REFLECTIONS ON MOVIES: Being Cool


Last week I caught the Thomas Crown Affair on TCM on demand. The Thomas Crown Affair is that chic movie about a bored businessman who in an existential crisis decides to rob a bank because nothing else amuses him. Hey, it could be worse. He could have done what Goldman Sachs did. At any rate, though I don’t think the film really holds up that well, mainly because the characters played by McQueen and Dunaway aren’t that vibrant or interesting (Jack Weston makes the most memorable appearance in the movie), I did enjoy the split screen techniques (cinematography by Haskell Wexler, one of the greats, and editing by, among others, Hal Ashby) and hearing Windmills of Your Mind again (a sort of Jacques Brel like song of despair that was very popular at the time). But after seeing the movie, I was talking about it with my friend Beriau. I remarked that at this time, the Hollywood Production Code was pretty much gone and people were getting away with crime now in movies like Oceans 11 (they didn’t get the money, but didn’t get caught) , The Sting and the Hot Rock. Beriau said it best when he said that that was because they were cool. It was the period in movies when being cool was all. It didn’t matter what you did, as long as you looked good while doing it, you could get away with anything. It was the period when appearance trumped morality.
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