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Plein soleil
Italy, France
Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
René Clément
Lily Romanelli as Housekeeper
Viviane Chantel as The Belgian lady
Billy Kearns as Freddy Miles (as Bill Kearns)
Ave Ninchi as Signora Gianna
Erno Crisa as Riccordi
Marie Laforêt as Marge Duval
Maurice Ronet as Philippe Greenleaf
Elvire Popesco as Mrs. Popova
Frank Latimore as O'Brien
Alain Delon as Tom Ripley / Philippe Greenleaf
Storyline: Tom Ripley is sent to Europe by Mr. Greenleaf to fetch his spoiled, playboy son, Philippe, and bring him back home to the States. In return, Tom will receive $5,000. Philippe toys with Tom, pretending he will go back home, but has no intentions of leaving his bride to be, Marge, and honoring his father's wishes. After some time passes, Mr. Greenleaf considers the mission a failure and cuts Tom off. Tom, in desperation, kills Philippe, assumes his identity, and lives the life of a rich playboy. However, he will need all his conman abilities to keep Philippe's friends and the police off the trail.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
HQ DVD-rip 720x576 px 4527 Mb mpeg2video 5624 Kbps mkv Download
My two cents

Personally, I don't think Alain Delon is miscast as Ripley. He makes a far better Ripley than Matt Damon. This is because unlike Minghella, Clement realises that Ripley is not a victim. He is a chancer.
Interesting Original Adaptation
Having seen the remake version of 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' first several years ago when it came out and now seeing the original adaptation, I must say that both have their pluses and minuses.

'Purple Noon' has the problem that it jumps right into the story, rather than building up Tom's background, as the latter version did. But neither version I felt really motivated the Tom character to take possession of Greenleaf's life. Why? In both versions, Tom is an awkward geek who turns violent because he's too lazy to make his own money. (insecure?) So he hijacks someone else's life as that is the easier route. But I felt the friendship (homoerotic tones?) tension was not enough to inspire Tom to commit murder. In the latter version, yes, Jude Law is a snobby jerk enough that you do wanna ring his neck. But that's his character. I just felt that Tom's character was not fully realized in the beginning of either movie and therein lies the failure.

I just happen to coincidentally read the novella before I saw either movie and I found the original source to be far superior to either film. Now there's lies the tension and motivation I so need in my characters, flawed and corrosive as they are.

Additionally, both versions are gorgeous to look at. Now I wanna visit that part of southern Italy I have never been to.
The young Tom Ripley and murder: A match made in heaven
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.
"Chasing girls isn't as bad as killing!"
Taking a look at Rene Clement's IMDb page,I discovered that I had unknowingly picked up one of his films last year!,which led to me getting ready to find out how talented Mr. Ripley is.

The plot:

Penniless, Tom Ripley is offered a lot of money from the father of his old friend Philippe Greenleaf,who Ripley is asked to locate in Italy,and to bring back home to the US. Arriving in Italy,Ripley soon runs into Greenleaf and his girlfriend Marge Duval. Half- heartedly pushing Greenleaf to go back,Ripley puts the task aside,and starts to enjoying indulging in the life of luxury surrounding Greenleaf.

Becoming fixated on Greenleaf and his romance with Duval,Ripley starts to do impressions of Greenleaf,which includes doing a perfect copy of his signature.Hating his fixation,Greenleaf starts to become very abusive.Wanting to get revenge on Greenleaf and to stay in the lifestyle,Ripley begins making plans to kill Greenleaf,and to steal his complete identity.

View on the film:

Riding the lush waves into Italy,co-writer/(along with Paul Gégauff) directing auteur Rene Clement & cinematographer Henri Decaë continue Clement's theme of the movies being based in a claustrophobic Film Noir world,where the high seas that the trio pass around Italy are hidden with dazzlingly tightly held,cramped shots subtly expressing the vacuum which is filled with Ripley's obsessions and Greenleaf's shallow, decadent life style. Keeping Ripley quick on his feet to avoid the game being solved,Clement heats the title up in sun dried Film Noir shades which roll out in gliding tracking shots as Ripley tries to keep his increasingly bloody hands hidden from view.

