on 2 September 2004
The film is a very interesting (if not entirely faithful) adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'. As for the DVD, however, it is a bit of a mixed bag. Although watchable, the print exhibits a large number of faults, including scratches and occasionally heavy grain. However, these faults are also apparent on the previously-released R1 disc (under the English title 'Purple Noon'), suggesting that the film will not look any better without a proper remastering. Both the R1 and R2 discs are presented in their original 1.66:1 ratio, but unlike the R1 disc, this R2 DVD is anamorphic. The disc also includes the theatrical trailer, missing on the R1.
However, this disc also lacks some features. The R2 disc only contains the original French soundtrack (the best way to watch the film, in my opinion), while the R1 disc contains this track as well as an English dub, for those who do not like reading the subtitled translation. On that topic, the R1 has removable subtitles (reportedly in a nasty yellow font, though!), while the English subtitles on the R2 are fixed. The subtitles appear to have been digitally created for this DVD, and are very clear and defined (if a little big) but some viewers may be disappointed that they cannot be removed from the image.
In conclusion, this is the best release of the film yet on DVD in terms of picture and sound quality, despite still being a bit disappointing. Unless you cannot stand to watch the film in its original language, or do not like fixed subtitles, this is the version to get.
on 6 September 2003
This is the original and best version of The talented Mr Ripley.
Alain Delon is far more believable then Matt Damon as the smooth talking, manipulatve, psychopathic killer,who gets a taste of the good life and doesn't want it to end. This film has a differant ending from the original book by patricia highsmith and the 1999 remake and with a running time of 113 minutes there is little room for padding. The cinematography and Italian settings only add to the sence of menace. This is probably one of French Director Rene clements(forbidden games) best films.
Admit it. At feeding time wouldn't we rather be the snake than the mouse? Even though we might be revolted by the snake's single-minded swallowing, without benefit of a knife and fork, don't we merely shiver a bit and keep watching?
Tom Ripley enjoys a good meal, too. He wants all the good things in life. He doesn't mind causing a little death now and then to get them and to keep them. He takes exception to being looked down upon. Along with Ripley's charm, good nature, easy manners and handsome looks, he has a complete lack of conscience, which combines well with his desire to enjoy what others have.
Patricia Highsmith's intelligent thriller, The Talented Mr. Ripley, first introduced us to Tom. He was poor then but willing to be rich. He was the order-taking, money-holding, envious hanger-on to an over-bearing, arrogant rich young man about his own age. The death of this man, plus a spot of impersonation and forgery, some quick thinking and resourcefulness, put Tom on his path to riches. Of course, it was Tom who did the deed to his friend. Forty minutes into Plein Soleil and Tom Ripley is on his way.
Rene Clement's Plein Soleil (Purple Noon), with an incredibly young and handsome Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, was the first filming of Tom's murderous and successful career. In time we also came to know Tom in Wim Wenders' The American Friend (Ripley's Game) in 1977 with Dennis Hopper as Tom; Anthony Minghella's version of The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), with Matt Damon as Tom, then Liliana Cavani's Ripley's Game in 2002 with John Malkovich as Tom. They all are fine in their own satisfyingly nasty ways, although Wim Wenders' version owes more to Wenders than to Highsmith, and Dennis Hopper as Tom is, in my opinion, a stretch.
Alain Delon not only makes a completely believable young, poor, envious and callow Tom Ripley, he makes us think twice about those quaint ideas of right and wrong. Ripley plots his killings. In the case of Philippe Greenleaf, his first, Greenleaf is so arrogantly wealthy it's a pleasure to reach the moment, on a small yacht in the middle of a sun-drenched Mediterranean, when we know Tom is going to do something about it. Delon (and Clement) entice us into the conspiracy. Tom takes over Greenleaf's identity as well as a good-sized portion of Greenleaf's money, deals with Greenleaf's lover, disposes of loose ends, some alive but one soon to be dead, and deals with the police. But Tom also is an improviser, at his best when he must act or lose everything. Tension bounces back and forth between Ripley's careful planning and then his ability to act, his instincts, his resourcefulness and his luck. Ripley not only is matter-of-fact murderous, he's clever. But be prepared (and this is not a spoiler): The last two minutes are a complete cop-out.
