‘Noon’ Reemerges as a Compelling, Suspenseful Classic


Miramax Zoe and Martin Scorsese have joined forces to reissue the long-unavailable “Purple Noon,” Rene Clement’s seductive 1960 film of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Good for them, but let’s hope nobody will attempt to remake what was an international hit upon its release and what today seems clearly a classic of psychological suspense.

Miramax Zoe, a Miramax subsidiary set up to distribute French films old and new, and Scorsese, a dedicated film scholar and preservationist, previously reissued with much success Bun~uel’s “Belle de Jour.”

Like Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on the Train,” also based on a Highsmith novel, it tells of a dangerous man eager to assume the identity of another. But here Alain Delon’s Tom Ripley actually does it. He’s come from San Francisco, hired by a rich man to retrieve his playboy son Philippe (Maurice Ronet) from a seemingly endless Italian sojourn. Spoiled, careless and stupid, Philippe, who has had a casual acquaintance with Tom, treats him abominably and inevitably goes too far. Caught in the middle is Philippe’s beautiful fiancee (Marie Lafore^t).


While the lovely Lafore^t and Ronet, always a splendid decadent, lend flawless support, “Purple Noon” belongs to Delon, who established his career and international renown with this film. His catlike grace, aura of danger, lonely vulnerability and sexual magnetism make him a most compelling antihero. Although Miramax previewed “Purple Noon” with a wretched print, it has promised to release it with a fresh one, showing off its ravishing Italian settings photographed by the masterly Henri Decae.

* MPAA rating: PG-13, for momentary violence and sexuality. Times guidelines: The film is sufficiently discreet to be appropriate for mature adolescents.


‘Purple Noon’ (‘Plein Soleil’)

Alain Delon: Tom Ripley

Marie Lafore^t: Marge

Maurice Ronet: Philippe

Elvire Popesco: Mme. Popova

A Miramax Zoe presentation of a Franco-Italian co-production: Paris/Panitalia/Titanus. Director Rene Clement. Producers Robert & Raymond Hakim. Screenplay by Clement and Paul Gegauff. Cinematographer Henri Decae. Music Nino Rota. Art director Paul Bertrand. In French, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes.

* Exclusively at the Royal, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310) 477-5581; scheduled to open July 3 at the South Coast Village 3, on Sunflower next to Planet Hollywood, South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, (714) 540-0594.