Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.
Tuesday, 28 August 2012
Summer re-runs: Tom Ripley's purple noon
PLEIN SOLEIL: Based on the novel by crime scribe Patricia Highsmith (who also wrote STRANGERS ON A TRAIN) Rene Clement's striking study from 1960 of a glamorous and complex psychopath features a career-defining turn from a young, beautiful and ultra-cool Alain Delon. In a taut, expertly crafted thriller Delon is Tom Ripley, an emissary sent by a wealthy American industrialist to save his son, errant playboy Dickie Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet) from a life of decadence in Italy. Insinuating himself into Greenleaf's existance Ripley practices his signature, dresses up in his clothes before attempting to steal his life, his girl and of course his money.
Recenly remade as the star-studded THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY, PLEIN SOLEIL (PURPLE NOON) is an engrossing meditation on transference and deceit, highly rated by the famously critical Highsmith. The film is a genuinely stylish original. So says the dvd blurb - but I am sure Highsmith was not pleased that her ending was changed, as back in 1960 our hero could not be seen to be getting away with it.
It is an odd sensation returning to a key movie of one's youth. I saw this circa 1960 in my small town cinema in Ireland when I was about 14 and suddenly I was aware of European glamour and beauty and decadence. Though I have written about it quite a bit here (see labels) I had not actually sat down and watched it for a long time ... back then I was fascinated by the two boys enjoying their trip to Rome and that fantastic introduction to Marge with the Fra Angelico pictures and her singing that song and strumming the guitar and then we see her eyes ...
Visually, this film could serve as a cinematic poster for a Mediterranean cruise. Cinematographer Henri Decae draws us into the film with its alluring Italian locales and gorgeous panoramic vistas. Bright, complementary hues and high color contrast translate into eye-popping reds and yellows. And, of course, there's the deep blue color of the sea, and a brilliant sunlit sky.