HE WAS YOUNG, HANDSOME, A MILLIONAIRE – AND HE’D JUST PULLED OFF THE PERFECT CRIME! SHE WAS YOUNG, BEAUTIFUL, A SUPER SLEUTH – SENT TO INVESTIGATE IT!
Director Norman Jewison’s classic, stylish movie combines the technical pizzazz of the 1960s (we’re treated to excellent split-screen photography and haunting Michel Legrand music) with a feeling for those good old capers of the ‘30s and ‘40s. The story is silly but inventive, with a sophisticated, Niven-esque gentleman thief (Steve McQueen) challenged by a voluptuous insurance agent (Faye Dunaway) out to get him. The filmmakers have added a light touch to the inevitable romance; focus lies on the teasing charm of the cat-and-mouse game. The stars are charismatic and sexy; the famous chess scene is just one of their hot encounters.
1968-U.S. 102 min. Color. Produced and directed by Norman Jewison. Screenplay: Alan Trustman. Cinematography: Haskell Wexler. Music: Michel Legrand. Song: “The Windmills Of Your Mind” (Michel Legrand, Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman). Cast: Steve McQueen (Thomas Crown), Faye Dunaway (Vicky Anderson), Paul Burke (Eddy Malone), Jack Weston, Biff McGuire, Yaphet Kotto.
Trivia: Sean Connery was allegedly considered for the part of Crown. Remade as The Thomas Crown Affair (1999).
Oscar: Best Original Song. Golden Globe: Best Original Song.
Last word: “When we saw the dailies of the sail-plane scene in ‘Thomas Crown Affair’, I thought it was really boring. And then when they used the Michel Legrand’s ‘Windmills of Your Mind’ music, and Bergman’s words to those shots, the photography became great. […] [As for the chess scene] it said on the script, it said, ‘They play chess with sex,’ or some euphemism statement, and so Norman said to me, ‘Well, do something,’ so they left me pretty much alone with Faye and Steve, and there are a lot of really dirty stuff in there (laughs). I think they left in where she massages one of the chess men in a masturbatory fashion. (laughs)” (Wexler, The Hollywood Interview)