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Purple Noon
     

Purple Noon

Director: René Clément, Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, Marie Laforêt

Cast: René Clément, Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, Marie Laforêt

 

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When The Talented Mr. Ripley was released in 1999, it helped bring writer Patricia Highsmith back into vogue and her books back into print; of course many other film adaptations are on the way. Always popular in Europe, but not in her native America, a number of Highsmith's books had already been turned into movies on the Continent, including an early version

Overview

When The Talented Mr. Ripley was released in 1999, it helped bring writer Patricia Highsmith back into vogue and her books back into print; of course many other film adaptations are on the way. Always popular in Europe, but not in her native America, a number of Highsmith's books had already been turned into movies on the Continent, including an early version of The Talented Mr. Ripley titled Purple Noon. While the American version by Anthony Minghella is well worth seeing, this Miramax DVD release of the excellent Purple Noon shows that the French film is much closer at capturing Highsmith's off-kilter mood. It also does a much better job of bringing the twisted and disengaged (but oddly likeable) character of Tom Ripley to life as Purple Noon never tries to portray him as a sensitive and understandable soul as Minghella does. Martin Scorsese is a big fan of this sly Rene Clement suspensor and he helped finance its restoration and re-release in the late '90s. The digital DVD transfer was struck from this restored print and Henri Decae's sumptuous color cinematography is beautifully presented. There is a fair amount of grain in the print but that is to be expected from a movie from 1960 shot largely in natural light. The remastered audio track is crisp and clear and shows off Nino Rota's vivid score. The film comes with French and English language tracks and subtitles; the DVD is set to play the dubbed English version and you have to change it to get the original French track, which is important to the story as American characters only speak with accents in the French version. The downside to the disc is its high price; especially considering that it doesn't come with any real extras. Still, the movie itself is presented so well that is makes the DVD worthwhile. A high-class production all the way, even Purple Noon's title sequence is first-rate and was designed by Maurice Binder, who went on to create the much copied credits for the James Bond pictures.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
In plot and tone, René Clément's Purple Noon is closer to the spirit of Patricia Highsmith than Anthony Minghella's high profile 1999 adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Where Minghella attempted to give the characters psychological motivation, Clement presents Tom Ripley has nothing other than a self-serving killer. Henri Decaë's cinematography is as pathologically removed from the action as Tom; the aristocratic Mediterranean backdrop is somehow flat and sickly unalluring. With an impassive eye and steady pace Ripley's crimes unfold with cold-blooded rational. This story telling deliberately wrecks havoc with the audience's sympathies. Tom is a villain but we can't help but identify with his attempts to avoid capture for his murder, and we are ruthlessly pushed and pulled between feeling anxiety for his safety and for the welfare of his potential victims. Alain Delon is both a blank slate and an eager young man on the make, like Tony Curtis' Sidney Falco with no qualms about making compromises because he has no morals to compromise. The film similarly refuses to take a moral stance on its characters. With her Ripley books, Highsmith deliberately played into the gothic frisson elicited by watching a monstrously bad deed go unpunished and Clement also understands the allure of a well-structured bit of entertainment that dares the audience to indulge their darkest instincts. In 1996, Purple Noon was theatrically re-released in the United States by Martin Scorsese in conjunction with Miramax Zoe.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/02/2003
UPC:
0786936166705
Original Release:
1960
Rating:
PG-13
Source:
Miramax
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Surround]
Time:
1:58:00

Special Features

Dolby Digital Surround sound; Widescreen [1.66:1]; English-dubbed track

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter Selection
1. Opening Credits: Forging Signatures [6:06]
2. A Cane for the Blind? [4:53]
3. "All Is Vanity" [7:10]
4. Off to Taormina [4:55]
5. "A Taste of Exile" [7:12]
6. Letting Marge Go [7:14]
7. Mooring Philippe [9:01]
8. Meeting Marge in Mongibello [6:07]
9. Mastering a New Identity [5:04]
10. Time With Marge [5:13]
11. An Avoidable Encounter [3:29]
12. Eradicating an Uninvited Guest [6:10]
13. Freddy's Unwieldy Nature [6:18]
14. A Definitive Withdrawal [4:34]
15. An Inquiring Investigator [4:20]
16. Luring Followers [4:27]
17. Keeping One Step Ahead [5:37]
18. Back to Mongibello [7:09]
19. "My Darling, My Love" [7:03]
20. The Best Ever? [6:24]

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