Spoiler Alert! This post may contain spoilers.
I saw this last night at the PFA in Berkeley. I'd heard the theme song many times, but had never seen the film. After thinking about how important the music and sound effects (subtle sound effects, especially during the chess game) were to the overall excitement and rhythms of this 60s chic collage, I found a piece of trivia on IMDB:
"After watching a five hour rough cut of the film, composer 'Michel Legrand' took a six week vacation during which he wrote 90 minutes of music. The film was then reedited to the music, instead of the other way around. If this experiment had failed, Legrand would have written a second score in the traditional way free of charge."
It won an Academy Award for the best song, "Windmills of Your Mind" and was nominated for its score.
The overall plot and subject matter of the film are somewhat uninteresting—millionaire playboy who could have inspired Ralph Lauren to invent the polo shirt thumbs his nose at The Man—but the artful photography is satisfying, and the playing out of prolonged sexual tension between the criminal and the investigator are unmatched.
I heard someone made an awful remake of this in 1999 with Pierce Brosnon and a happy ending. I plan never to see it.
That's the spoiler, it doesn't have a happy ending, thankfully.