Lovers Marianne and Jean-Paul spend their vacation in a villa on the French Riviera near St-Tropez. Marianne invites her former lover, Harry, and his teenage daughter to stay. Tension rises between them, especially when Jean-Paul seduces Penelope.
French filmmaker Rene Clement presents Alain Delon as a petty criminal on the run from the underground. On the Rivera, he seeks refuge in a flophouse whose soup line is served by Jane Fonda... See full summary »
Two adventurers and best friends, Roland and Manu, are the victims of a practical joke that costs Manu his pilot's license. With seeming contrition, the jokesters tell Roland and Manu about... See full summary »
Tom Ripley is sent to Europe by Mr. Greenleaf to fetch his spoiled, playboy son, Philippe, and bring him back home to the States. In return, Tom will receive $5,000. Philippe toys with Tom, pretending he will go back home, but has no intentions of leaving his bride to be, Marge, and honoring his father's wishes. After some time passes, Mr. Greenleaf considers the mission a failure and cuts Tom off. However, he will need all his conman abilities to keep afloat.Written by
Humberto Amador/Peter Brandt Nielsen
Alain Delon's belt goes over the middle belt loop on the back of his white Levis about eight minutes into the film. A couple of minutes later, the belt goes through the loop, though the action was continuous, with no possibility of him having removed his belt to correct this fashion fumble. See more »
Visually, this film could serve as a cinematic poster for a Mediterranean cruise. Cinematographer Henri Decae draws us into the film with its alluring Italian locales and gorgeous panoramic vistas. Bright, complementary hues and high color contrast translate into eye-popping reds and yellows. And, of course, there's the deep blue color of the sea, and a brilliant sunlit sky. Such is the setting for a story wherein three attractive, young adults (Tom, Philippe, and Marge) test a 3-way relationship that is far more complex than it first appears.
Indeed, trouble lurks beneath the surface (so to speak), in this "Italiano paradiso" thriller. In the first forty minutes, the psychological motivations of our three beautiful people are unclear and subject to change. It's hard to tell who is doing what to whom. Subsequent to this narrative setup, we see exactly where the story is headed. Because "Plein Soleil" is a psychodrama, casting is important. The three leads (Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, and Marie Laforet) are all convincing in their roles.
I have not read the Highsmith novel on which the screenplay was based. So I cannot make an intertextual analysis. I do think this 1960 film is superior, for various reasons, to the more recent remake.
Adroitly directed by Rene Clement, with a buoyant musical score by Nino Rota, "Plein Soleil" is a character study of an amoral pleasure seeker whose charming personality masks the evil within. The juxtaposition of inwardly criminal intent with outwardly idyllic scenes of Italy and the Mediterranean results is an art house film that is both picturesque and suspenseful. It's a film that appeals both to our eyes and to our brains.
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