as the caper starts to unfold and the main characters are presented to us. This, when you consider McQueen and Dunaway, is by no means a bad aspect whatsoever.

The direction shown by Normal Jewison is remarkable. What was seen as landmark at the time, there are many occasions when a split screen is used in order to focus on many scenes in close succession. In contemporary films, this is normally done thanks to fast edits but because Jewison decided to use this rather than cutting quickly from one scene to the next it allows for an altogether better-looking movie as only the most important aspects of the scenes are focused on so the screen becomes more of a collage than a movie at times.

In all, this film demonstrates the smoothness and quality evident during the swinging 60’s. Not only do the lead actor and actress prove their salt on more than occasion throughout but the glitz and glamour of the rich and well-known is represented perfectly with McQueen and the stylishness of Dunaway. Either way, its classic status should not be in doubt.

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THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, 1968