Bringing Ripley in as an outsider for their adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's book,the screenplay by Clement and Gégauff drops Ripley,Greenleaf and Duval on steady plates which allow them each to let their pampered sides run wild, until the frictions buried underneath the glamour cause the relationships to be snapped with a ruthless earthquake. Needing to play down the homosexual and amoral subtext of the book,the writers are still able to brilliantly unveil the lacking in empathy Film Noir shadow hanging over Ripley,by turning each new encounter Ripley makes of keeping his soulless Film Noir "mask" intact,at any cost.

Given just a short amount of time before he is met head on with a Ripley special, Billy Kearns gives the delightfully large, chomping at the scenery performance as Freddy Miles. Becoming the object of Ripley's desires, Maurice Ronet gives a great performance as Greenleaf,due to Ronet carefully chipping away at Greenleaf's slick image to break into his viciously self-obsessed Noir heart.Swimming into their lives, Alain Delon initially presents Ripley as laid- back,with their being little sign of the power games laying ahead.Pulled into a new skin,Delon hits the second of the title with a calculated intensity,thanks to Delon pushing Ripley's sharp Noir nihilism slowly out of the darkness and into the burning,doom-laden sun. Caught in the middle,the eye-catching Marie Laforêt gives a very good performance as the fragile Duval,who is asked by Ripley if she believes it or not.
Clément's camera is always in some unexpected place that enhances the drama and tightens the suspense; Alain Delon makes an excellent Tom Ripley
I'm fascinated by a scene at a restaurant. We get an extreme close-up of a woman who is kept out of focus while another character in the background, who is speaking and is in the center of the shot, remains in focus. Is the woman who is out of focus important or not? More to the point, was shooting it this way a good idea? It illustrates by contrast how sure-footed René Clément is most of the time. Usually there can be no debate.

I wasn't familiar with Clément's work until this film, but my God, he's good. His camera is always in some unexpected place that enhances the drama and tightens the suspense. He shares that talent with Orson Welles (meaning the Welles of "Citizen Kane" and "The Magnificent Ambersons," not, say, "Lady from Shanghai"), who also made decisions that are surprising yet invariably right.

Tom Ripley (Alain Delon) and Phillipe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet) are lately inseparable friends. They're both idling in Europe, but on papa Greenleaf's dime. Phillipe's fiancée Marge (Marie Laforêt) feels sorry for Tom but resents his presence. Phillipe's other friend, Freddie (Billy Kearns), considers Tom Ripley a worthless moocher. But there's more to Tom Ripley, the mimic, the forger, the talented criminal improviser, than anyone, even Tom Ripley himself, can guess.

Alain Delon, with his chiseled looks and cold beauty, makes an excellent Tom Ripley. The script is brilliantly adapted from Patricia Highsmith's terrific suspense novel, "The Talented Mr. Ripley": the dialogue is always bringing the themes of duplicity, love, self-love, the nature of identity, ruthlessness and murder to the surface where they are given a brilliant sheen by Clément and his cinematographer Henri Decaë.

We're left to figure things out for ourselves, which is rare. Do we need to be told what Tom thinks of when he sees all those dead fish? When a door with a mirror swings open toward Tom, do we need to see Tom's mirror image to understand the mirror's significance? Or is it enough that we know there's a mirror next to Tom? I know what the answers would have been in Hollywood—in 1960 and now. Here, the answers are no, no and yes.
Strangers on a Boat
In scenic Italy, criminally handsome Alain Delon (as Tom Ripley) has become friendly with hedonistic Maurice Ronet (as Philippe Greenleaf). Hired by his friend's wealthy father, Mr. Delon hopes to collect $5,000 for bringing Mr. Ronet back home to San Francisco. They may never get there. The party-loving men go out on Ronet's boat, along with girlfriend Marie Laforet (as Marge Duval). There, murderous intentions bubble to the surface...

There are few minor problems with this revision of novelist Patricia Highsmith's "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1955). Still, you will see a lot of perfection on the screen. Under skillful and innovative direction from Rene Clement, Delon's devastatingly handsome, aloof and sneaky anti-hero perversely appealed to viewers. He became a major star. On or off the water, Henri Decae's photography is appropriately drop-dead gorgeous and Nino Rota's musical score is surprisingly complimentary. The story was memorably re-made in 1999 by director Anthony Minghella, with the primary roles filled by Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. The 1999 version took gay subtext and shoved it up your screen. You did not see much of that in 1960...

