Created by Alan Trustman
VICKI ANDERSON is the hotshot insurance dick called in to investigate a high-stakes Boston bank heist in Norman Jewison's stylish romantic suspense thriller The Thomas Crown Affair (1968 ). She soon finds herself pitted, both romantically and professionally, against the caper's mastermind, successful, but bored, multi-millionaire Thomas Crown, played by Steve McQueen with, as always, stone-cold precision.
Vicki is a strange combination of ditzy charmy and cold ruthlessness, willing to break the law in jaw-dropping fashion one moment, just to crack the case, and then seemingly willing to risk it all the next in a round of pillow talk with Crown.
The film is not so much a traditional private eye story, but a battle of wills, between two main characters bent on domination; an edgy game of cat and mouse. The burning question becomes "How do you get the man who has everything?" The frank sexual politics, the tease and release played out between Dunaway and McQueen garnered the film an "R" back in 1968, and the colliding viewpoints exemplified by the splitscreen techniques must have all seemed quite cutting edge and shocking back then. In fact, they still pack quite a wallop now, although they do sometimes seem dated. And those hats of Dunaway's are laughable. And it's marred by one of the most cloying, annoying songs of the sixties, Michel Legrand's look-at-me-I'm-sensitve "Windmills of Your Mind. Still, it's a true original, this film, and well worth seeing. Recommended.
In 1999 a remake was released, directed by John McTiernan. There's some real changes to the original. The icy tone is still there, but the oooh-so-sixties cool of the original is replaced with some real chemistry between Pierce Brosnan as the zillionaire art thief and Rene Russo as the high-flying insurance dick out to nail him. Although, for some reason, her name is now CATHERINE BANNING. Oh, and Sting tries real hard, but the song still sucks.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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