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Thief

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Michael Mann has spent most of his film career exploring the world of crime and the criminals that inhabit it. Not to mention neon lighting. His feature film debut, Thief, certainly started him on the right track. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our 1981 series with Mann’s Thief.

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“You gotta get to where nothin’ means nothin’.”

Michael Mann has spent most of his film career exploring the world of crime and the criminals that inhabit it. Not to mention neon lighting. His feature film debut, Thief, certainly started him on the right track. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our 1981 series with Mann’s Thief. We talk about why this film works well for us as well as what elements don’t work, really digging into Mann and his proclivity to give short shrift to his female characters. We chat about the truth brought to the film by bringing on real thieves to work as technical advisors, training James Caan to work with real equipment and actually really cracking safes on screen. We talk about the great James Caan as well as the rest of the cast — Tuesday Weld, James Belushi, Robert Prosky and more — and what they all bring to the movie. We chat about Tangerine Dream and their music, why Mann hired them, and what, if anything, works with their score. And we really dig into the character arc of Frank played by Caan, discussing how it works in context of the script, and why the actual ending of the screenplay changes his story in a way that works for us even if it doesn’t feel very much like a ‘Michael Mann’ ending. It’s a great film that we’re happy to revisit. Tune in!

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