There have been many movies based on the classic Patricia Highsmith novel series about Tom Ripley, and while some of them have numerous positive qualities, the 1960 Rene Clement film “Purple Noon” might be the best. If nothing else, this movie turned the wonderful Alain Delon a star. The Criterion Collection recently released the Blu-ray of this classic on Dec. 5, 2013.
Delon, who later went on to star in the masterpiece “Le Samourai,” stars as Tom Ripley, an American who heads to Rome to convince an old friend to return back home to San Francisco. If he succeeds, the man’s father will pay Ripley $5,000. When Ripley decides to just stay in Rome for awhile and enjoy life with his old friend, tragedy strikes and a case of murder and intrigue follows.
The new Criterion Blu-ray release looks amazing, and is a giant improvement over anything that came out before. It is presented in 1.67:1 aspect ratio in 1080p and everything looks really nice. The audio is in French with English subtitles, but as far as the balance goes it sounds just fine.
The first special feature is a video interview with Denitza Bantcheva, a film scholar and historian, about Rene Clement. The discussion includes Bantcheva talking about the films the director helmed, his relationship with “Cahiers du Cinema,” and a look at the actual production of “Purple Noon.” The interview lasts 27 minutes.
Next up is an archived interview with actor Alain Delon from 1962. This is more about his life that about “Purple Noon” itself, which makes it a very interesting look at one of the best actors of his era. Delon talks about breaking in, working on classic masterpieces like “The Leopard,” and touches on his relationship with Rene Clement. It is not long, at only 10-minutes, but it is a very nice addition to the Blu-ray.
The final feature is an archived interview with Patricia Highsmith from 1971. She talks about her writing career, the characters she created and focuses a lot of time on Tom Ripley, her most famous creation. She also discusses the films adapted from her books and her thoughts on them. It is a nice look at a film from the person who inspired it.
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