The Thomas Crown Affair
(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

This weekend I went to see the new version of the Thomas Crown Affair at the theatre and then rented the 1968 version to watch at home.  These movies with the same name have the same basic plot and  three characters in common (although two have different names) but little else.  Remakes are weird. All the important scenes and the ending have been changed from the original but some of the minor scenes are identical.  Two scenes in particular, an early scene where Crown is selling a building and another where he's playing golf are the same almost word for word. The basic plot of both movies is that this rich guy, Thomas Crown, is a bit bored and so even though he doesn't need the money, he decides to plan a daring daylight robbery.  In the 1968 version, it's a very interesting bank robbery which is pulled off by 5 guys who have never met each other before showing up at the bank.  Check out the very youthful, Yaphet Kotto! The robbery in the 1999 version is the dumbest thing you ever saw. The guys hired by Crown, spend hours breaking into an art museum which is already open so that they can put on purple jackets and pretend to be security guards. They could have just walked in the front door, put on purple jackets and pretended to be security guards.  It was quite sometime before I could recover from this and concentrate on the rest of the movie.  In both movies, a beautiful, exotic insurance investigator, Faye Dunaway (1968), Rene Russo (1999), shows up to try and solve the crime while bugging the hell out of the police detective assigned to the case, Paul Burke (1968), Denis Leary (1999) and having an affair with the prime suspect, Steve McQueen (1968), Pierce Brosnin (1999).  As far as the casting goes, Dunaway and Russo are both great, and the two policemen are good. But Steve McQueen is the embodiment of cool and Pierce Brosnan isn't. The best thing about the new version is the performance of Rene Russo. She almost carries the movie herself. The other major difference between the movies is the direction.  The 1968 version still seems much more alive than the new version which just seems to creep along. Both directors are good, Norman Jewison (1968) and John McTiernan (1999).  McTiernan has directed some great action movies such as Predator and Die Hard but here he seems to have fallen asleep at the wheel. Jewison has been nominated 3 times for best director and just won the Irving Thalberg award. He wasn't nominated for this movie but he did a great job.  I am a bit biased since Normie Jewison is special to my family. He and my mother were childhood friends and he could eat more corn on the cob than anyone else at Big Cedar Point.  Anway, the original is worth a couple more beer bottles than the new version. It's definitely worth renting.