Log Line

A sexy insurance investigator attempts to expose the truth behind a robbery masterminded by a wealthy playboy—and to earn a reward for recovering the stolen money.

Overview

Medium: Film

Writer(s): Alan R. Trustman

Director(s): Norman Jewison

Production Co.(s): The Mirisch Corporation; Simkoe; Solar Productions

In The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), the main character, Vicki Anderson, is an insurance investigator called in to solve a Boston bank robbery masterminded by a wealthy financial executive, Thomas Crown. We-the-audience know without doubt that Thomas is responsible for the crime, because the first quarter of the movie provides us with a ringside seat for its elaborate planning and execution.

From the moment that Thomas interviews the stooge getaway driver, Erwin, from behind a set of blaring lights until he launches the operation by issuing the "Go" command via public telephones to a set of operatives who are unknown to each other, we are aware that he is at the center of the caper. When Erwin deposits the bags of stolen money into a cemetery garbage can, it is the debonair Thomas who retrieves them and places them in the trunk of his Rolls Royce. And when Thomas returns to his mansion and toasts himself in the library mirror, we see that he is delighted for having pulled off the crime.

We just don't know why.

Is it because he needs the money to maintain his lifestyle? Is he so in love with money that he seeks every opportunity to get more, no matter how dangerous or illegal? Did he have a score to settle with the bank? Is crime his secret hobby? Does he delight in being clever? Is he addicted to the thrill of possibly being caught?

Or did he concoct and execute the crime as nothing more than a way to alleviate his boredom?

Regardless of his motives for committing the crime, the company that insures the bank against theft is not pleased with having to cut a check to cover the multimillion-dollar loss. And when the police investigation stalls early on for lack of clues and leads, the company brings in its own investigator—Vicki Anderson.

Vicki approaches her work with a no-nonsense pragmatism, but there is nothing mundane about her methods. She is not above defying societal convention for the sake of bagging her prey or of resorting to criminal acts when necessary—for example, when she fakes the kidnapping of Erwin's son and instigates the theft of his car to get him to talk. And the sexy charm with which she has been gifted by Nature (and has no doubt refined on her own) is yet another tool in her arsenal.

And although she claims to be interested only in her cut of the recovered funds, her motivation seems to run deeper than mere money—and into the realm of gaming and the thrill of the hunt. She appears to enjoy outflanking and ensnaring her opponents, especially those who underestimate her. Like Thomas, she is somewhat enchanted with her own cleverness.

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