Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Still film: Plein Soleil (Purple Noon, O Sol por Testemunha) 1960

I was reading an interview where Yoko Ono said her most favorite film was Purple Noon.  She said she saw it in the early 60s and cried, it moves her every time she sees it.  That was enough for me to add Purple Noon to my netflix queue and I popped the movie in without reading another thing about it.  Ten minutes in the film I was asking myself... Wait: Is this The Talented Mr. Ripley?

Turns out, Plein Soleil (translated as Full Sun or Blazing Sun) was the first film adaptation of the The Talented Mr. Ripley novel by Patricia Highsmith.  Having seen the latest Mr. Ripley film with Matt Damon before I discovered Plein Soleil definitely colored my views.  In this film, Tom Ripley is very beautiful (the impossibly beauteous Alain Delon), more beautiful than the victim he emulates-- the manly Maurice Ronet--which is very different from the outcasted nerd Matt Damon worshipping the gorgeous and cool Jude Law.  The two films also end very differently... apparently Highsmith liked Plein Soleil but hated the ending saying, "a terrible concession to so-called public morality." 

I love Marie Lafloret's look.  I can't remember ever seeing her in a film before, and I would have liked to have seen more of her in this one but her character is more of a pawn or trophy for the two male characters.  Still, the most beautiful moments of the movie usually include her in the scene.  

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