Tonight: George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez in the sly, sexy Out of Sight.

Inspired by film noir and sexy crime thrillers of the past, this romantic caper comedy about a bank robber was based on the book of the same title by Robert Culp’s favorite, Elmore Leonard.

Leonard’s literary efforts have been made into a number of entertaining films, including Get Shorty (1995), 3:10 To Yuma (made in 1957, and again in 2007), Jackie Brown (1997) and The Tall T (1957), shot, Dick Bann reminds us, in Lone Pine.

Clooney was attracted to the role because he grew up liking “the Cagneys and the Bogarts and Steve McQueen,” the actor explained.

“The guys who were kind of bad, who you voted for. And when I read this (script), I thought, this guy is robbing a bank, but you really want him to get away with it.

Sandra Bullock nearly got the female lead opposite Rosemary Clooney’s nephew, George. But director Steven Soderbergh liked the chemistry better with Jennifer Lopez.

Also in the cast, the son of radio comedian Parkyakarkus, Albert Brooks, playing a character intended to parody Michael Milken.

Michael Keaton contributes an uncredited and unpaid cameo.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Keaton and Clooney had both played Batman.

And the film’s producer, Danny DeVito, had also appeared as “The Penguin” in the Batman movie series.

Dennis Farina, who portrays “Marshall Sisco,” father of the lopez character, has often been cast as a cop in movies. He used to be a cop in real life, with the Chicago police force.

Principal photography began on October 1, 1997 and was wrapped on January 12, 1998.

The picture was released to theaters by Universal on June 26, 1998. With an R rating.

Variety praised Out of Sight as “sly, sexy, vastly entertaining” with “bright, snappy dialogue that’s rarely heard in a mainstream picture.”

“The densely rich yarn is more character driven than plot-driven. Not since ‘Boogie Nights’ has a Hollywood movie had so many characters and seemed so perfectly cast.”

Roger Ebert enjoyed the repartee and unforced fun between Clooney and Lopez. He likened their chemistry to that of Bogart and Bacall, and hailed Out of Sight as “one of the year’s best.”

There were Oscar nominations for Best Editing, by our own Anne V. Coates, and Best Screenplay, by Scott and Frank.The Writer’s Guild gave its award for Best Screenplay to Frank.

But the film was too smart for its audience.

The domestic gross was $37.3 million, with another $9 million overseas.

The budget was reported in the trades as $48 million. When the cost of prints and advertising were included, Out of Sight lost money.

The film’s star, the ever-smiling, easy going Mr. Clooney concluded, “Even though it didn’t do very well box-office wise—we sort of tanked again—it was a really good film.

And he was right!

So now–from 1998–

Out of Sight