Purple Noon

Director: René Clément
Year Released: 1960
Rating: 2.5

Those familiar with the 1999 film The Talented Mr. Ripley should find a lot of this familiar ground (they're both based on the same Patricia Highsmith novel); I, for one, have the misfortune of seeing this after the remake (even though I didn't like the Minghella version). Both are visually impressive (the purple water here is a nice touch), but neither strikes me as being particularly suspenseful or all that convincing - the only filmmaker who had a hold on the material was Hitchcock, whose Strangers on a Train outclasses these pictures: Hitch managed to make the naturally alienating material (identification with a killer) high-class entertainment. While Alain Delon is a smooth actor, he doesn't make a particularly good Tom Ripley; Clement has a better grasp of how to pace the material but Minghella knew how to play up the queer subtext. I prefer this film to the 1999 version, but it's still a little uneven.