Plein Soleil: Special Edition (1960)
Friday 13th September 2013
Based on the novel by crime scribe Patricia Highsmith who also wrote 'Strangers On A Train', Rene Clement's striking study from 1960 of a glamarous and complex psychopath features a career-defining turn from a young, beautiful and ultra-cool Alain Delon. Beautifully restored following a Cannes Classics premiere, Plein Soleil is released on DVD and Blu-ray on 16th September 2013, courtesy of StudioCanal.
Plein Soleil is a striking study of a glamorous and complex psychopath from Oscar--winning French director René Clément (Forbidden Games, Is Paris Burning?), featuring a career-defining turn from a young, beautiful, ultra-cool Alain Delon, The film was the first adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's best-selling novel The Talented Mr. Ripley. Dennis Hopper and Matt Damon have also both appeared as Tom Ripley onscreen (in films by Wim Wenders and Anthony Minghella respectively), but arguably neither match up to the ice-cold portrayal by a then 24 year-old Delon, in the role that made him a star.
Tom Ripley (Alain Delon: Le Cercle Rouge, Le Samouraï, L'eclisse, Rocco and His Brothers) is hired by a rich American to bring his errant son Philippe (Maurice Ronet: Lift to the Scaffold, Le scandale) back home to the US. Tom travels to Italy, where Philippe is on an extended holiday with his fiancée Marge (Marie Laforêt: Joyeuses Pâques), and slowly begins to ingratiate himself into their glamorous, carefree lives. An ambiguous relationship develops between the two men, with Philippe never missing an opportunity to remind Ripley of the yawning chasm between their social standing. But when Ripley realizes that Philippe is tiring of his company, he hatches a plan to kill his friend whilst the two are at sea together on a voyage, dumping his body overboard. When he arrives back on dry land, Ripley begins the process of assuming Philippe's identity, slowly taking over the life that he always envied and that is now finally within his grasp...
Highsmith, who also wrote Strangers on a Train, was herself very pleased with the film and called it "very beautiful to the eye and interesting for the intellect." Another Highsmith adaptation, Two Faces of January, opens later this year.
Henri Decaë (The 400 Blows, Lift to the Scaffold, Bob le Flambeur, Les bonnes femmes) was responsible for the glorious sun-drenched cinematography in Plein Soleil, restored here to all its former glory, alongside a wonderfully unsettling score composed by Nino Rota (The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, La Dolce Vita, 8½, The Leopard).
Described as the French Hitchcock, René Clément was one of France's great post-World War II era directors. Studying as an architect originally, it was at the Ecole-des-Beaux-Arts that he developed an interest in filmmaking. In 1936 he directed his first film - a short written by and starring Jacques Tati. Clément then spent most of the latter part of the 1930s making documentaries. After the war he directed his first feature: La Bataille du rail (1945), about the French resistance, which was a critical and commercial success. He twice won Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film - including Forbidden Games, along with many other awards throughout his career.
StudioCanal are proud to be continuing their programme of restoration and preservation of some of cinema's most important titles, as well as other forgotten gems from their vast catalogue Joseph Losey's The Servant was the first of the titles to be re-released in cinemas in 2013 following a beautiful new restoration, with Plein Soleil and then The Wicker Man to follow later in the year.
- None or TBC
Please note - Disc special features are subject to change, may differ from format to format and/or may differ from region to region.