Journal of Romance Studies

Plein soleil and The Talented Mr Ripley: sun, stars and Highsmith’s queer periphery

Journal of Romance Studies (2004), 4, (1), 47–62.

Abstract

This article explores two cinematic adaptations of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel, The Talented Mr Ripley, about a young anti-hero who murders, and then steals the identity of, another American living in Italy: René Clément’s Plein soleil (France/Italy 1960) and Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr Ripley (US/UK 1999). Drawing on both textual analysis and critical reception, the article explores how the traces of what might be termed Highsmith’s ‘queer periphery’ are manifested and eroticized on the screen. Through such sun-drenched (homo)erotics, there is a very present sense of mythology, queer or otherwise, in the seductive Mediterranean landscape of these texts. The discussion thus explores issues of narrative, the stars Alain Delon, Jude Law and Matt Damon, and sexuality and landscape.

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Minghella, Anthony (2001) The Talented Mr Ripley, director’s DVD commentary (Warner Home Video). The Talented Mr Ripley Google Scholar

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Pearce, Gareth (2001) ‘Natural Law’, Evening Standard (Hot Tickets) (8 March), 3. Natural Law Evening Standard Google Scholar

Perry, George (1997) Sunday Times (24 August), 7 (untitled cutting). Sunday Times Google Scholar

Potton, Ed (2001) ‘The wanderer’, The Times (Play) (20 May), 9. The wanderer The Times (Play) 9 Google Scholar

Powell, Dilys (1961) Sunday Telegraph (4 June) (unpaginated clipping, BFI library). Sunday Telegraph Google Scholar

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Segal, Victoria (2002) ‘Uncommon Law’, The Times (Play) (16 March), 21. Uncommon Law The Times (Play) Google Scholar

ST (1964), Sunday Times (Colour Supplement) (15 November), 25 (unattributed review). Google Scholar

Stimpson, Mansel (1997) ‘Plein soleil’, Gay Times (September), 93. Plein soleil Gay Times Google Scholar

Sweet, Matthew (1997) Independent on Sunday (24 August), 11. Independent on Sunday Google Scholar

Tasker, Yvonne (1993) Spectacular Bodies: Gender, Genre and the Action Cinema (London: Routledge). Spectacular Bodies: Gender, Genre and the Action Cinema Google Scholar

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Vincendeau, Ginette (2000) ‘Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon: one smiles, the other doesn’t’, in Ginette Vincendeau, Stars and Stardom in French Cinema (London: Continuum), 158–95. Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon: one smiles, the other doesn Stars and Stardom in French Cinema 158 95 Google Scholar

Walker, Alexander (1997) ‘Plein soleil’, Evening Standard (Hot Tickets) (21 August), 17. Plein soleil Evening Standard (Hot Tickets) Google Scholar

Walter, Natasha (2003) ‘A lover, not a killer’, Guardian (Review) (12 July), 13. A lover, not a killer Guardian (Review) 13 Google Scholar

Webster, Paul (1975) ‘The deadly affair’, The Guardian (15 September) (unpaginated clipping, BFI library). The deadly affair The Guardian Google Scholar

Williams, Michael (2003) Ivor Novello: Screen Idol (London: BFI). Ivor Novello: Screen Idol Google Scholar

Wilson, Andrew (2003) Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith (London: Bloomsbury). Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith Google Scholar

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Williams, Michael