We might be a bit revolted at Tom's activities, but just as we watch that snake in the zoo, we can't help but hope Tom Ripley successfully digests all he attempts to swallow.
So which Tom Ripley of the four versions do you like? Me? Damon does a fine job as the young Tom, but Delon is superb. For the older and more assured Tom, it's Malkovich in a class by himself over the incongruously cast Dennis Hopper. The DVD transfer of Plein Soleil is adequate. The movie deserves a first-class release.
"Purple Noon," ("Plein Soleil") (!960), is a classic of the French cinema, a full-color crime/thriller/drama set on the luscious Italian Riviera. It was adapted and directed by highly- respected French director Rene Clement, (Criterion Coll: Forbidden Games ), from The Talented Mr. Ripley, a thriller by the American author Patricia Highsmith, best-known for Strangers On A Train. PURPLE NOON gives us loads of lush and beautiful scenery, and two of the most beautiful French leading men of the time, Alain Delon (Alain Delon - The Screen Icons Collection [DVD]) and Maurice Ronet (After The Fox [DVD] ). It was the first filmed treatment of this important, insidious novel, which quite likely owes its kernel to Henry James' The Ambassadors. Highsmith's novel, of course, was to be filmed again, more recently in 1999, as The Talented Mr Ripley , in English, by British director Anthony Minghella. That version was to star Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
However, in PURPLE NOON, the cagey Tom Ripley, who is played by Alain Delon, is sent to Europe by a Mr. Greenleaf to fetch back his spoiled, playboy son, Philippe, played by Maurice Ronet (known as Dickie in the novel and the Minghella version, and why did they ever change it here?). Tom is to receive $5,000 for this pleasant chore. Philippe toys with Tom, pretending he will go back; nevertheless, he has no intentions of honoring his father's wishes or of leaving his bride to be, Marge, played by Marie Laforet, a Stockard Channing look-alike. As time passes, Mr. Greenleaf comes to consider the mission a failure and cuts Tom off. Tom then kills Philippe, and co-opts his enviable life. However, Ripley's complicated impersonation begins to entrap him, and suspense builds. He will need all his abilities as a conman to keep Philippe's friends and the police off his much too hot trail.
THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY is first in a five-book Ripley series penned by Highsmith, known to its fans as the Ripleyiad. This is a sexy, and gorgeous looking film adaptation, but it veers off in some odd directions, perhaps motivated by the more puritan American market of the time. Oddest, to me, is the omission of the strong homoerotic currents between Ripley and Greenleaf that haunt both the underlying book and the later film. Ripley, instead, is here made much more heterosexual than his creator envisioned him. Other odd plot changes from Highsmith's underlying book would make it much more difficult to film the later books of the Ripleyiad. Nevertheless, the movie is worth a viewing on its own terms: it is tight and suspenseful, set in beautiful Italian scenery, and stars two beautiful men, each of whom we get to see in great eyefuls.
Overall this a superb take on Patricia Highsmith's Talented Mr Ripley. Its certainly a match, if not better than the more recent Anthony Mingella version.
The story is somewhat changed from the later film (I have not read the book) but like the later film this is riveting entertainment. Fast-paced and well directed, this moves along at great pace and you are continually torn between liking Ripley for his cleverness and wanting him to be caught.
I really only have two criticisms of the film. Firstly as a previous reviewer said at the end there is a big shock, which results in an ending to the film that I didn't like. Again as the previous reviewer said I can't elaborate on this without spoiling the film. Secondly I prefer John Malkovich as Ripley. See his performance in Ripleys Game. That said Ripleys Game is not as good a film as this one.
