TCM Alert: The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973)

TCM will be airing the ultra rare Ryan O'Neal caper The Thief Who Came to Dinner this Friday afternoon June 25th (2pm EST). 

I was on an O'Neal kick recently and watched a handful of his flicks, from Green Ice and Partners to Tough Guys Don't Dance (Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray coming soon) and The Gentleman Bandit. Most of these movies are either on DVD/Blu-ray or can be streamed. But I had to pay a pretty penny to snag a clamshell VHS(!) copy of The Thief Who Came to Dinner on eBay. 

The Thief Who Came to Dinner, from what I could see (the VHS picture and audio quality was subpar) is a forgotten gem starring O'Neal as Webster McGee, a computer wiz moonlighting as a cat burglar who gets involved in intrigue with the Houston country club sect. Directed by Bud Yorkin, the movie features a stellar cast including Jacqueline Bisset as the love interest, Warren Oates as the investigator hot on Webster's tail and recently departed Ned Beatty as the fence. It was written by Walter Hill, who five years later would direct O'Neal in one of my favorite movies all of time, The Driver.

With a great score from Henry Mancini and an amusing sub-plot involving chess, it's a real shame this film hasn't been upgraded to a higher-definition format. I'm hoping the version airing on TCM this Friday is of better quality - wishful thinking is they have their hands on a new transfer which could signal a long-awaited Blu-ray release from Warner Archive. 


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