By my count there have 5 interpretations of Tom Ripley on screen. John Malkovich in Ripley's Game, Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley, Dennis Hopper in The American Friend, Barry Pepper in Ripley Under Ground and of course - still - the greatest Ripley of them all - Alain Delon in Plein Soleil.
|Alain Delon as Tom Ripley drinking the the best under the blazing sun in Plein Soleil - From Plein Soleil|
|René Clément's Plein Soleil Review|
|a beautiful restoration brings back elegance & pizazz to this timeless classic|
|The name name Alain Delon is synonymous with the iconography of ultra cool shadowy figures of World cinema - but Plein Soleil was the film that introduced Alain Delon to the public, well not entirely, as he had already made a couple of films and was well on his way to be a matinee idol heartthrob but then he got aboard Master Director René Clément's adaptation of The Talented Mr Ripley. |
Pre-New Wave French film noir thriller directed by René Clément, based on the novel 'The Talented Mr Ripley' by Patricia Highsmith and shot on the warm and glowing Mediterranean coast. Alain Delon stars in his debut leading role as Tom Ripley, a young American who is paid by the wealthy Greenleaf family to travel to Europe to persuade his friend, errant playboy Philip Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet), to return to the family home in San Francisco.
|Alain Delon as Tom Ripley in the fish market (Click to enlarge) - From Plein Soleil|
“René's my master. He taught me everything. René was the greatest director I've ever known, the greatest cinematographer, the greatest cameraman and the greatest director of actors.”
- Alain Delon on working with René Clément
All the more cogent when you consider that Delon has worked with masters of cinema like; Michelangelo Antonioni, Luchino Visconti, Jean-Pierre Melville Jean-Luc Godard, Louis Malle and Josef Losey.
|Alain Delon as Tom Ripley (Click to enlarge) - From Plein Soleil|
|When he gets there, Tom discovers that Philip has it all - including a beautiful fiancée, Marge (Marie Laforet) - and begins to covet his luxurious lifestyle. Philip, initially amused by Tom's arrival, soon tires of him, and as Tom begins to find himself excluded from Philip's coterie, his envy takes a murderous turn. Highsmith's novel was later adapted by Hollywood as 'The Talented Mr Ripley' (1999) starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow.|
In more recent adaptations and to please modern audiences Tom Ripley has been more acutely explored so that we can understand him, giving him depth and vulnerability and whilst we may never know for sure if Delon's Ripley always had a malevolent plan in mind or a cruel act under the blazing sun pushed him into becoming a willing victim to cruelty and circumstance - Alain Delon's Ripley shifts almost seamlessly from likeable childlike friend to calculating criminal whilst maintaining his smile.
Alluding to something primal lurking under Ripley's cool facade - this is reinforced by Ripley hungrily tucking in, after each of his misdeeds, starting by taking a bite from the forbidden fruit. He is both naïve greedy child and heinously evil as the tide starts to rise on Ripley.
Studiocanal's restoration of Plein Soleil highlights another star of the film - the style and the look of Plein Soleil and the restoration has brought the colours of the Mediterranean and elegant style of the ime, gorgeously filmed by Henri Decaë, back to life in glorious high definition colour. I cannot think of another film that uses style and colour to such effect making the dreamlike lifestyle of Philippe Greenleaf all the more desirable and fuelling Ripley's dark side.
|As well as the visuals Nino Rota's (La Dolce Vita, 8½, The Leopard, The Godfather) timeless score also benefits from being digitally remastered by L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratories as it shifts between aspirationally upbeat to unsettlingly dark as the moods of Plein Soleil turn.
Extras on the DVD include:
- Interview with Alain Delon
The interview with Alain Delon is fascinating as he discusses anecdotal background of making Plein Soleil as well as working with René Clément. I have to say, in a time that youth and longevity have become an obsession it is refreshing to see Alain Delon the icon, ageing gracefully - there is no hint of plastic surgery and seems completely unaffected by his stardom. He is infinitely more captivating and credible than many stars of today.
- René Clément at the heart of the New Wave
This was a bit of an eye opener as I was unaware of the effect or impact that the French New Wave had on the established masters of film. In this hour and 10 minute documentary, which is too much to take in, in one viewing cast, crew, experts and René Clément via voice-over discuss the making of Plein Soleil. Breaking down key scenes with background information as well broader filmmaking knowledge of the time.
- Plein Soleil the restoration
A non narrative look at some key scenes before and after their restoration.
Plein Soleil will be in cinemas from 30 August 2013 and on DVD & BD from 16 September 2013
Based on the novel by crime scribe Patricia Highsmith who also wrote 'Strangers On A Train', René Clément's striking study from 1960 of a glamorous and complex psychopath features a career-defining turn from a young, beautiful and ultra-cool Alain Delon.
Directed by: René Clément
Written by: Patricia Highsmith, René Clément, Paul Gégauff
Starring: Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, Marie Laforêt
Released back in cinemas uncut and beautifully restored following a Cannes Classics premiere on 30th August 2013
On DVD and BD 16th September 2013
“I was to film [Che gioia vivere] with Barbara Lass a Polish actress...her boyfriend came with her to Rome for the shooting of the film...He spent his time behind the camera, behind Clement and the cameraman watching what René Clément was doing. He followed the whole film...standing behind René... That's what he came for - we just thought he was her boyfriend.
His name was Roman Polanski. His Master was René Clément but no one knows.”
- Alain Delon on working with René Clément
|Cover of Plein Soleil DVD (Click to enlarge) - From Plein Soleil|
The Establishing Shot: RESTORED VERSION OF RENE CLEMENT'S CLASSIC PLEIN SOLEIL BRINGS LIFE BACK TO THE BEST RIPLEY TALE – PLEIN SOLEIL DVD REVIEW
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