The classic chess scene
THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR
This 1968 classic set the standard for romantic chess scenes for decades to come. Though I had seen the movie several times over the years, I decided to take a look at it again yesterday, just to compare with other films that I had seen since.
The scene is just so well done! More than 5-minutes long, the director had both stars coordinate their actions , interacting simultaneously on the board and off the board. Sometimes teasing, sometimes very cerebral. Always classy. This movie proved that chess could be a very effective prop in cinema.
The movie’s major romantic scene takes place over a chessboard. “Do you play?” Crown asks. “Try me,” she answers.
After those two sentences, the script had a three-word description about what should follow: “Chess with sex.” No dialogue, just a man and a woman, a chessboard, chess pieces, and a charge of sexual tension.
Steve & Faye radiate spontaneity in the scene, but in fact they were responding to my directions: “Faye, you’re playing chess, but another game is going on…Without thinking, your right hand goes up your left arm & lightly caresses your throat…Steve, let your eyes follow Faye’s hand…Faye, look up and catch Steve watching. You’re embarrassed. You smile & look down…Faye, stroke the bishop…Steve, what’s she doing? Masturbating the bishop? My God, she’s throwing you off your game…” And so on for six minutes of screen time.
“Check,” Vicki says. The silence is broken.
Crown stands up, studies the board, confirms he has lost. He roughly pulls Vicki to her feet.
“Let’s play something else,” he says.
They kiss. Not a brief, tender kiss. I was going for the all-time longest kiss in screen history. Not a hint of bare skin, but the kiss was far sexier than a shot of two nudes. It lasted for 80 seconds of screen time. If you can believe it, that kiss earned the movie a Mature Audience rating, and most newspapers would not reproduce our open-mouth kiss ad for the film.” LINK