I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Mysterious, Secretive, Lonely, Haunted

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

Talia Shire is one of those actors that rarely get the limelight, yet in the right part they’re absolutely essential to the functioning of the film they’re in. Take Rocky, in particular: while Stallone works fantastically well (these days, it’s easy to forget what he could bring to a film), without Shire, the film wouldn’t work nearly as well. On Friday, Sam wrote about her contribution, to Rocky as well as to the Godfather films, and it’s a great reminder of Shire and her roles.

Talking of talented actors: on Saturday, we launched our most recent podcast episode, on Patricia Highsmith’s iconic sociopath, con man, forger and human chameleon, Tom Ripley – focusing on the novel that introduced Ripley to the world, as well as the two very different yet complementary film adaptations, Plein Soleil (AKA Purple Noon) and The Talented Mr Ripley.

But that’s not all the Ripley cinema has to offer – so, without much ado, let’s continue with our regular, albeit podcast-inspired, trailerage for the week.

Sam: Just two years after Minghella’s popular remake of The Talented Mr Ripley, this rather obscure adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s second novel Ripley’s Game, starring murdering con artist/impersonator, came out as an international production directed by Liliana Cavani and starring John Malkovich in the title role. It must have struck audiences as doubly strange seeing a much older, much different Ripley in it (the novel was only released in 1974, almost twenty years after the first). Gone is the pretty poster boy façade and italianità, replaced by rather cold-hearted murder games, sly seduction and foggy French riviera vistas. It seems questionable that the movie was able to bank in (or even sought to) on being Minghella’s quasi-sequel. It’s probably closer in style to Wim Wender’s The American Friend, another adaptation of the same material, starring Dennis Hopper as Ripley – together with Malkovich, clearly going the psychopathic route of Highsmith’s material.

Matt: … and talking of the devil: heeeeere’s Dennis! And Bruno Ganz, probably best known to an international audience as Hitler-as-meme from the 2004 film Downfall, depicting the final days in the Führerbunker. Though, while The American Friend adapted Highsmith’s novel, it feels like an entirely different animal from either of the two Tom Ripley films we discuss in the June podcast, and its take on Highsmith’s sociopath protagonist is decidedly peripheral to the film. Still, it’s an interesting ’70s Wim Wenders film with a distinctly different look and feel from the other adaptations – and it’s always a treat to see Bruno Ganz in, well, anything.

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