Thomas Crown Affairs" on DVD
What's old is new
MGM/UA's DVD's of
"The Thomas Crown Affairs" are interesting examples of the same
basic story told in markedly different ways for different times.
The basic storyline
is the same in both: Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen in the original, Pierce
Brosnan in the remake) is an ultra rich businessman who pulls off a gutsy
robbery for some excitement.
In the original, McQueen
masterminds a multi-million-dollar bank robbery, but in the remake it's
a much more "1990's" techno-heist of a $100million painting.
Enter the co-star
- Faye Dunaway in the 1968 Norman Jewison version and Rene Russo in John
McTiernan's 1999 entry - a "Banacek-like" insurance investigator
who wants to recover the ill-gotten booty for her fee (five or ten per
cent - depending on the film - of the amount she saves the insurance company
from having to pay out).
Dunaway and Russo
correctly finger Crown right off the bat and spend the rest of the movie
trying to get the goods on him so she can then get the goods.
Naturally, they fall
in love - or are they just playing Crown for a sucker? And, if so, is
Crown being sucked in?
The films are quite
different in almost every way, with a few homages to the original in the
remake (for instance, Faye Dunaway plays a totally unnecessary cameo and
there's a brief reprise of "Windmills of your Mind," the song
from the first film). The new version is much steamier, too; where in
the Jewison version the sexual tension is most apparent during a game
of chess, the remake has Russo and Brosnan flashing their butts at the
audience on more than one occasion. Jewison's version actually provides
more steaminess than McTiernan's, despite its lack of "full frontal
Both movies end differently,
too. We preferred the more realistic original to the "happier"
remake, though we could live with either.
On the whole, the
remake is a more satisfying DVD presentation because the picture and sound
are better - as they should be. We think the original was a better film,
Both DVD's are offered
in widescreen and Pan&Scan on opposite sides. The original's Dolby
Digital is monaural, not surprisingly, while the remake is 5.1 surround
(though there isn't a lot of surround). Audio and video quality of both
releases is very good, though we have to give the quality nod to the remake
and its more modern production.
Extras on both discs
include commentary tracks by the respective directors, a "collectible
booklet" as well as trailers, chapter stops and the usual language
"The Thomas Crown
Affairs", from MGM/UA Home Video
Starring Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul
Burke, Jack Weston,
Written by Alan R. Trustman, Produced and Directed by Norman Jewison
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary,
Written by Leslie Dixon & Kurt Wimmer, Produced by Pierce Brosnan
and Beau St. Clair,
Directed by John McTiernan
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