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Logline: A young psychopath who wants the best of everything murders and assumes the identity of his wealthy friend.

Review: Rene Clement’s Purple Noon, the original adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, is a tightly crafted Hitchcockian thriller set against the beautiful sun baked locales of coastal Italy.

As Tom Ripley, Alain Delon is perfect in the role that made him an instant star.  Tom Ripley is an incredibly compelling character who inhabits nearly every frame of the film.  Ironically, it is Ripley, a cunning criminal who gains our sympathy.

Purple Noon is expertly directed with stunning cinematography.  The film’s locations and characters are so beautiful that it is impossible not to sympathize with Ripley and want everything he desires.   The film acts as a travelogue to an Italy that no longer exists: a seaside paradise free from tourists and commercialization.

In 1999, Highsmith’s novel was adapted a second time.  Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley stars Matt Damon in the title role with Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in supporting roles.  Considered by many to be more faithful to the source material, Minghella’s version is an excellent film in its own right but I prefer the classic original.

Purple Noon is an intelligent, entertaining, and sexy film about desire.  It is one of the greatest suspense thrillers of all time and a film that you can return to time and time again to revel in its gorgeous images.

Great scene: The smart and cunning Tom Ripley in action.

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