Friday, September 10, 2010

Ripley In Film

When I don't have the time or the inclination to post something new, I tend to recycle old pieces that appeared on other sites. Guess what I'm doing today. Here is an introduction to a series of posts about a famous fictional character, a brief look at the movies made from Patricia Highsmith’s amoral creation, Tom Ripley.

The character Tom Ripley has appeared in five films, portrayed by five different actors:

1. In Plein Soleil (1960), Ripley was played by Alain Delon as coldhearted and calculating. This was Patricia Highsmith’s favorite version of Ripley in film.

2. In Der Amerikanishche Freund (1977), Dennis Hopper plays Ripley as a tragic figure, motivated by his own insecurities.

3. In The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Matt Damon shows a Ripley that is unempathetic and envious of his happier couterpart, Dickie Greanleaf, in a movie that introduces the character.

4. Ripley’s Game (2002) has an older Ripley, played marvelously by John Malkovich, who is still amoral, but motivated largely by boredom. This film features more laconic black humor than any of the others, and is your Humble Narrator’s favorite of the bunch.

5. Ripley Under Ground (2005) features Barry Pepper as Ripley close after the events of the first book. Also known as White on White and Ripley’s Art, this film has never been released, and has only been seen at a few festivals. One of the principle actors has stated it may never be released. It has been described as a dark comedy.

There you have them. I’ve seen all but the last, and the only one I didn’t enjoy was Der Amerikanishche Freund. Oh, and Sigourney Weaver plays a character named Ripley in the Alien movies, but it’s not the same character. Although Ripley In Space would be kinda cool.


The Doctor said...

I've only seen The Talented Mr Ripley, which I enjoyed. I'm really going to have to seek out the Malkovich one, now. Thanks!

Rabid Fox said...

Indeed. Malkovich would be interesting to see in such a film. I knew there were multiple books, but totally unaware there were multiple films. Good to know.