Go behind the scenes and learn what went on during the making of the 1981 Thriller
movie starring James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Robert Prosky
The exploding house scene was supposed to only explode the fake facade built by the film crew but instead the real house which was standing behind the fake facade also caught fire. The homeowner was generously overpaid for the cost of a new home and was put up in a fancy hotel.
A stickler for authenticity, Mann insisted that Caan wear a very expensive, 24-karat watch in Thief. The production company was about to dispatch a courier to Zurich to pick up one from the manufacturer, when a Chicago jeweller heard about it and offered to loan the watch to Mann.
Contributed by: Gary Cohn
The real "thief" was a man named John Seybold. He was the technical advisor on the set of the movie in Chicago while being sought after by the FBI for many robberies.
The opening scene of the safe cracking is real. Mann had some real life safe crackers teach James Caan how to do it for the movie. That is Caan really opening a locked safe.
Contributed by: Michael Corcoran
A combat pistol master named Jeff Cooper trained Caan and Mann. So it is no surprise that the way Caan "sweeps" the house at the end is very accurate for a trained gunfighter.
Contributed by: Greg Jacobson
The bar that Frank, James Caan blows up is called the Green Mill. It is a famous Chicago Jazz bar located on Broadway and Lawrence, and is still thriving today.
Contributed by: shane013a
The Chicago officer Chuck Adamson was also chasing a criminal named McCauley in the 1960's which was later made into a movie for Television by Michael Mann called La Takedown (1989). It was later made into a nearly three hour epic called "Heat"(1995) again directed by Mann.
The pistol used by Caan was a custom 1911 Colt pattern weapon modified by gunsmith James Hoag who later became responsible a line of aftermarket competition firearm items such as handgun grips and rifle stocks.
When movies are made, scenes are often
left on the cutting room floor.
Sometimes, there will be several versions
of a movie floating about on cable, tv or video etc. Other times, a Director may
release a special cut of the movie.