on 11 August 2015
If you like The Talented Mr Ripley, you might probably love this, because it's the film who inspired it and the first one ever made from the zoatrici Highsmith book. If you did not like it, maybe you will like this, because is less glamourous and more cinical, classy, dry and mysterious. i liked Minghella's film but I must admit that this one is even more intriguing and Alain Delon depicts his chacracter in a silent, unsettling and mysterious way (although I think that Matt Damon gave one of her best performances in the remake). The director made some of the best french noir films (and not just that)
on 11 August 2013
39 years before the Matt Damon-Jude Law adaptation, Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr Ripley was filmed, in French, with Alain Delon as Tom Ripley. This version dispenses with the set up of Ripley being commissioned by Greenleaf's father to find his missing son, and simply begins with Tom and Philippe (not Dickie) Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet) on a drunken spree in Rome. Tom demonstrates his skill for copying handwriting as a party trick, and the pair buy the cane from a blind man and pick up a temporarily prim tourist for what very nearly becomes a three-way in the back of a horse-drawn carriage. Back in preposterously picturesque Mongibello, Philippe's fiancé Marge (Marie Laforet) is not impressed, but allows Tom to join the couple on their yacht. Tom snoops and yearns; Philippe semi-accidentally casts him adrift in a dinghy, and later throws Marge's manuscript overboard after an argument. Marge finally takes her suitcase full of fetching stripy one piece swimsuits and asks to be put ashore, setting the scene for Tom to tantalise Philippe by telling him how he'd kill him and assume his identity order to spend his fortune, and then go through with the plan. Tom has to avoid detection by various mutual acquaintances, including the odious Freddy (Bill Kearns, making an equally strong impression as P. S. Hoffmann in the remake), resume his own identity, and eventually win over Marge, who has decided, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the missing Philippe wasn't all bad.
I thoroughly enjoyed Plein Soleil, and not at all in that working through the canon, only 654 more films to watch before I die sort of way. (1001 Films... has an interestingly diverse list, by an impressive range of critics. I actually haven't counted the films I've seen, yet.) Ripley and Greenleaf have a shockingly callous idea of fun, with a strong homoerotic undercurrent that the latter disclaims and the former embraces. There's a riveting scene in which Delon dresses in Ronet's clothes and murmurs lovingly to his reflection in the mirror, "No Marge, we won't let him come between us", before being discovered by the other man. The pair remain repelled and attracted, with Greenleaf finding his fetching fiancé becoming a spectator and afterthought. Philippe thinks he has Tom's measure, but doesn't understand that the other man has no limits. I was reminded of the way the updated Tinker, Tailor... thought itself very bold for shifting Hayden's homosexuality from subtext to text, whereas in fact films like this one have been handling such themes as a matter of course for 50 years and more. I'm not arguing that Ripley defines himself as gay, just that he doesn't discount this part of himself in pursuing his broader appetites and desires.
It's an extraordinarily beautiful film in every way, starting with the cast. Delon was godlike at 25, Laforet as Marge holds her own, and there's a single scene cameo from Romy Schneider, yet another staggering '60s beauty with whom I was unaccountably unfamiliar. Rome and Mongibello are shot in glorious sunshine, the menswear both confirms that the early 1960s represented an all time zenith of style and could mostly be worn today, and there's a glimpse of a white Alfa which is to die for.
The tension and intensity of the first part of the film become slightly more conventional after Greenleaf is killed, but it's never simply a routine detective story. As well as Ripley's delight in his inventiveness and the sense that he is observing both his actions and the absence of moral limits, there are delightfully stylish touches, like the classic shot looking up through the well of a spiral staircase, with a limp hand trailing over the balustrade as Ripley disposes of a body.
The film simultaneously gives the pleasure of being a pristine '60s time capsule, with the rich colours of old photographs, while feeling thoroughly modern in performance, pacing and themes. No hard work will be required of you - this is purely enjoyable.
