October 09, 2014

Jewison's Jewel: The Thomas Crown Affair

In 1968 Canadian film maker Norman Jewison produced and directed a rare gem of a movie. He used revolutionary film editing techniques in the form of split-screen images, which had been introduced at Expo '67 in Montreal. 
The score was written by Michel Legrand, and including "Windmills of Your Mind" which would win an Oscar for Best Original Song.
Steve McQueen was dressed in bespoke Savile Row suits; Faye Dunaway by the Oscar nominated Theadora Van Runkle, who had created a sensation with "Bonnie and Clyde".
Splitting the Screen:

Stunning Poster in Greek

Bored millionaire Thomas Crown plans a bank heist that has all the markings of "the perfect crime".  None of the participants know each other and none have met Crown. Crown doesn't need the money; it is just a game to him.



Vicki Anderson Investigates:

Stylish and sharp as a tack Independent Investigator Vicki Anderson (Faye Dunaway) is called in to help the police--specifically, Detective Eddie Malone (Paul Burke).


Costumer for Faye Dunaway, Thea Van Runkle, dressed Vicki Anderson in a series of softly-tailored, flirty length, feminine and sexy suits.
It doesn't take long for Vicki to suspect Thomas Crown as the mastermind in the heist. Now she must prove it.

The Polo Match:

Vicki attends one of Thomas Crown's polo games, to photograph him in action.  He notices the chic blonde in the red Ferrari--a car he will see again.


The Art Auction:
Crown approaches Vicki at an elegant Art Auction and questions her. He queries, "Whose head are you after?"  She  replies, "Yours."


Evening on the Pier:

The pair have a dinner date on the Pier.  Thea Van Runkle's original sketch for Faye Dunaway's outfit is below.




The Chess Date:

The next scene is cinematic legend.  Thomas invites Vicki to his home for a game of Chess. Their attraction is heightened and culminates in one of the most amazing screen kisses ever.

Below, a short video clip of the screen kiss, so expertly filmed that it still dazzles the senses.

Van Runkle's dress for Faye Dunaway in this scene, is one of the highlights of the movie. With a demure, side-buttoned coat over top, the mini dress is a backless halter of taupe chiffon and a long tie decorated with a cameo brooch.

Dune Buggying at the Beach:

Crown and Vicki spend time at the beach, where he is building a house. They tear around in a Dune Buggy--a beautiful couple, having a wonderful time.

Eddie Malone:

Eddie Malone, played nicely by Paul Burke, does not approve of Vicki's method of entrapment. He warns her that she is in way over her head. 


These scenes gave Ms. Van Runkle a chance to garb Dunaway in still more fabulous suits. The designs are so  smart and classic they still do not appear dated--forty-six years later.  
Beacon Hill Lovers:
Vicki and Thomas are falling in love.  In the stills below, they kiss atop Boston's famed, historic Beacon Hill.  Faye's casual, long colour-blocked gown could be worn today.  
 In Thomas Crown's private sauna, Vicki learns that there will be another heist.  Their game of cat and mouse is almost at an end.
Back to the Beach: 
Crème de la Crème never reveals endings, even if they are common knowledge.  Thomas and Vicki spend some more alone time at the beach, but there is a foreboding.  
Vicki must decide between Thomas and her job. Why is it always the female protagonist who must do this?
This is one movie I never tire of.  It is sassy, stylish and clever. Truly a feather in the cap of everyone involved in its making, but especially Norman Jewison.

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