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.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Heatwave movies: Purple Noon

Or the annual PLEIN SOLEIL re-view ...

The perfect viewing for a hot summer night: the new Blu-ray of Rene Clement's 1960 PLEIN SOLEIL/PURPLE NOON, one of my favourite movies, as per the other posts on it here - see the labels below. The Criterion blurb says:

Alain Delon was at his most impossibly beautiful when PURPLE NOON 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 Rene Clement, stars Delon as Tom Ripley, a duplicitious American charmer in Rome on a mission to bring his privileged, devil-may-care acqaintance Philip Greenleaf (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 location photography of coastal Italy, PURPLE NOON is crafted with a tight touch that allows it to be at once suspenseful and erotic, and it gave Delon the role of a lifetime.

The essay "In Broad Sunlight" by Geoffrey O'Brien says: "When it first came out in America PURPLE NOON was like an advertisement for a life of luxurious sensuality, with hints of LA DOLCE VITA style decadence and New Wave modishness, pristinely opulent hotel rooms and lobbies, and large helpings of sand and sun. The passage of time has only accentuated that allure, since the Italy we sample here in such generous detail is a vanished tourist'ts dream, underpopulated and unpolluted, a paradise for footloose Americans: the seaport waterfronts teeming with fresh-caught fish, the bodies bronzed from long carefree afternoons in the sun, the luscious blues and greens of a sea made for open-ended yachting excurions .... Every frame filled by Henri Decae's astonishing cinematography is a place that begs to be entered and savoured. The color values are almost too beautiful to be endured ...  By the end of the film we do not simply understand Tom Ripley, we want what he wants."
As I said before, seeing this for the first time when I was 15 and living in Ireland, opened my eyes to European art and culture. The 1999 remake THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY by Anthony Minghella, which I mentioned recently, while expanding on Highsmith's original looks tame and fussy (with its needy nerd Tom) and with all that 50s period detail trowelled on, the fussy clothes with hats and gloves etc - whereas here the clothes they wear look effortlessly modern and chic, that white suit Laforet wears, Delon walking around the market in that perfect grey suit ... the beach and sailing clothes. 

The whole section at sea is marvellous too as Ripley plots and schemes to separate Marge and Greenleaf. Ronet excels here as he begins to realise what Tom is up to .... but Dickie is quite unsympathetic as he throws Marge's manuscript overboard and baits Tom a step too far .... OK the ending is changed, but is somehow quite right here, but as we know Tom has other adventures we know somehow he will get away with it .... 
Marie Laforet fascinates me all over again, those golden eyes (she was THE GIRL WITH GOLDEN EYES, in that 1961 French film, Laforet label), I loved that introduction to her as the camera pans over the Fra Angelico prints, we see the guitar and her song, and then that close up on her face, I shall be playing her songs again today. The decor is tres fab too, love those yellow armchairs. A perfect summer night movie then. There is even a walk-on by Romy Schneider at the start! 
BODY HEAT from 1981 would be a terrific heatwave movie too, I saw and reviewed it a while back, 1980s label

No comments:

Post a Comment