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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> March 2000 >> The Thomas Crown Affair

The Thomas Crown Affair

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
March 2000
IMDB Name:
Thomas Crown Affair, The (1968)
Norman Jewison
crime, suspense
MPAA Rating:


The Thomas Crown Affair starts out with a caper and ends up with a romance. The initial cat and mouse between Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway is interesting for its mystery aspects, as we wonder what Dunaway's supposed supersleuth will divine from clues. The movie is far more interested, though, in setting up emotional dilemnas for its characters. Will they ever break each other down, or will some other mitigating factor put Crown in jail? There is one terrific scene, a sexually charged chess match famous enough to be parodied in Austin Powers 2. Dunaway's looks, shot in extreme close-up with a dark background, are intensely erotic in a way that movies rarely equal today. It's at that point that Dunaway's character loses most of her edge, dropping the chase on the surface. The rest of the film is a largely unexciting romance that left me disappointed.

So Sixties

Even without considering the clothes and the cars, there's something about the combination of music and shooting style that firmly sets The Thomas Crown Affair in the late 1960s. There is an absurd amount of multi-screen display, often more gratuitous than useful. Transitions to and from blurred shots are also somewhat overused. There's even one instance of a technique so abstract that I thought my DVD player might be on the fritz! Michel Legrand's score is almost exclusively jazz, but very disjointed in most cases. It sometimes caters to the visuals in a way that borders on cartoon scoring. In fact, it reminds me a little of William Lava's work on the later Looney Tunes.

DVD Comments

The main bonus on the DVD of The Thomas Crown Affair is the Norman Jewison commentary track. Unfortunately, Jewison takes quite a while to say anything, sometimes dwelling on a single topic for five minutes at a time. The theatrical trailer is available, and the movie can be watched with English or French subtitles. The menu design is reasonably good, but occasionally has bizarre juxtapositions, as on the Special Features menu. My only annoyance with the scene selector is having too many screens for too many scenes. Even though the movie is well under two hours, it's split into thirty-two chapters. The scenes are offered four at a time, requiring an awful lot of movement to get around.

See the IMDB information on The Thomas Crown Affair's DVD or compare prices at DVD Price Search.

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Copyright 2000-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.