Purple Noon

(Plein Soleil)

France 1960. Dir René Clément.

This iconic French thriller, which was remade in the late Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), is a portrayal of a murderer who is at once alluring and terrifying. Much of Ripley’s anti-hero mystique is tied up with his ambiguous sexuality, expressed in the film not only through his bronzed torso but also through the use of fashion and adornment. His polished look of Gucci loafers, white jeans and suede shirts brings to the screen a breeze of wealthy and easy living, but also comes to represent his perverse criminality. Director Clément cast Alain Delon in the lead role, implicitly aware that the actor’s own association with the criminal underworld would aid his notoriety and international stardom.