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I saw this before I read the Patricia Highsmith mystery novel from which it was adapted, and before seeing the recent and excellent The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. Here the accomplished French director René Clément has Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet and Marie Laforêt as his stars in this very fine interpretation. Seeing it again only confirms my high opinion.

The fact that "Purple Noon" plays well after forty years is a testament to Clément's clean, objective direction and his faithful adherence to the Hitchcock formula. Pretty poor boy goes after everything pretty rich boy has, including his yacht and his girl friend in this tightly focused thriller. We see once again--cf., Polanski's Knife in the Water (1962) and the early Nicole Kidman vehicle Dead Calm (1989)--that some very bad things can happen when you get two men and one woman on a yacht in the middle of a whole lot of water. Note too the Mediterranean rock island atmosphere reminiscent of Antonioni's L'Avventura (1960). It will probably get me into trouble with Italian film aficionados to add that it's a little surprising that both films are from the same year, inasmuch as Plein Soleil is still a treat to watch, while L'Avventura seems terribly dated. Perhaps the beautiful use of color and the charming locales and interiors so well done by Clément make the difference.

Delon is a particularly "pretty" and uncomplicated Tom Ripley, while Ronet is a somewhat nasty and macho Philippe ("Dickie" in the novel) Greenleaf, and Laforêt is a very sensual and sexy Marge. All do a good job and are well directed by Clément whose attention to detail in all aspects of the production is admirable. The fish market scene and the scene where Ripley projects Philippe's signature on the wall in order to practice it, and especially the cold, windy feel of being aboard the yacht work very well and keep us engaged.

Comparing the Minghella film, I would say it owes something to Plein Soleil (e.g., the jazz motif, the real love between Marge and Philippe) but is essentially a different spin. Perhaps the most important difference is that there is no sexual ambiguity to Ripley's character in this film as there was in both the novel and Minghella's production. Clément plays it straight throughout also eschewing any sort of psychological study of Ripley's murderous nature. He even deviates from Highsmith's daring (at the time) resolution for something more traditional. Nonetheless the very clever ending is beautifully ironic and will give you a surprising jolt.

--Dennis Littrell, author of "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!"
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on September 17, 2003
I discovered Plein Soleil in France while living in Paris and since it had a four star rating (out of four) in the TV review, I decided to tape it, and have not regretted it since. I have seen the film four times and simply never get tired of it.
My friends and family were disappointed in the American Ripley film version and I really wanted them to see this, the original film. However, I was not willing to translate every single line from French into English (irritating for all involved... defeats the purpose...) and I could not find a copy of the movie with subtitles.
Then I found that Plein Soleil existed under the title "Purple Noon" in English and was overjoyed. As the other reviewers have already noted, the cinematography is superb, and, Alain Delon, pretty boy or not, is sublime. (And I was not a fan of his- quite the contrary- before seeing this film). The twist and sense of poetic justice at the end was far more gratifying than the Talented Mr. Ripley.
To me this is a PERFECT MOVIE. Just to give you a sense of my taste, other "perfect films" in my book are "Cyrano de Bergerac" (version with Gerard Depardieu), "Goodfellas", and "Rocco et I suoi fratelli" (Viscomti- an Italian drama also starring a young Alain Delon).
Call it Plein Soleil or Purple Noon- what you get is style, suspense, finesse, and French class.
An American formerly in Paris
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on February 24, 2001
Who in their right mind would even consider big toothed childlike Matt Damon in the role of the classic beautiful Alain Delon? Please lets be real for a moment and not go off into the bizzare and just stick to this original version. The filming, the acting, the direction, untouchable and superior. The lesson here is don't attempt to touch a classic, it will always be viewed as second rate.
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on November 6, 2000
No matter how powerful a sunscreen you wear, you'll still be scorched by the pernicious heat of Purple Noon. This sunbaked French thriller, originally released in 1960 and now reissued under Martin Scorsese's imprimatur, is an elegant tale of murder on the French Riviera.
Delon, looking as languidly sleek and dangerous as a panther at rest, portrays an amoral young man who knocks off a playboy pal (Maurice Ronet) and then coolly takes possession of the dead man's name, bank account and, eventually, fiancée (Marie Laforêt). As directed by René Clément (Forbidden Games), it's all très smart, sexy and suspenseful, and Delon, well, let's just say he is one mighty cute croissant.
Yes, The Talented Mr. Ripley as it should be.
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on December 24, 1999
the movie is just brilliant. Its loosely based on on the novel but is a classic in its own right. cool performance by Alain Delon who is perfect as Tom Ripley. Cold, confident, and calculating. One of the best films of the suspense genre. sumptuously shot with beautiful music by the guy who did 'La Dolce Vita.' One of the best films i've ever seen. Perfect example of french film noir of the sixties. Also, Alain Delon is the best-looking actor ever.
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on August 7, 2001
Tom Ripley played by... Alain Delon?! How the tall, spoiled, and chiseled leading man with the perfect hair be casted as the devious underdog is uncertain, but it worked... to perfection. Delon is born to play Ripley the same way Sean Connery is born to drink martini. Everything in this film worked, not the least it has us rooting for the sinister. The pacing is excellent: Clement often pauses for the audience to contemplate the crime before Delon swiftly introduces the cover-up. All the while building up tension against the sunny backdrop of the Mediterranean.
I saw Purple Noon before Minghella's 1999 fiasco. I am the only one in my circle of friends who didn't like "The Talendted Mr. Ripley." Sorry Matt Damon, but you should've phoned Delon for some acting tips.
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on February 12, 2000
A different (and somewhat more traditional) spin on Patricia Highsmith's "The Talented Mr. Ripley." Alain Delon is a more convincing double-edged protagonist than is Matt Damon. This first version is taut, highly suspenseful and, ultimately, more satisfying than the 1999 version. (The wrap-up is breathtaking -- and totally unlike the newer, Anthony Minghella version.) Brilliantly photographed and certainly worth a look.
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on September 12, 2007
Forget Matt Damon. Ladies, Alain Delon will crawl up your skin and send tingles where you want tingles to be and where you don't want them to be. Hard to explain the appeal of this film from 1960 but it is far more definitive and truer to the novel than johnny-come-lately versions. The Talented Mr Riply delivers a performance that defined his career up to 'Le Samourai' which defined 'cool' to several generations thereafter. Largely unknown in the USA, after some ill fated attempts at Holywood movies in the late sixties, Delon is one of France's biggest stars. He and Jean-Paul Belmondo were the Redford and Newman of their generation. His looks work to his advantage here but his eyes offer a depth of hunger, greed, and avarice that few actors could have pulled off encased in all that male beauty. An excellent movie for contemplating just how far you'd go to have someone else's wealth and life.
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VINE VOICEon July 29, 2006
Patricia Highsmith's THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY might be the finest American suspense thriller ever written. A clever young man from a disadvantaged background is sent abroad by an industrialist to bring home the latter's spoiled and vicious son; befriending the young rotter in Italy, the antihero becomes enamored of his decadent lifestyle and kills him so he can assume his identity. The novel is not only suspenseful but it forms a brilliant disquisition on the nature of identity at mid-century, and its relationship to texts, reputation, and capital. Two very intelligent films have been made from it that capture different parts of it successfully: the latest is Anthony Minghella's 1999 big-budget Hollywood thriller starring Matt Damon, but the first was this beautifully photographed French version directed by Rene Clement starring Alain Delon as Ripley.

