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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • French PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • New video interview with René Clément scholar Denitza Bantcheva
  • Archival interviews with actor Alain Delon and novelist Patricia Highsmith, on whose book The Talented Mr. Ripley the film was based
  • Original English-language trailer

Purple Noon

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Rene Clement
Starring: Alain Delon, , Maurice Ronet, Erno Crisa
1960 | 118 Minutes | Licensor: Plaza Productions International

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #637
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: December 4, 2012
Review Date: December 22, 2012

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SYNOPSIS

Alain Delon was at his most impossibly beautiful when Purple Noon (Plein soleil) 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 to be 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.

Forum members rate this film 8.5/10

 

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PICTURE

René Clément’s Purple Noon comes to Blu-ray through Criterion in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 on this dual-layer disc. It is being presented in a new 1080p/24hz high-definition transfer.

It has a somewhat oversaturated look to it that I think is intended, but even if that’s not the case I still feel we’re being gifted with an exceptionally striking image. The blues in this film are particularly extraordinary: beautiful, deep, and pure, delivering striking skylines. The rest of the transfer comes off looking exceptional as well: details are cleanly rendered, edges are sharp and crisp, and film grain is presented in a completely natural manner. No processing is obvious and the image is about as pure as one could hope.

The print used looks to be in superb shape as well and only falters in a couple of areas where the colours wash out a bit but quickly come back. There’s also some dirt and specs scattered about but overall the restoration job is, as expected, quite amazing. In all the film’s gorgeous photography pops off of the screen. It really does look beautiful.

9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The disc supplies a lossless French linear PCM 1.0 mono track. There isn’t much to it in the way of range but it’s a clean track, delivering clean dialogue and music with very little distortion. It’s also free of any damage and background noise. A track suiting to the film.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

It’s a bit of a slim release surprisingly, its content just reaching an hour in total running time, though there’s some good material here. The weakest may be the 27-minute interview with Denitza Bantcheva on René Clément if only because of her delivery. Looking to never make eye contact with anyone interviewing her she talks about how Clément got into directing at an early age, talks about his early work, and how Truffaut and other directors in the New Wave would come to criticize him. From here she talks about Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley and how the director came about it, and then covers the casting of Delon, the adaptation of the script, and how Dostoyevsky did inspire Clément while writing the film. From here she covers some of the changes Clément made to the story and also tackles some of the possible symbolism in the film. She offers some decent insights and material but she has a detached, dry manner that doesn’t help keep it altogether interesting.

There are two archival interviews included, a 9-minute one with Alain Delon and a 19-minute piece with author Patricia Highsmith. Delon talks about how he got into acting, purely by chance (and against his will by the sounds of it) and the talks about how he has built his career by being selective of the projects he does, usually with directors he know will advance talents and career. Highsmith’s interview features the writer discussing her writing while keeping guard of her personal life for the most part. During the latter half of the interview she talks about the character Tom Ripley and the movie adaptations of her work up to that point (1971) declaring Strangers on a Train the best and the worst being Enough Rope because it’s too close to the book. Neither is remarkably in-depth (again, Highsmith in particular is incredibly reserved) but both still offer great value to this release.

The disc closes with the film’s American theatrical trailer, which surprisingly translates the title as “Talented Mr. Ripley”. Geoffrey O’Brien then provides an essay on the film in the accompanying booklet followed by a great reprint of a 1981 interview with Clément, where the director mentions an alternate ending to the film that he just wasn’t sure how to film it. A great read.

Disappointingly that’s it. Considering what a big title it is I’m a little stunned there isn’t much else, but the supplements are mostly worth going through and offer some decent insights into the film and the people involved in the production.

6/10

CLOSING

The supplements are decent if unspectacular, but it’s the transfer that is the real reason to get this disc. The film looks exceptional and on that basis alone the disc comes with a strong recommendation.


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