The Thomas Crown Affair | 1999
“This motion picture was in no way authorized, sponsored or endorsed by any museum, nor was any portion of the motion picture filmed inside a museum.” say the credits. Somebody sounds a bit litigious.
The exterior of the gallery is, quite obviously, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. However, the gallery was concerned not to admit the possibility of such a robbery and refused its cooperation. It couldn’t, however, prevent filming of the exterior from the street. Likewise, the film company couldn’t prevent exhibition banners changing from shot to shot.
The interior galleries are impressive studio sets, but the huge entrance concourse is the lobby of the New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, which you might recognise as the venue for Carrie’s proposed wedding to Mr Big in the first Sex And The City movie. The grand frontage of the library is, of course, famous from the opening scene of Ghostbusters, and it looms in the background as Uncle Ben takes his leave of Peter Parker in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.
Crown’s suitably posh townhouse is the 1905 Henry T Sloane Mansion, 18 East 68th Street. Although the mansion really does boast its own wood-panelled ballroom, seven granite fireplaces and a vast marble staircase, the equally lavish interior seen in the film was recreated at Yonkers Stage, a vast warehouse space in – yes – Yonkers, which has also hosted filming for productions such as Will Smith thriller I Am Legend and Ridley Scott’s epic American Gangster.
The entrance to ‘Crown Acquisitions’, Thomas Crown’s luxury office building, is the Bank of New York Mellon, 32 Old Slip, on the east corner of Front Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.
As in 1968, a glamorous insurance agent is on the case – this time called Catherine Banning (Rene Russo). She sneakily ‘borrows’ Crown’s keys while they enjoy a meal at the Harry Cipriani Restaurant in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel, 781 Fifth Avenue.
The real ‘National Arts Club’ in Gramercy Park has already featured as a movie location – you can see it in Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence and Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery – but here the 1850 Italianate mansion at 1 Hanover Square, in between Pearl and Stone Streets in the Financial District (which now houses private club, India House) stands in for its exterior. The mansion was also used as the old family home of Leopold (Hugh Jackman) in James Mangold's time-travelling romance 2001 Kate and Leopold.
The interior is Reid Hall, on the campus of Manhattanville College, 2900 Purchase Street, in Purchase, east of White Plains in New York State.
The ballroom of the ‘Pierre Hotel’ is no stranger to the screen, either – remember Al Pacino dancing the tango here in Scent of a Woman? – but this time, when Banning comes on strong to Crown, the pair are not in the hotel at all, but in the old library of Bronx College, University Avenue at West 181st Street in the Bronx.
Thomas Crown’s exotic getaway is the island of Martinique, in the Windward Islands.