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Purple Noon (Criterion Collection)
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Alain Delon (The Leopard) was at his most impossibly beautiful when Purple Noon (Plein soleil) was released and made him an instant star. This ripe, colorful adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s vicious novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, directed by the versatile René Clément (Forbidden Games), stars Delon as Tom Ripley, a duplicitous American charmer in Rome on a mission to bring his privileged, devil-may-care acquaintance Philippe Greenleaf (Elevator to the Gallows’ Maurice Ronet) back to the United States; what initially seems a carefree tale of friendship soon morphs into a thrilling saga of seduction, identity theft, and murder. Featuring gorgeous on-location photography in coastal Italy, Purple Noon is crafted with a light touch that allows it to be suspenseful and erotic at once, while giving Delon the role of a lifetime.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated Unrated (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.25 x 0.5 inches; 3.2 Ounces
- Item model number : CRRN2208DVD
- Director : René Clément
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
- Run time : 1 hour and 58 minutes
- Release date : December 4, 2012
- Actors : Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : Criterion Collection
- ASIN : B009D004TA
- Number of discs : 1
Best Sellers Rank:
#74,502 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #6,887 in Mystery & Thrillers (Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"Plein soleil" aka "Purple Noon" has the perfect actors playing Tom Ripley (Alain Delon) and Dickie Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet).
The cinematography is mesmerizing and the soundtrack by Nino Rota adds a lot to the entire sinister atmosphere and suspense. Even Hitchcock could not have done this better.
If you only have seen Minghella's "Talented Mr. Ripley" so far, do yourself a big favor and also watch this French original version. You might end up having found another favorite movie...
No matter how often I've watched this on German TV over the past 4 decades, it kept me sitting on the edge of my seat.
The ending is different compared with the Minghella remake, but I won't give it away. You just have to watch it for yourself!
Definitely a master piece. If there would be more than 5 stars, I would have rated it higher.
My tip: read Patricia Highsmith's first 4 Tom Ripley novels (I cannot recommend reading volume 5 "Ripley Under Water" as it's very weak compared with the first 4 Ripley volumes) and then watch the many Ripley movies that are out there by René Clément, Wim Wenders, Anthony Minghella and others:
And then watch other Highsmith movies like "Strangers on a Train", "The Cry of the Owl", "The Blunderer" (Le meurtrier), "The Two Faces of January" etc and get pulled into Patricia Highsmith's sinister world.
"Purple Noon" is a suspense thriller that makes devastating use of time, place and color to create character and propel narrative. The screen virtually simmers in the noon day heat of the maritime sequences which make up a considerable middle portion of the film. Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief" (1955) comes immediately to my mind as a complementary work, with Grace Kelly and Monte Carlo in "Thief" finding Alain Delon and Mongibello as their visual correlatives in "Noon". The French film uses mirror images, real and symbolic, to create a world in which unpleasant rich people enjoy a hedonistic existence to which a poor poseur can only aspire until he kills to get it and to keep it.
We, as viewers, become morally complicit in the murders since we intensely dislike the two victims, wastrels and spoiled brats who use those whom they regard as lesser beings as the objects of their scorn and sadistic jokes.
Tom Ripley, the Delon character, is a con artist, a thief and a forger; Philippe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet) is equally duplicitous, fooling a rich woman into believing he's a blind man. Both men are interested, to some degree, in Marge (Marie Laforet), a would be Fra Angelico biographer who finds her work thrown into the sea by her supposed lover, Philippe. She had earlier shown some of the human kindness rarely exhibited by the characters in this film, caring for the badly sunburnt Tom, who had been set adrift, shirtless, in Philippe's dinghy.
Philippe's treatment of his supposed friends calls to mind the Tennessee Williams dictum that the only unforgiveable sin is conscious cruelty. When Tom strikes back at Philippe and Freddy Miles, his fellow expatriate and condescending boor, we root for Tom's success.
