When speaking about The Thomas Crown Affair people mostly mean the 1968 film by Canadian director Norman Jewison starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Or they could mean the 1999 film directed by John McTiernan of Die Hard fame and starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Frankie R. Faison, and Denis Leary. But when I am speaking of The Thomas Crown Affair I mean both.
Both films are about art heists and both films possesses enough fine art references (particularly to painters from the last two centuries) to entertain a fine art graduate student. From Lucien Pissarro to Pierre-Auguste Renoir and everyone in between, the films excludes no one. But this is more than something for the museum crowd, the films know how not to be condescending and offer a mile-a-minute thrills. Elegant soundtracks and styles ordain both film with an air that is très sophistiqué. Nina Simone’s songs and Leary’s working-class comic stylings meet as a heavenly pair in the 1999 film. An ending difficult to accept morally makes the 1968 film a something of an enigma as well.
I like to think that both films are from the same series rather than one is a remake of the other. The Thomas Crown Affair is as entertaining as a film as its tastes are rich (and they are oh-so-very rich). Fine art and people with too much money and time is a recipe for fun (especially when you include some rough-and tumble no-nonsense cops). These films are like the nouveaux riche of cinema, they both swing from gauche to chic in a heartbeat. And all of it makes for certain entertainment.