Purple Noon (1960)

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8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Strong adaptation, different from the 1999 version

Misses some of the interesting subtext of the 1999 version

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Purple Noon (Plein Soleil)

Studio:  Titanus

Genre(s):  Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  March 10, 1960

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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Tom and Philippe do everything together…ugh…

Tom Ripley (Alain Delon) has been given a cushy job.  He’s been “hired” by Mr. Greenleaf to travel to Italy to convince Greenleaf’s son Philippe (Maurice Ronet) to return home.  However, Philippe and Tom have a plan ot get as much money out of Philippe’s father before they head home and spend their days drinking and relaxing with Philippe’s girlfriend Marge (Marie Laforêt).  When Philippe begins to grow tired of Tom, and Tom begins to long for Philippe’s wasted life, Tom’s years of being a con artist might come into play…as he begins to become Philippe.

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Oh yeah…I can get use to the life of Philippe!

Directed by René Clément, Purple Noon (or the French title Plein Soleil) is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s acclaimed 1955 novel The Talented Mr. Ripley.  The movie was the first major film of French star Alain Delon and was released to strong, positive reviews.  The movie has been remastered and released by Criterion (Criterion #637) and is available both on DVD and Blu-Ray.

I love The Talented Mr. Ripley.  I’ve read Patricia Highsmith’s novels and of course saw the 1999 version starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow in the lead roles.  I saw some of the other versions and “Ripley” films, but I had never seen this version…It is a completely different take on the story.

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Tom’s version of Weekend at Bernie’s

It is hard for me to watch this movie and not make comparisons to the 1999 version which I saw multiple times.  The plot of the movie focuses more on Tom Ripley’s desire for Philippe (aka Dickie) Greenleaf’s life than the feelings that Philippe brings out in him.  The character plots Philippe’s death, and it isn’t in a moment of anger (which leads to a rather strange exchange between Tom and Philippe).  Though Philippe is often a jerk in this film, this changes the viewer’s perception of Tom Ripley and makes him less of a likable character.  Much like a Dexter Morgan (from Dexter), I wanted the Matt Damon Tom Ripley to get away with it…this isn’t the case as much with Alain Delon’s Tom Ripley.

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Hi Marge…do you want me to do my Philippe imitation?

The cast of the film is quite strong and though both versions are based on the novel, I can’t help to think that the other version did look at this film for characters.  Both Alain Delon and Maurice Ronet worked for this script.  Delon plays Ripley cool and collected…with very few insecurities while Ronet is cavalier and even can see through Tom.  Marie Laforêt is nice as the victimized girlfriend of Greenleaf, but even succumbs to Tom’s charm.  Freddie Miles here is played by Billy Kearns and Kearns reminds me a lot of the 1999 version played by Philip Seymour Hoffman…even in acting, movement, and delivery.

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Hey, Tom…guess what?

Like the 1999 version, the film makes great use of the Mediterranian location and of Italy.  The movie is beautiful and Clément’s style is very harsh.  You have scenes of quite normal events with bodies lying around (one where Philippe is wrapped up on the boat and one where Freddie is lying dead on the ground).  Both scenes treat high tension issues like that very casually and feel more real than bodies gushing blood and panicked murderers…Ripley knows what he’s doing and that is the scary part of the movie.

Ideally, my version of The Talented Mr. Ripley would combine the two films.  I think it would have been interesting to see Alain Delon in the 1999 version with the 1999 script.  Jude Law nailed Dickie Greenleaf and made him someone that everyone has encountered, and I like the sexual undertones of that script as well.  Damon’s portrayal is more tragic, but I think a more calculating Ripley once the murder occurs would be interesting to see.  If you are a fan of the novel or 1999 version, you should see this film.

Related Links:

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

 

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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