Few enough people know that The Talented Mr. Ripley is based on Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel of the same name. Fewer still know they already made one movie about Mr. Ripley, a little French number called Purple Noon (1960). (Even fewer have seen the Ripley study called The American Friend (1977).)

If you happen to be one of a handful who has seen Noon, The Talented Mr. Ripley is retreading old ground. It's actually different. In fact, it's very different. So much so that with the exception of a few brief scenes and the overall theme, these two films could be based on different source material. What's really astonishing is that both are excellent films.

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