• Publication date: November 21, 2009

The Thomas Crown Affair The Thomas Crown Affair

The 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair was an action-packed, groundbreaking romance that ...

The 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair was an action-packed, groundbreaking romance that is revered even today. In it, Thomas Crown, then played by Steve McQueen, was a bored millionaire who got his kicks by arranging armed bank robberies. His foe was Vicki Anderson (Faye Dunaway), a clever insurance fraud investigator whose instincts inspired her to hone in the crook. In the picture's 1999 iteration the underlying premise is similar, though with a few minor changes. Pierce Bronson portrays Crown’s character, while Rene Russo of In the Line of Fire fame replaces Dunaway. The location of the story has also changed, migrating from Boston to New York City; Crown no longer fancies bank robberies, but art thefts – and he has amassed an impressive collection by painters like Vincent van Gogh, René Magritte, and Edouard Manet. His latest heist involves a $100 million work by Claude Monet, and Crown’s approach may be his most ingenious yet. Unlike in its predecessor, Crown does not hire professional thieves, but carries out the incredible scheme on his own. Naturally, technological advances make both Bronson's initial and final robberies incredibly enchanting, though one could argue that the romantic dimension of the film suffered as a result. Viewers are at first pleasantly greeted with the reappearance of Dunaway, who portrays the protagonist's shrink. She advises the playboy that in order to find his true love in life, he must first learn to trust in someone else, and at the same time allow himself to be trusted. This will prove prophetic after he encounters Catherine Banning (Russo). Banning is assigned to investigate the theft by her employer, and enters the ordeal with nothing more than business in mind. However as she plays a game of cat and mouse with Crown, sexual tension begins to build between them; indeed, it is released on more than one occasion. While both would like to lower their guards and allow themselves to be loved, neither can quit second-guessing the other's motives. Is Banning merely trying to seduce Crown in order to solve the case? Or is Crown attempting to lure Banning into a trap that would thwart any attempt at prosecuting him? Fans of the original will not be disappointed, as the film deviates from its bigger brother, resulting in an unexpected conclusion. The Thomas Crown Affair was an immense success, earning more than $124 million across the globe. A sequel, entitled The Topkapi Affair is currently in production, and slated for a summer 2011 release. Tunes by famed songstress Nina Simone and former Police front man Sting are featured in the film.