Tag Archives: Crime Thriller

Suspense Saturday: The Talented Mr. Ripley

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The Talented Mr. Ripley

Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s best selling novel of the same name, The Talent Mr. Ripley follows Tom Ripley, a young man who goes to extremes to live a life of luxury.

It is 1950s Manhattan and Tom Ripley pretends to know Dickie Greenleaf as he chats with his father at a garden party. He is offered a large sum of money to head to Italy and retrieve Dickie. A master of impressions and forgery, Ripley has no problem pretending to be something he is not. He attaches himself to Greenleaf and his fiancé but when he fails in his mission Ripley takes things too far and soon becomes the man he was sent to retrieve.

I do not consider myself much of a Matt Damon fan so I would be a little off to mention this as my favorite performance of his being that this is one of the only ones I really know. Same goes for Jude Law who I know more for his good looks than his films but I would have to say that this is an amazing film featuring both actors who are perfectly cast in their roles. Damon churns out one of hell of a performance as the man you hate to like but a piece of you can’t help it when you want him to win. He is a sophisticated and talented con-artist and with victims like the entitled Dickie Greenleaf you have more of a desire to watch him get away with his crimes than pay for them.

An impressive adaptation of a well written crime thriller, The Talented Mr. Ripley plays with our heads. Somehow, despite our own conscience, we manage to relate to the villain of the story. Maybe because we see ourselves the way Ripley does. We are the victims of the world around us and wish to be something we are not. Maybe we are not exactly like the sociopath who masters imitations and manages to fit into worlds that are not his own. However we all have something we want and can’t have and how can we not admire someone who will stop at nothing to get it? Even if that something is murder. It’s funny how certain things grab onto us and The Talented Mr. Ripley grabs on to something we didn’t even know was there.

Suspense Saturday: Murder!

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Murder! released in 1930

Let’s go back to the early days of Hitchcock. In 1930 Alfred Hitchcock was still a budding director; co-written by Hitchcock, his wife Alma Reville and Walter C. Mycroft it is based on a book and play Enter Sir John by Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson. The third talkie film directed by the future master of suspense Murder! may not be one of his most popular films but when you watch it you will see the directors signature from the beginning.

Actress Diana Baring, played by Norah Baring, is accused of murdering fellow actress Edna Druce when she is found in a daze with blood on her clothes and the weapon at her feet. She has no recollection of the events and the police arrest her due to the damning evidence. The two young actresses are thought to be rivals and she withholds information that could help the police. After she is found guilty, juror and actor-manager Sir John Menier played by Herbert Marchass, feels responsible so he begins investigating the crime to prove her innocence.

Spoiler Alert

His investigation leads him to another actor in the troupe. Menier fakes an audition, calling in actor Handell Fane, who often plays cross-dressing roles. When Fane realizes that he is accusing him of the crime he leaves and goes to his job in the circus. When he realizes that he is caught, Fane hangs himself while performing his trapeze act. If it wasn’t for the work of Menier, Diana would have suffered that same fate in prison.

Murder! has me feeling more sympathy towards the actual perpetrator of the crime than I do for the women falsely accused. Considering the time of this film I highly doubt that was the intention but also, knowing Hitchcock, he probably wanted us to feel things far beyond our own comfort zones. Was that intentional?I don’t know, but like in all art, it is entirely up to our own interpretation.

Murder! is available to watch on Amazon Prime as well as on various free streaming sites.