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Morning Coffee Book Club @ The WMML (With Special Film Showing of "Purple Noon" Adapted from "The Talented Mr. Ripley")

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Morning Coffee Book Club

Read on the Edge with the new Morning Coffee Book Club. Join Purple Noonus for a discussion of The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith and a showing of the foreign film Purple Noon (AKA Plein Soleil, PG-13, 1960, 118 min) which is based on The Talented Mr. Ripley at 10:00 a.m. in the Cornelia White Community Room at the Welwood Murray Memorial Library.

The WMML Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 10:00 a.m. at the Welwood Murray Memorial Library and is open to everyone. Members of the club read the selected book for the month, then join in lively discussions. Please click here to see a list of future selections for the WMML Book Club.

Refreshments are generously provided by Aspen Mills Bakery. Thank you, Aspen Mills!

 

 


February 15, 2017

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith** 

Talented Mr. Ripley

Winner of the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière

Since his debut in 1955, Tom Ripley has evolved into the ultimate bad boy sociopath. Here, in this first Ripley novel, we are introduced to suave Tom Ripley, a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan. A product of a broken home, branded a "sissy" by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante. A dark reworking of Henry James's The Ambassadors, The Talented Mr. Ripley serves as an unforgettable introduction to this smooth confidence man, whose talent for murder and self-invention is chronicled in four subsequent Ripley novels.

Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) was the author of more than twenty novels, including Strangers on a Train, The Price of Salt, The Two Faces of January and The Talented Mr. Ripley, as well as numerous short stories.

 

Purple Noon (AKA Plein Soleil)

Plein SoleilThis film stars Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, a duplicitous American charmer in Rome on a mission to bring his privileged acquaintance Philippe Greenleaf 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.

From Roger Ebert's 1996 Review of this 1960 film:

Rene Clement's film is shot in sunny pastels and a travelog style that works as an eerie contrast to Tom's scheme. The Nino Rota music doesn't often go for sinister undertones; instead, it's quietly, unobtrusively cheerful, which is all the creepier (Clement uses less music, less obviously, than Fellini). The young Alain Delon, who in 1960 had not yet matured into his full status as a matinee idol, seems young and callow, which is right for the role; Purple Noon is essentially about an aimless young man who has stumbled onto his life's work.

"The fascination in Highsmith's Ripley novels resides in the way Ripley gets away with his crimes. In most of them, his advance planning is meticulous; only in this first adventure does he have crime thrust upon him.

"The best thing about the film is the way the plot devises a way for Ripley to create a perfect cover-up, a substitution of bodies (for which a second corpse comes in handy). Ripley's meticulous timing, quick thinking and brilliant invention snatch victory out of the hands of danger.

"When he made it, Rene Clement may have been inspired by Clouzot's Diabolique (1955), another famous story of devious plotting and double-crossing. The films have certain similarities. Diabolique's two women have unexpressed lesbian feelings, just as Purple Noon's men suppress their homosexuality. Both stories involve drowned corpses that do, or do not, appear or disappear on demand. And both have less than satisfactory endings.

"Diabolique can end as it does only because the police inspector doesn't act on all of the knowledge he has. And Purple Noon ends as it does only because Clement doesn't have Highsmith's iron nerve.”


 

** —This book is also available as a Downloadable Audiobook and/or eBook from PSPL. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD 

 

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