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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Purple Noon aka Plein soleil [Blu-ray]

 

(René Clément, 1960)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Robert et Raymond Hakim

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #637

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:58:40.154

Disc Size: 47,691,402,235 bytes

Feature Size: 34,762,856,448 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Chapters: 24

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 4th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• New interview with René Clément scholar and author Denitza Bantcheva (26:43)
Archival interviews with actor Alain Delon (9:22) and novelist Patricia Highsmith (19:01), on whose book The Talented Mr. Ripley the film is based
Original English-language trailer (4:04)
40-page booklet featuring an essay by film critic Geoffrey O’Brien and excerpts from a 1981 interview with Clément

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Alain Delon was at his most impossibly beautiful when Purple Noon was released and made him an instant star. This ripe, colorful adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s vicious novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, directed by the versatile René Clément, stars Delon as Tom Ripley, a duplicitous American charmer in Rome on a mission to bring his privileged, devil-may-care acquaintance Philippe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet) back to the United States. What initially seems a carefree tale of friendship soon morphs into a thrilling saga of seduction, identity theft, and murder. Featuring gorgeous location photography of coastal Italy, Purple Noon is crafted with a light touch that allows it to be at once suspenseful and erotic, and it gave Delon the role of a lifetime.

 

 

The Film:

René Clément's thriller Purple Noon stars Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, an American who travels to Europe on an all-expenses-paid mission to convince his friend, the errant playboy Philippe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet), to travel to San Francisco at the request of the wealthy Greenleaf family. Initially, the pair enjoy the good life in Italy, often to the anger and dismay of Philippe's much put-upon fiancée Marge (Marie Laforet). However, as Tom's funds begin to run dry, it becomes more and more apparent that Philippe has no intentions of returning to the U.S., forcing Tom to consider more nefarious means of maintaining his extravagant lifestyle. Purple Noon is adapted from Patricia Highsmith's novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, and like Alfred Hitchcock's classic Strangers on a Train, also based on Highsmith's work, the theme of identity transference is dominant. The subject even extends to the homoerotic undercurrents which simmer below the surface of Tom and Philippe's relationship, setting into motion a love/hate tension which explodes during a high seas journey.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

René Clément and Chabrol's collaborator Paul Gégauff got hold of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr Ripley decades before Wim Wenders laid hands on the novelist's psychopathic protagonist in The American Friend. In his third film appearance, 24-year-old Delon exudes icy charm as Ripley, the emissary sent by an American industrialist to rescue his son (Ronet, sublimely dissolute) from yachting decadence. Delon, though, has a killer scheme of his own - murder the guy, pocket the loot, and steal his girl (Laforêt). Easy. It just takes a thread of steel in the nerves - and a director with the stealth and patience to wind up the tension and avoid rushing the pay-off. Audiences weaned on switchback cutting and adrenalin pace will have to adjust, but even the admittedly clunky first 30 minutes make sense in retrospect. Delon's determined chill aside, there's much to enjoy: a narrative stitched together with old school expertise; vivid marine camerawork by Henri Decaë; a startling rinky-dink piano score by Nino Rota.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Purple Noon looks wonderfully rich and thick on Blu-ray from Criterion.  The image has some beautifully textured colors, like Mediterranean blues and sun-drenched skin tones.  This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and we can guess that it is a solid representation of the film - complete with infused grain and lush visuals. It is in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio and contrast and detail are impressive. They are only a few examples of depth. This Blu-ray has no discernable flaws, damage or speckles, and supplies a wonderful 1080P presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The linear PCM mono in the original French at 1152 kbps - handles the film's subtleties and dialogue with casual ease. The outdoor sounds are kept atmospheric. There isn't any real separation but some depth in the Nino Rota score. It is clean and clear. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.

 

Extras :

Criterion stack the disc with impressive supplements including a new, 27-minute, interview with René Clément scholar and author Denitza Bantcheva as well as archival interviews with actor Alain Delon (9:22) and novelist Patricia Highsmith (19:01), on whose book The Talented Mr. Ripley the film is based. There is an original English-language trailer and a 40-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Geoffrey O’Brien and excerpts from a 1981 interview with Clément.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I couldn't even find my old DVD of Purple Noon to compare but recall it being a very video-like representation of the film Criterion have created a very pleasing package and the film's tension definitely rises with the more film-like 1080P presentation. Very appreciated stuff and this is strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

November 25th, 2012


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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