Cool and Classic: Alain Delon is the original talented Mr. Ripley in 'Purple Noon'
Plus the Japanese anime 'Ninja Scroll,' more 'Mystery Science Theater 3000,' and more
"Purple Noon" (Criterion), the first screen version of Patricia Highsmith’s novel "The Talented Mr. Ripley," stars Alain Delon as the amoral American in Europe. The conniving poor boy lives the good life in Italy on the coattails of a rich American playboy (Maurice Ronet), and then plots to murder his meal ticket when he prepares to abandon Ripley for his girlfriend (Marie Laforet). Ronet is almost sadistic as the bored playboy who pushes Ripley just to see how far he’ll go for his handouts while Delon, the suave, impeccably cool bad boy male beauty of early sixties European cinema, plays Ripley with enough sinister charm and confidence to make him an endearing anti-hero. Director Rene Clement makes no bones to the “anti” part of that definition. He remains truer to the tone of the novel than Anthony Minghella in "The Talented Mr. Ripley," though Clement too spins the final scene: he leaves the viewer with one satisfyingly ironic twist.
Blu-ray and DVD, with new video interview with René Clément scholar Denitza Bantcheva, archival interviews with actor Alain Delon and novelist Patricia Highsmith, and the English-language trailer, plus a booklet with an essay by film critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a reprinted 1981 interview with Clément.
Think of the 1995 anime thriller "Ninja Scroll" (Sentai) as "Yojimbo" goes to hell. Wandering warrior Jubei Kinogame is poisoned by a devious Ninja spy and blackmailed into battling an undead warlord and his demon minions. His partner in mayhem is a deadly female Ninja who has her own toxic problems: the poison seeping through her system kills all who make lover to her. With flashing swords, supernatural swordsmen, spurting blood, wicked moves, losers sliced in two, and lots of brutal sex, this is a comic book version of a samurai saga with block print coloring that gives it the look of old Japanese prints. Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s animated maelstrom had a big impact on anime films of the samurai brand. Japanese and English soundtracks with optional English subtitles and Japanese commentary. Remastered for this new DVD edition and Blu-ray debut.
"Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXV" (Shout! Factory) yuks it up with heckling commentary on four cult movies, including "Kitten With a Whip" with Ann-Margret as a wild-child delinquent who escapes from reform school and puts the moves on family man John Forsythe. The set is filled out by the 1967 James Bond knock-off "Operation Kid Brother" (with Sean Connery's young brother Neil in the lead), the "Black Lagoon" sequel "Revenge of the Creature," and the direct-to-video cheapie "Robot Holocaust." Four discs in a box set plus introductions by Joel Hodgson and Mike Nelson, featurettes, and mini-posters. DVD only.
"Silent Night, Deadly Night: Double Feature" (Anchor Bay) present the original 1984 psycho Santa horror and its first sequel. He doesn’t care about the nice: he’s out to punish the naughty. In "Silent Night, Deadly Night" (1984), a traumatized kid grows into an unbalanced adult (Robert Brian Wilson) pushed over the edge when he’s forced to dress in a Santa Claus suit, and immediately begins a Christmas murder rampage. Linnea Quigley co-stars. In "Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2" (1987) it’s his kid brother (Eric Freeman) who takes up the axe to turn the killing spree into a family Christmas tradition. So heartwarming that parents groups tried to ban the films. Two discs, with filmmaker commentary on both films, "Santa’s Stocking of Outrage," galleries and posters and stills, and, a DVD-ROM accessible screenplay for "Part 2." DVD only.
"X-Game" (Danger After Dark) is Japanese torture porn as a sadistic game of punishment and revenge on school bullies, from director Yohei Fukuda. Japanese with English subtitles. DVD only.
Debuting on the manufacture-on-demand format is "Perry Mason: The Original Warner Bros. Movies Collection" (Warner Archive), featuring six films from the early thirties that first brought the legendary lawyer to the screen. Videodrone's review is here.