Summer film 7: Plein soleil (1960)

Anthony Minghella’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ is a wonderful film that should definitely be on your summer viewing list but somehow I like René Clément’s version (called ‘Purple Noon’ in English) even more. It’s more faithful to the book and Alain Delon has a kind of glacial, dangerous edge to his Ripley which makes Matt Damon seem a bit dull. Maybe if Jude Law had played him instead, they’d be evenly matched.

Clément was the first to adapt this book and it’s a great pity that he’s rather neglected today.

Everything about this film oozes style from the opening credits, the clothes, the gorgeous photography by the great Henri Decaë (particularly the yacht scenes) and the wonderful score by Nino Rota. Delon’s Ripley and Maurice Ronet’s Philippe Geenleaf look disturbingly alike and you can feel the tension between them building up constantly. Delon is so beautiful and charismatic though that you find yourself wanting him to get away with it, despite knowing that he’s simply a cold blooded killer.

This is a gripping, sun drenched thriller where jealousy and murder are never far below the surface.

 

 

 

 

 

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