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Purple Noon

(Plein soleil)
France/Italy 1960. Dir: René Clément. 119 min. 35mm

French veteran Réne Clément (Forbidden Games) directs this intoxicating cocktail of sunny Mediterranean hedonism and chilling noir suspense, adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s vicious 1955 novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, and featuring a young Alain Delon in the role that made him a star. Delon plays icy, envious Tom Ripley, who’s sent to rescue Philippe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet), son of a wealthy industrialist, from a life of la dolce vita dissolution. Instead, Tom starts coveting Philippe’s life of luxury, and plots to assume his identity. Marie Laforêt is Marge, Philippe’s girlfriend. Clément’s deliciously decadent film has glorious colour cinematography by Henri Decaë, known for his work with Chabrol, Melville, and Malle, and a score by frequent Fellini collaborator Nino Rota. The film’s gay subtext was daring for its day. Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, a 1999 adaptation, starred Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow.


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REVIEWS

"Clément succeeds in making his film as beautiful on the surface and strange and sinister below deck as Ripley himself."

Time Out | full review

"A thriller of classic style and poise — one that's never been eclipsed."

Telegraph | full review