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

Michael Williams

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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