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Tom Ripley is sent to Europe by Mr. Greenleaf to fetch his spoiled, playboy son, Philippe, and bring him back home to the States. In return, Tom will receive $5,000. Philippe toys with Tom, pretending he will go back home, but has no intentions of leaving his bride to be, Marge, and honoring his father's wishes. After some time passes, Mr. Greenleaf considers the mission a failure and cuts Tom off. Tom, in desperation, kills Philippe, assumes his identity, and lives the life of a rich playboy. However, he will need all his conman abilities to keep Philippe's friends and the police off the trail.
For more about Purple Noon and the Purple Noon Blu-ray release, see Purple Noon Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on November 22, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, Romy Schneider, Marie Laforêt, Erno Crisa, Frank Latimore
Director: René Clément
» See full cast & crew
Purple Noon Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, November 22, 2012
Rene Clement's "Plein soleil" a.k.a "Purple Noon" (1960) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailer for the film; archival interview with actor Alain Delon; archival interview with writer Patricia Highsmith; and an exclusive new video interview with film historian and writer Denitza Bantcheva. The release also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by film critic Geoffrey O'Brien and a reprinted interview with director Rene Clement. In French, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Alain Delon is Tom Ripley, a handsome but poor American who is in Rome to convince his wild and extravagant friend Philippe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet, The Swimming Pool, Elevator to the Gallows) to go back home to San Francisco. If he succeeds, Philippe's father, a wealthy businessman, will pay him $5000.
Philippe isn't cooperating, but Tom isn't complaining. The two party as much as they can and spend without worrying that they will ever run out of money. Occasionally, Marge (Marie Laforet, Because, Because of a Woman, How Not to Rob a Department Store), Philippe's beautiful fiancee also joins them. Marge does not particularly like how Philippe treats Tom, but Tom also annoys her because he often imitates Philippe.
One day, Philippe invites Tom and Marge on his expensive yacht and they head to Taormina. Soon after, Philippe pulls a prank on Tom but it goes wrong and unleashes a string of unfortunate events.
Based on Patricia Highsmith's novel, Rene Clement's Plein Soleil a.k.a Purple Noon is a classic European thriller that works for a number of different reasons. The tension that enters the film after the yacht trip, for example, is well maintained essentially until the final credits roll. The direction in which the film should be heading is obvious, but the manner in which the narrative evolves is far from predictable.
Another reason is Delon. Looking irresistibly handsome, the Frenchman's character transformation is easily one of the very best from his large body of work. It is the type of performance that very effectively alters the viewer's initial perception not only of his character but the entire film. Such great performances could be seen in Hitchcock's best thrillers.
Then there is also legendary cinematographer Henri Decae's (Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows, Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai) beautiful lensing of Purple Noon. Shot on location mostly around Ischia Island and Procida Island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, the film is so beautiful that at times it feels almost unreal. There is one particular sequence where Philippe's yacht is seen from afar entering a small port that is absolutely stunning.
The film is also complimented by an excellent soundtrack composed by the great Nino Rota (Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather). The music is barely noticeable while watching the film, but after it ends the viewer remembers many sequences precisely because of the beautiful music themes.
Released in 1960, Purple Noon was the film that instantly placed Delon on the radar of many big European directors. Soon after, he would appear in Luchino Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers(1960) and The Leopard (1963), Michelangelo Antonioni's L' Eclisse (1962), and Melville's Le Samourai (1967).
Notes: During the years Purple Noon has influenced a number of different directors, including Martin Scorsese. The late Anthony Minghella also directed The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), a loose remake starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law.
Purple Noon Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.67:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Rene Clement's Purple Noon arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray release:
"This new high-definition digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on an ARRISCAN film scanner from the original camera negative; two original 35mm prints made at LTC, Paris, were used for color reference. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS and Pixel Farm's PFClean, while Image Systems' Phoenix was used for small dirt, grain, and noise reduction.
Transfer supervisor: Lee Kline.
Colorist: Gilles Grainer/LTC/Technicolor, Paris."
I don't have the old R1 DVD release of Purple Noon which Miramax produced years ago to run some direct comparisons with the Blu-ray release, but considering the fact that the DVD did not even used an anamorphic transfer I think it is fair to assume that gap in quality between the two is probably quite dramatic.
Generally speaking, detail and depth are very good, especially during close-ups where natural light is in abundance (see screencapture #1). The panoramic sequence also boats very pleasing fluidity (see screencapture #10). Color reproduction is very good - there are plenty of warm but lush yellows, blues, greens, and browns. However, during the second half of the film there are a couple of sequences where some extremely light color fluttering is present. There are no traces of excessive sharpening and denoising corrections. Unsurprisingly, light grain is easy to spot throughout the entire film. However, again during the second half of the film there are a few sequences where some light sharpness and contrast fluctuations are present (see sreencapture #11). None of them, however, appear to be a byproduct of a transfer weakness; rather, they appear to be directly related to source limitations. Lastly, debris, dirt, specks, and large scratches have been effectively removed. All in all, Purple Noon has a very pleasing, very convincing organic look. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Purple Noon Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: French LPCM 1.0 (with portions of Italian and English). For the record, Criterion have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The lossless track has good depth and a very good range of dynamics. Nino Rota's soundtrack definitely benefits a great deal, but there are also portions of the film where simply fluidity and balance impress. The dialog is crisp, very clean, stable, and easy to follow. As usual, Criterion have also removed background hiss as best as possible. There are no pops, audio dropouts and distortions.
Purple Noon Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Purple Noon Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Purple Noon is a classic European thriller and arguably director Rene Clement's most beautiful film. It is lensed by the legendary cinematographer Henri Decae and complimented by a beautiful soundtrack composed by the great Nino Rota. Purple Noon was also the film that made Alain Delon an international star. I honestly believe that it is absolutely impossible to dislike it. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Purple Noon Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Criterion Blu-ray in December: Clement, Gilliam, Reggio, Nolan - September 17, 2012
The Criterion Collection has announced four titles for Blu-ray release in December. On December 4th, the studio will release Purple Noon (René Clement, 1960) and Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985). A week later, on December 11th, it will release The Qatsi Trilogy (Godfrey ...
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