Even in France...

Although it drifts too far from the source, this version still rocks the boat.

********* Plein soleil (1960-03-10) Rene Clement ~ Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, Marie Laforet, Billy Kearns
Good ending, but 1999 ending is better
There are many reasons to enjoy this version more than the 1999 film. By cutting to the chase (when the film opens, Ripley has already met up with Greenleaf and Marge in Italy), you're pulled right into the story. This film runs 25 minutes less – and seems even shorter because the tension builds from the very beginning (whereas Minghella's film sets up a lot of exposition). The gay angle is pretty heavily hinted at throughout most of this film, although it's clear at the end that Ripley is at least playing at being straight. Alain Delon is great and the ending does pack a wallop.

But in one critical way, the 1999 version is far better (warning – spoiler): at the end of that film, just as Ripley thinks he's beaten the odds, he is forced to destroy something he loves in order to extricate himself from yet another lie. In the end, he is left with only himself to blame for the emptiness of his life. You have sit through a lot to get to that ending, but it breaks your heart in a way that the 1960 version doesn't.

(Interestingly, neither ending is apparently faithful to the book, but both are better.)
Early Delon
Rene Clement's "Plein soleil" offers a young Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, a character known to more recent audiences as the hero of the Anthony Mingella 1999 "The Talented Mr. Ripley." It is nice to note that both films hold their own well, with the Mingella providing more character and background information than the Clement version.

Delon, who was to become a favorite actor of Visconti and other fine French and Italian directors, renders a skillful performance, along with Maurice Ronet as Phillipe Greenleaf (known as "Dickie" in the later Mingella opus).

Clement keeps the camera focused on the handsome M. Delon (as did Visconti) with stark closeups to show detailed emotional reactions. Delon manages to rise to the challenge in subtle ways, and to project a fully realized character. While Clement fails to provide much background as to why this character acts the way he does, Delon's photogenic countenance somewhat overcomes this void by masking it with personality and charm.

We can be thankful to Martin Scorcese for the fine reprint of this memorable French thriller, known in the UK and USA as "Purple Noon."
A delight
This 1960 version of the novel "Talented Mr.Ripley" beats the 1999 one clearly. Although other one was also good and more faithful to the novel, it dragged on a bit too much towards the end and Damon was just not a good choice for the leading role. Here we get to see Alain Delon, in his best days as actor and matinée idol.

There are notable differences between this Ripley and the other one. He is not a homosexual here, so his murder of Phillippe Greenleaf is provoked solely by envy of his wealth and luxurious lifestyle, as well as the fact that he does what he wants and still gets away with it because he is the son of a bigshot. So this murder is cooler and more calculated than the one in the other film and the novel, I presume.

I think that due to the time this film was made at, Ripley was turned into a heterosexual and thus his motif and personality differs somewhat from the original one. He also partly desires Greenleaf's sweet and forgiving girlfriend, Marge. The most interesting fact is that although Tom Ripley is a murderer and a crook, we still feel sympathy for him, or I do. The man he murdered was quite despicable and treated him like second class, an expendable thing, as he treated his women and in some way his own girlfriend. I believe Tom has a dislike for morally corrupt people and a sense of righteousness. His crime is therefore forgivable. He was a poor guy who wanted to get himself a piece of the cake and he did it.

Delon is truly outstanding here. Other actors are solid, but he really shines. The last scene is the best and in some way both touching and sad, as we see Tom lying on the deckchair and drinking, blissfully unaware of what lurks around the corner. It is a magnificent touch by Rene Clement, a man whose work I have just started to get acquainted with and respect. Nino Rota's score enhances it all and makes this a true delight. Plein Soleil is really one of the best film-noirs I have seen.
Under the Sun, a film about the story of Mr Tom Ripley
Two stars of the French cinematography, Alain Delon and Maurice Ronet, combined their efforts in this excellent film, which showed good views of Rome and Italy in its first half. The second part becomes the decisive one when Ripley (Delon)jealous of the wealthy position of Philippe Greenleaf (Ronet) decides to kill him in a yacht. Ripley intelligently was able to behave and sign bank checks as if he was Greenleaf. Even he conquered the love of Greenleaf's girl friend, but the end surprised him and everyone watching the film.

This type of films should be among the 250 best of the last century, but for unknown reasons it is not included.
See Also
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