Blu-ray Review: Timeless Style of Rene Clement’s ‘Purple Noon’

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CHICAGO – When I think of Rene Clement’s “Purple Noon,” an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” which was also made into a hit film a few decades later with Matt Damon & Jude Law, I think of beautiful style. It is a tale of beautiful people in beautiful places doing very non-beautiful things. The movie made Alain Delon an international star and has now been inducted in the Criterion Collection, one of the last entries for 2012. Blu-ray rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Watching “Purple Noon” again in perfectly-restored high-definition I’m struck most by the daring approach of the filmmaking given the time in which it was released. Knowing nothing about the movie, I would easily have put it as a ’70s film given its approach to sex, style, and the dangerous things that even the most handsome men can do to each other. The fact that it came out in 1960 is stunning. The movie was ahead of its time in that regard. Some of its tones feel a bit off and some of the performances are less than perfect but it is Delon’s malevolent mix of good lucks and the pure evil that often surfaces when one’s way of life is threatened that makes the movie work. It looked great in 1960 and it looks just as stunning today. A perfect choice for a classic movie to end the year for Criterion — a film in which the copious style blends wonderfully with the building tension.

Purple Noon was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on December 4, 2012
Purple Noon was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on December 4, 2012
Photo credit: Courtesy of The Criterion Collection

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 René Clément, stars Delon as Tom Ripley, a duplicitous American charmer in Rome on a mission to bring his privileged, devil-may-care acquaintance Philippe 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 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.

StarClick here to buy “Purple Noon”

Special Features:
o Interview With Rene Clement Scholar And Author Denitza Bantcheva
o Archival Interviews With Actor Alain Delon And Novelist Patricia Highsmith, On Whose Book The Talented Mr. Ripley The Film Is Based
o Original English Language Trailer
o Booklet Featuring An Essay By Film Critic Geoffrey O’Brien And Excerpts From a 1981 Interview With Clement

“Purple Noon” stars Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, and Marie Laforet. It was directed by Rene Clement. It was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on December 4, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

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