Plein Soleil [Purple Noon] (1960)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Plein Soleil</strong> [<strong class="MovieTitle">Purple Noon</strong>] (1960)

(In French, On TV, January 2019) I don’t have a lot to say about Plein Soleil, largely because what it does was re-done much better in the 1999 film The Talented M. Ripley. Indeed, this is the first, lesser-known adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith character, featuring none other than Alain Delon as a serial impersonator/murderer motivated by nothing much more than personal gain and a complete absence of moral principles. There aren’t that many surprises here for fans of the 1999 film … in fact, it may even be a bit boring, in addition to being much technically rougher around the edges. In keeping with its Mediterranean setting, though, it’s clearly not meant to be a fast-paced thriller nor comfort to those who expect the villain to be punished. This being said, Plein Soleil does have the advantages of its production date—the 1960s atmosphere has become a great period piece today, especially given how much of the film takes place outdoors with scenery far more difficult to re-create today. It may not be a surprise, but anyone going back to this first incarnation may find that the result has some charm of its own.

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