I Saw A Film!

I have to admit I didn’t get it, but, I’m sort of the wrong generation. Having perused a Roger Ebert critique of the film I found out what I was supposed to be wow’d about, and also, why I was rather underwhelmed with the story. Basically it comes down to cool presentation, kind of unlike any film had been presented before. Which, if you haven’t seen it, is lots of blocks of images. Sometimes they’re just multiple repeating images, sometimes they’re various images, you know, the guys talking to each other on the phone. Steve McQueen, always the same, says “Go!” over and over again and some guys, Yaphet Kotto among them, looking suave, go rob a bank.

I have to admit to some unusual boredom with the object of bank robbery. Considering how often it is the center of a movie, I feel certain I must be the one lout without any kind of particular interest in it. I’d rather watch just about any sword fight, martial arts sequence or freaking fishing show than even the most well executed robbery. I don’t have that fantasy I guess, I’ve never had that fantasy. I used to have a room mate who watched the film Swordfish about 19 times, he was convinced we could pull off a bank heist. Actually in the bank with guns and bullshit like it were some kind lifetime goal (didn’t you see Dog Day Afternoon? It’s apparently referenced in Swordfish, with a kind of psychopath’s glee). Forget it, that’s not how you make money. But let’s be fair they didn’t have computers on every desk back then.

The robbery done, and yawn, it’s not at all of interest (except how little money they actually got). We are then introduced to an insurance investigator in the form of long legs with some outrageously high cheek bones on them. Faye Dunaway, always tossing her hair and looking over her shoulder, or taking off her sunglasses and looking over her shoulder, or taking off her hat and looking over her shoulder, soon susses out that our man is McQueen.

Another sequence that is film history is in the film, the chess game between the rich robber and the beautiful insurance agent. It goes on a bit. Faye strokes a bishop. Ah, OK I guess I’m supposed to be seeing something sexy? Is this actually meant to be a turn-on for someone? Do women like this or something? Well soon they’re kissing. OK I guess so. I’ve never had a sexy chess game. I’m not a great chess player either (there’re a good number of techniques you’re meant to memorize and I just can’t find the effort of value). But then, this is a rich guy, of course he’s sexy! And so it goes, Dunaway and McQueen are being sexy with one another. It occurs to me big movie making is not unlike pro-wrestling where the game is to try to pick principals who can put on a show together. Somewhere someone was thinking, let’s have McQueen and Dunaway in one another’s arms and boom! Make that movie. Just like Andre and Hogan. The Thomas Crown Affair is something like Andre the Giant Vs. Hulk Hogan back in the days twenty years after this film was made. I realize this is a very limited allegory, but I feel certain this is a movie making method. And in this film, there really isn’t much more to it than this kind of unexciting sexual suggestion.

The film has the old famous song about windmills in our minds, and circles going round and round and wheels within wheels. I should probably look up the song, I don’t know it really, but it’s one I remember hearing occasionally as a kiddo. I think it’s meant to be deep. They play it while McQueen is floating around in his glider. Deep.

I should probably be less abusive of this thing, at least it’s not just a bloody gunfight. Back in the 90s they did a kind of remake with Brosnan and Rene Russo. It’s harder to imagine anyone really was dreamily dying to see those two paired together. I forgot I saw this thing, but I remember that the painting apparently wasn’t really stolen, it was a kind of joke of sorts, I guess. When I complained about the film to a female friend of mine, she’d loved it. She thought it was sexy. Get this right boys, women like rich guys being bad boys. That’s all.

This is running free on Prime over here in the Estadios Unidos. It goes by really fast, if you take your eyes off the polo match you’ll soon find yourself drifting, perhaps thinking of more interesting films.

2 thoughts on “The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

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