Clement's version succeeds best in its evocation of the lovely rarefied atmosphere of the tourist Italy of the American jetset: the cinematography has a crystalline postcard beauty that makes Rome and the Italian coast seem supernatually beautiful. It also has a much better Ripley in Delon than Minghella had in Damon: Delon is much less hesitant and much more desperate and amoral, and he also has the requisite handsomeness (and facial resemblance to the rich wastrel he murders and replaces) that Damon lacks. As the gorgeous, cruel Dickie Greenleaf (here called Phillipe), Maurice Ronet is absolutely first-rate, toying with Ripley in the mistaken belief that he holds all the cards in their friendship. Less successful as Phillipe's emotionally abused girlfriend Marge is Marie Leforet, who doesn't seem to react to Phillipe at all as an American girl would ever conceiveably do. The film is great at conveying an aura of homoerotic decadence, but it loses quite a bit by beginning the story in medias res: by not showing us the circumstances from which Ripley came, we have little sense at what is at stake in his masquerade. But this is this fine adaptation's only major shortcoming.
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on December 8, 2004
This is one out of just two movies (the other being Trainspotting) that liked so much I wanted to read the book (once I found it it was a book). Usually I love the book and hate the movie with a passion. While I must admit that this movie doesn't exactly follow the book step by step, it does stick to the story (unlike Minghella's version). Even with it's differences, I still loved the film.

The cinematography (sp?) is beautiful, the film is suspensful and compelling, and the casting is all you could ever want. Maurice Ronet makes for a wonderful Dickie Greenleaf. He's detached, self-centred, and cruel. He seems to be playing some sort of game with Marge's emotions rather than actually loving her. Ronet's Dickie is just like in the book, an arse. Although Clement's Marge is more independent and more beautiful than she seems to be in Patricia Highsmith's novel, she's still Marge. I think I actually like her better in the movie, Marie Laforet makes her more sympathetic. As for Alain Delon, not only is he gorgeous, but he plays Tom marvelously. He really makes you root for a killer.

I showed this movie to a friend of mine who's never watched foriegn film. She told me that the film always kept her guessing and she couldn't take her eyes off the screen because she was so engrossed in the story. She also said that Delon's portrayal of Tom really makes your opinion of the character change througout the film. She's currently reading the book. Not only that; after Purple Noon, I showed her Der Krieger Und Die Kaiserin and now I've got her hooked on foriegn film (;

To put it very simply, you must see this film!
See my review for Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley for a comparison of the two movies (and to read how bad Minghella's version is).
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