Riva/Presents Extra author Heidi Rice celebrates the original version of the heist romance starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway which is as cool and sexy today as it was in 1968.
I adore Steve McQueen, the man is the King of Cool, the ultimate movie bad boy and oozes tough, rugged sex appeal in all his movies, even the naff ones. But I've always thought that The Thomas Crown Affair is his sexiest screen appearance. A romantic thriller wrapped in stylish sixties chic and packed with enough sexual tension to blow anyone's socks off.
The plot in a nutshell has Steve's bad boy billionaire pulling the 'perfect' heist, because he's bored. This guy doesn't need the money, but having made his millions, legitimate business no longer challenges him so he starts seeking his thrills elsewhere. What he hasn't counted on though after his latest heist is getting a few more thrills than he bargained for when Faye Dunaway's smart, savvy and uber-sexy insurance investigator is put on his tail. With a brilliant mind that matches his own, not to mention amazing legs and a razor-sharp woman's intuition, Faye immediately pinpoints Steve as the thief, and thus begins a tantalising game of cat and mouse (when we're never quite sure who's the cat and who's the mouse) as they use all the weapons in their arsenal to come out on top (pun fully intended, folks!)
McQueen is brilliantly cast in this movie, he's super-slick on the surface, completely gorgeous but with a dangerous edge that means while Faye's getting the goods on him, she's also in danger of losing the battle for her heart. And vice versa. But what also makes this movie work so well is that Faye Duanway is his absolute equal - as prepared to use sex to get what she wants as he is. At a time when women's lib was just starting to come into its own, Dunaway's ambitious, stylish career woman forced to choose between a hefty pay cheque and the man she has fallen in love with is an icon to be proud of... Right up to that deliciously bittersweet ending.
And let's not forget all the lashings of sixties style - The Windmills of Your Mind theme song, Steve's drainpipe suits, Faye's Mary Quant-like mini-dresses, dune buggies, polo matches, the gleeful overuse of gimmicky split-screen photography and the sexiest chess match ever put on film.
While I enjoyed the Pierce Brosnan/Rene Russo remake, this is the real deal. And I think wins the cool and sexy stakes hands down. Mad Men eat your heart out!
Heidi is currently beevering away at her 11th Riva. Meanwhile, her latest Presents Extra Surf Sea and a Sexy Stranger is still available in the US, and the linked book Cupcakes and Killer Heels is now available in the UK. Come have a natter on her blog, Facebook, her website or Twitter (@HeidiRomRice).