Any threat of an erotic triangle in the offing is frustrated by money: while Tom at times seems interested in both Philippe and Marge, he doesn't really want Philippe. He wants to be Philippe. Tom wears Philippe's clothes perfectly. He imitates his voice perfectly, he signs his name and extracts money from his accounts with confidence and skill. Delon makes the perfect doppelganger, the ultimate homme fatal.
"Purple Noon" was Delon's sixth film, made the same year as "Rocco and His Brothers", Visconti's socialist epic. Delon would find suitable roles in "The Leopard" (1963) and especially the gangster chic films "Le Samourai" (1967),"Le Cercle Rouge" and "Borsalino" both released in 1970. Perhaps his finest performance came in "Mr. Klein"(1976), the Holocaust themed film in which his character's impersonation leads to deadly and tragic results. Here he suggests a Gallic mélange of Robert Redford at the time of "The Downhill Racer" (1969) and Brad Pitt in "Thelma and Louise" (1991); all three of them young cinematic gods at the height of their beauty.
Appreciation is owed to Henri Decae for his stunning cinematography, dazzlingly rendered on this Blu-ray and to Nino Rota, aural prince of classic Italian films, for his flavorsome score which ranges from a tarantella to jazz inflected portions.
Criterion has produced a Blu-ray edition which is typical of the gold standard set by this company. Interviews with scholars and filmmakers, and with the author herself, who objected to the film's ending, are included, as well as an extended essay analyzing the various film components.
One final note: since "Purple Noon" uses French actors in the three primary roles,, two of whom are supposed to be American friends (or not),there is a certain distance between the actors and an American audience.(I know that the same may be said of some Americans and any film bearing subtitles, as decades of film teaching has taught me). The more expansive version of the Highsmith source material was directed by the Briton Anthony Minghella in 1999 and starred Americans Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Briton Jude Law. The two films make for a fascinating comparison between Franco/Italian sensibilities and those of Americans and Britons on the subjects of class and sexuality.
I don't have a Blu-ray player, so my review is based on the new DVD release. While the overall quality is better, there are a few scenes where I didn't see that much of a difference between the old and new DVDs. The best restored scenes, in my opinion, are those taking place in the ocean and on the boat. Here, the pictures are crisp and the photography is beautiful. In other indoor scenes (i.e., the hotel, interrogation with the policeman), this 1960s film still looks a little faded. I've seen better restorations by Criterion, and I'm a little disappointed that it's not that much of a jump in quality. Maybe a better negative wasn't available. As a contrast, I looked at Charade (1963) with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, and Criterion did an excellent job with that film Charade (The Criterion Collection)
Despite this, I'm glad I purchased this DVD. It comes with the original trailer and vintage interviews with Alain Delon and Patricia Highsmith, both in French.
Top reviews from other countries
Alain Delon is the undisputed star, his performance is stellar and there is an underlying hint of danger to his steely beauty. Worth watching for this actor alone. The story of the moocher and forger who doesn't shy away from murder to satisfy his jealousy and greed is well known, not least thanks to Minghella's better known remake with Matt Damon in the title role. But even if you've seen the remake and enjoyed it (as I did, not all remakes are bad), there are still plenty of reasons to watch the original. It's visually beautiful and it has a delightful sense of 1950s Italian dolce vita. I absolutely loved seeing it again.
Now to the DVD. I purchased the Suddeutsche Zeitung / Cinemathek #36 release with the German title "Nur die Sonne war Zeuge" (bottom half of cover is an ugly shade of yellow). Beware, this DVD does not have any English audio or subtitle option. It has the French original audio and a very nice German dubbed version and optional subtitles in German only. I was aware that I was buying a German release and these language options work for me. However, unless you have enough French or German to follow a film without English subtitles, stay away from this version. The picture quality is very nice indeed with good vibrant colours, the sound quality is also excellent. As far as I'm concerned excellent value for money.
Based on the story "The Talented Mr Ripley "(but probably the best version of it) it shows a man (Delon) trying to take over the life of another, including his money and his girlfriend and ultimately leading to murder
It seems at first that he has got away with it, but a surprising twist changes that (as with so many other French thrillers).
Set in a sunny South of France, where everything seems so normal, it is an absorbing drama.