Guest Post: Favorite Movie Set in Boston

By Becky ‘Prairiegirl’ Kurk
When I was invited to guest blog on FlixChatter so rtm can have a well-deserved Christmas break from her “baby,” and heard the topic was to choose a favorite movie filmed in/around New York City or Boston, I was game. I love Boston! I remember visiting Faneuil Hall Marketplace, taking a historic city walk (Freedom Trail), seeing Boston Harbor and Boston Commons, and, of course, visiting the original Cheers bar (it’s very long and narrow, nothing like the wide-open set in the TV series, but going down a flight of stairs to enter it is faithful to the original). Other extraordinary places in Massachusetts are The Berkshires, Cape Cod and Plimouth Plantation.

So, to start my task, I perused all three links rtm offered to help me get started, and this one proved to be the best: Wikipedia: List of films set in New England

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

And to my surprise, after looking through all the lists, I realized my favorite movie filmed in Boston is The Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Faye Dunaway was fresh off the success of Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and Steve McQueen had been nominated for a Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar for The Sand Pebbles (1966). McQueen’s physical presense in this movie reminds me of Daniel Craig’s recent role in the 2006 Bond film Casino Royale. It was very sad that he died in his prime at the young age of 50 in 1980 of mesothelioma. I was only 15 years old and still in junior high when TTCA was released, and was way more interested in the Beatles and boyfriends than movies at the time.
I’d heard of the film many times, but only saw it on TV about a year ago. Turns out is it one of those semi-classic movies that lives up to its reputation. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be ‘sophisticated.’ IMDb lists its genre as Crime/Drama/Thriller/Romance, but it’s heavier on the drama and romance, Both McQueen and Dunaway have their witty moments (having said that, PLEASE don’t compare this to The Tourist. TTCA is truly everything Tourist should have been, but was not, even though I liked the movie.) I read that the director’s (Norman Jewison) commentary on the DVD was worth a watch, so next time I see this will be on DVD so I can check out his commentary. And, true to my assignment, it has a long list of filming locations in Boston.
The storyline, according to IMDb:
Four men pull off a daring daytime robbery at a bank, dump the money in a trash can and go their separate ways. Thomas Crown, a successful, wealthy businessman pulls up in his Rolls and collects it. Vickie Anderson, an independent insurance investigator is called in to recover the huge haul. She begins to examine the people who knew enough about the bank to have pulled the robbery and discovers Crown. She begins a tight watch on his every move and begins seeing him socially. How does the planner of the perfect crime react to pressure?
And here’s a selection of clips from the film:

I could spend a lot of time and wear and tear, but since the movie has been around for a long time, and there are so many good reviews of this intriguing film on IMDb, here’s a link directly to those reviews.
And a few excepts to get started on:
Unforgettable 60’s cool: The film itself is well crafted, beautifully photographed and brilliantly directed, it also has a great score.

Tense, stylish, serious:
The performances of the entire cast are exemplary. McQueen’s clipped manner builds the tension and intensifies the effect of his weakening to Vicki’s seductive moves during the chess game.

An Affair To Remember:
The chess game between “King Of Cool” Steve McQueen and 27-year-old Faye Dunaway in the most provocative dress possible is one of the sexiest and most exiting without-actual-sex-involved scenes ever filmed.

All around perfection:
Amazing movie. I give movies a 10 when I can come up with no suggestion at all to make it better. The cinematography, editing, dialogue, acting, costumes, locations and most of all direction of this movie are perfect.
It’s a battle of hubris between McQueen and Dunaway and the film does keep you in some suspense as to who will win out.

Stealing With Style:
The Thomas Crown Affair garnered won Academy Award for Michel LeGrand’s song, The Windmills of Your Mind. It’s a stylishly done caper film and I guarantee you won’t be able to anticipate the outcome.
While checking this out, I found out there was a 1999 remake of TTCA with Pierce Brosnan and Renee Russo. While I like both actors, I doubt they could ever match McQueen and Dunaway in this movie. See the 1968 film. You won’t be disappointed.
So, have you been to Boston? Live there? Have traveled/visited there? Seen The Thomas Crown Affair? If so, tell us!

9 thoughts on “Guest Post: Favorite Movie Set in Boston

  1. Vince

    Yes, this movie is classic! Faye is awesome too (yes there was a Faye before Mommy Dearest). Will have to watch this again. Thanks for the post. Btw who is the poster?

    1. PrairieGirl

      Vince, knew you’d have seen this and loved it. It’s on my list to see again now too. And thanks again for loaning me The Night of the Hunter, glad I got to see it, liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Of course, who can go wrong with Robert Mitchum!

      1. I’m really intrigued by your post, Becky. I like the Pierce Brosnan version but surely it didn’t even compare to the original. I’ll definitely add this film to my Netflix queue!

        1. PrairieGirl

          Hey, I didn’t realize you’d seen the Brosnan version, yes, please see this one and let me know what you think about how they compare.

  2. PrairieGirl

    Hey everyone, rtm usually introduces her guest blogger, but obviously she is having way too much fun on vacation. It is my honor to be the guest for TTCA post. Becky, aka PrairieGirl.

    1. OMG! Sorry for the snafu, I guess I was too excited finding pictures for this post and researching about McQueen that I forgot to include the byline! Sorry Becky, and thanks for the wonderful post!

  3. PraireGirl!
    great post and tribute to the great McQueen and Dunaway! I completely forgot about their classic. I’ve only seen the remake with Brosnan and Russo. (sorry Ruth, not a fan….Russo running around in that film just didn’t really do it for me….) haha, I will have to check out the original.

    So many classics receive remakes, but some are good. I love both versions of The Italian Job, Ocean’s Eleven, etc. About to go see True Grit in a few hours. The Mechanic comes out next month. Do you think that they’ll remake The Sting?

    Perhaps Hollywood is turning around the quality of remakes here slowly but surely. 🙂

    1. PrairieGirl

      Hi sp1der, you know I forgot about this one too until rtm gave me the assignment and the list of films. As soon as I came across it, I realized it was THE fav Boston film. But never knew it was filmed entirely in/around Boston. Oh yes, you must see the original!

      And The Sting! I just saw that recently for the first time on TV, and same as TTCA… had heard about the movie forever, but never saw it, it was fabulous, REALLY liked it. With Paul Newman and Robert Redford together, it’s another all-time classic. So if they did remake TS, who would be the leading men… let me guess… could it be Gerard Butler and Rufus Sewell? Yes! ;-D

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