Film 142, and 45 guests supported by 13 dedicated Volunteers watched Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in “The Thomas Crown Affair”. Not having seen the film before and with the 1999 remake (Pierce Brosnan, Renee Russo) as one of my “go to” films I wasn’t sure how I’d find Sunday’s showing of the 1968 original. I said as much to our audience in the introductions. This went down well (not!). It was greeted by a few mutterings, a couple of hard stares and shaking heads and one comment of “No competition” by those who felt the original was by far the best.

This was supported by some of the feedback

“Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen. Can’t be beat. Original always wins!”

“Such a treat. Perfect afternoon. Good place. Good compere. Classic film. Great actors and characters”

But the results weren’t as clear cut.

With an overall audience average rating of 8.8 the score was well down on the usual highs so not everyone agreed.

“Very 60s film, loud music + squares of photos. Think the newer film would be better”

“I don’t think the film has ‘worn well’. A bit slow by today’s standards”

“Slow to start and the ‘cubed’ pictures a nuisance to watch”

Interestingly one of the reasons for the split screen intro and the multiple cubed images on the screen is because the film was too long and the editor wanted to find a way of reducing the time without losing any of the imagery !

One person found the plot strange and impausible whilst another was intrigued by the chess match saying (perhaps with a little regret!) “Chess wasn’t like that when I was at school!!!”. The film notes say that the 1 minute kissing scene during the game of chess took 8 hours to film over 2 days. Oh the things actors have to put up with!!!

Whilst the film wasn’t everyone’s favourite, all seemed to have a lovely afternoon and this quote is quite representative:

“I love the opportunity to see films I’ve missed in the past, whilst enjoying a hot drink and cake. Well worth the visit and thanks to everyone, as usual for helping. “

As for me I’d vote for the remake. Yes, there were some lovely sequences in the original: the intimacy and repartee of the cat-and-mouse game between McQueen and Dunaway just edges that of Brosnan and Russo and the dune buggy sequence had my feet twitching to hit the accelerator and brake (brake mainly !). But the ending felt abrupt and slightly unclear; I left feeling something was missing. Having seen the remake I was expecting something more; to my mind the way they resolved the film in the 1999 remake made for a more enjoyable conclusion. I missed the bowler hats.

Audience voting for the 50/50/23 profit split was 44% for the Billericay Shed Network. 32% for the Billericay Foodbank and 24% for Hamelin Trust; the pots are building up nicely!!

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