Plein Soleil is a taut thriller with good plot and pacing but less character development.We see the idle rich in an Italy of the late 50s.The surfaces of the film,Mediterranean blue seas,gorgeous clothes and apartments, the sunny streets of Naples and Rome,boat-trips to Sicily are captured by the cinematography of Decae. Tom Ripley (Alain Delon) is seen first in streets of La Dolce Vita carousing with Philippe Greenleaf(Maurice Ronet),picking up women.Ripley has to persuade Greenleaf to return to San Fransisco on a commission from Greenleaf Snr.,to get him away from the decadent lifestyle he's given himself up to. Greenleaf thinks he'll go back with Ripley,but then deciding not to, tags him along and Ripley gets caught up in the ripples of hedonism in his target's slipstream. Clement's film is deceptive: outward beauty,inner corruption.Ripley is a cold psychopath whose charm allows him to worm his way in;we are repelled and seduced by his narcissistic cleverness.He is secretly drawn to Marge(La Foret),aims to seduce her.She is Greenleaf's mistress and is aware Philippe is being led astray by Ripley and competes with Ripley forPhilippe's attention.The couple split and he drops her off the boat ; Philippe and Ripley pursue their macho mind games on board. Ripley is open about wanting to kill Philippe and take his wealth and life-style.Philippe thinks he's joking.In a scene of breath-taking brutality Ripley stabs him through the heart and the scenes of wrapping up the body in canvas and rope is shot by hand-held cameras in real time. He proceeds to forge documents,passports,use Philippe's typewriter to forge letters/signatures by Dickie. His plans have to be matched by his impulses and he has to play both Philippe and Ripley at the same or different times.Of course in the book Philippe is called Dickie.
We are drawn in by the tension he creates and the disasters he skirts.He also has to bump off Freddie,one of Philippe's old friends,who loathes his parasitism on Philippe.The scene where Delon carries Freddie's body down the stairs at night takes place in real time and all the weight of bearing a dead body is registered by Delon's exhaustion.He is pursued by the police.He manufactures a suicide letter and lots of cash from Philippe's supposed will bequeathing it to Marge,which the police find.He completes his seduction of Marge and we will him to escape.The ending departs from the novel due to the difficulty in having an amoral killer with no remorse in the 1960s. Rota(of La Dolce Vita)does a sunny film score,the cinematography is excellent and Delon's role made him famous as the glamorous,ultra-cool villain.I preferred this version to Minghella's later version where the homo-erotic overtones are emphasised but the film goes on too long and loses the drive of the story in character development and the pursuing of too many subplots,coincidences and extra characters.Highsmith liked this version and compared to the later one it is the real Italy.This film made Delon famous,however his physical beauty makes his personality impenetrable to dramatise Ripley's role-playing,like a mannequin upon which is transferred the fortune of his victim.He is a virtual blank slate, a murderous empty vessel that trades poverty and social ostracism for wealth and access to the upper class. While none of those traits are absent in Highsmith's characterisation, they remain, for the most part, subordinate to Ripley's consistently deliberated machinations. He is only here a social upstart,not a purveyor of a set of social principles that possess purpose in his universe.If you are prepared to forgive the ending,remember there's no moral compass in the Highsmith's worldview,there is no guilt or remorse,just manipulations ofcircumstance to one's own advantage,albeit with a little homicide thrown in.
on 12 January 2009
Plein Soleil = Full Sun, let's get that out of the way to start with for those who manage sub-titled films in spite of them being in foreign languages!
It's the same basic story as the much later version mentioned by the other reviewers "The Talented Mr Ripley" (TTMR). Some of the scenes are virtually identical in their scripting and setting but significantly the story line does differ quite a bit. In this French version Ripley admits to Philipe (Dickie in TTMR)that he is going to kill him and impersonate him for his money, which is apparently taken as an idle threat or joke.
It lacks the gay intrigue that is very much the sub-plot to TTMR and feels less substantial for it.
The scenery and the cars - so many Fiat cinquecentos (500's)and everything else about late 1959/1960 in Italy make it interesting on another level. There's no partial flash of nudity in this one, no cheeky flash of Mr Ripleys bum coming out of the bath, very much a product of the straighter laced mid 20th century. The ending, yes its different, a pretty neat one I think but not as tragic as at the end of TTMR.
It's worth a watch, it's different to its later incarnation but enjoy it for the interpretation it is. My favourite however is the later version with Matt Damon
on 23 February 2012
Compelling throughout; fantastic photography; beautiful people; builds to wicked climax; just so stylish; influential over a thousand lesser Mediterranean pictures and TV series; twisty plot; Patricia Highsmith liked it; nice music; Alain Delon! Why not 5 stars? Perhaps a bit too MUCH style? NOTE! I saw it again recently and I couldn't understand why I hesitated. It really is a brilliant film and I can't really fault it. Time flies - a fascinating film which Hitchcock would have been more than proud of.