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Film / Purple Noon

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Purple Noon (Plein soleil, "Full Sun") is a 1960 film from France directed by Rene Clement.

It is the first adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel The Talented Mr. Ripley. Tom Ripley (Alain Delon in his Star-Making Role) is sent from America to France in order to get his friend, callow rich boy Phillipe Greenleaf to stop gallivanting around Europe and come home to work in the family business. Phillipe isn't particularly interested in coming back home and going to work, and Tom, who comes from a poor background, finds out he rather likes Phillipe's luxurious lifestyle. Soon the both of them are gallivanting around, often in the company of Phillipe's attractive girlfriend Marge.

Eventually Phillipe grows weary of Tom, his fawning, lower-class companion, and starts to treat him badly. Tom, stung by betrayal from a friend he worships (and may be attracted to), concocts a plan. A plan that involves murder.

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Compare The Talented Mr. Ripley, a 1999 English-language adaptation of the same book that starred Matt Damon as Tom, Jude Law as Dickie, and Gwyneth Paltrow as Marge.


Tropes:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: In the book, Ripley gets away with it. In the movie, Phillipe's corpse is discovered. Apparently Patricia Highsmith was irritated by this.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Dickie Greenleaf from the novel gets the more French-friendly name Phillipe Greenleaf.
  • Animated Credits Opening: The opening credits are in a hand-written cartoony style.
  • Asshole Victim: Phillipe is a spoiled, self-centered, thoughtless ass.
  • Big "NO!": From Marge when Phillipe's corpse is fished up.
  • The Cameo: Romy Schneider, who was dating Alain Delon at the time, pops up in the opening scene as Freddie's companion.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The blonde that Phillipe is nuzzling in the opening scene leaves behind an earring that Tom pockets. He later arranges for Marge to find it, to drive a wedge between her and Phillipe.
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  • Chekhov's Skill: Tom's talent at forging signatures, established in the opening scene.
  • Creator Cameo: Rene Clement pops up briefly as a servant.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Tom swigs from a bottle after the apparently unplanned murder of Phillipe.
  • Love Triangle: In which it's not clear if Tom is more into Phillipe or Marge.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Tom forges a note to make it look like Phillipe killed himself.
  • Non-Indicative Name: In English, anyway. Plein soleil is evocative of the sunny Mediterranean where most of the film is set. Purple Noon is completely random.
  • Significant Background Event: As Tom is very creepily putting on Phillipe's clothes in front of a mirror, pretending to be him, and kissing his reflection, a pair of feet can just barely be seen at the top of the screen. It's Phillipe, who watches this weird scene and is not at all pleased.
  • Translation Convention: Freddie and Tom, both Americans, speak French to each other in the scene where Freddie finds Tom in what's supposed to be Phillipe's hotel room. What makes this odder is that Freddie makes a point of speaking one line in English to Tom earlier in the movie. ("So long, chum.")
  • Verbal Irony: Marge receives a letter from Phillipe and says "It's so dull or flat, as if he were dead." What Tom and the audience both know is that Phillipe is dead, as Tom killed him.
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