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Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley is set in the¬†late 1950’s. Highsmith was a Texas-bred, American novelist who is known mainly for her psychological crime thrillers which have led to more than two dozen film adaptations. The movie’s plot revolves around¬†a New Yorker, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever who was a lavatory assistant, is sent to Europe to retrieve a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy, named Dickie Greenleaf. When Mr. Ripley’s errand fails, he takes extreme, bizarre, and unique measures to¬†make the jet set lifestyle’s privileges his own. The¬†strange, eerie and atmospheric cinematography, set design, and costumes fit the story beautifully.

The movie was mainly filmed in¬†Italy¬†with landmarks in the cities of¬†Rome¬†and¬†Venice¬†used as a backdrop for the narrative. Released in 1999, one of its initial reviews ¬†by Andrew Sarris¬†for¬†The New York Observer¬†writes,¬†“On balance,¬†The Talented Mr. Ripley¬†is worth seeing more for its undeniably delightful journey than its final destination. Perhaps wall-to-wall¬†amorality¬†and triumphant evil leave too sour an aftertaste even for the most sophisticated anti-Hollywood palate”. Most critics, and more importantly, audiences agree that this film is an intelligent and suspenseful exploration of artistry, scenery, and ethics.

The backdrops and filming locations are described as “lusciously seductive”. Using a patchwork of European locales, the film recreates an Europe of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Mr. Ripley leaves from New York City to arrive in an Art Deco Palermo and then off to the the fictional Italian resort town of¬†‘Mongibello’. The director interprets this as the actual Ischia Ponte, Ischia, Italy. ¬†Most of the street scenes are filmed in the closely¬†San Rocco, Corricella, Procida, Italy. For complete information on the meticulously crafted locales, go HERE.

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At one point, Mr. Greenleaf stays at the ACTUAL St. Regis in Rome. European, Renaissance opulence at its finest.

Image found HERE.

The Bottega Veneta Suites at St. Regis designed by Tomas Maier, found HERE.

St. Regis Rome Designer Suite’s Living Room.¬†Situated in Rome, the capital city of Italy and of the Lazio region.

Designer Suite Entrance to the St. Regis Rome, Detail, image found HERE. 

One can recreate the lifestyle by surrounding oneself with plush fabrics, italian busts, marble countertops, art deco accents, colorful facades, gilded mirrors, woven persian rugs, ¬†atelier urns, ornate chandeliers, wicker cafe tables, European mannerist paintings from the 16th century. The key is lavish, exuberant, and ostentatious details! This bric-a-brac of items can be found throughout several scenes in the film, with a particular focus on mirrors (as an esoteric and philosophical challenge to Mr. Ripley…who is he?). ¬†Believe it or not, comfort isn’t exactly what these spendthrifts are about.

Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 (frame) / 11 (art)

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Keren Veisblatt Toledano is a Senior Strategist at Brooklyn United, a digital agency for bold brands. In her spare time, Keren can usually be found taking photos of old doors, visiting museum, soaking in Epsom salts, admiring copper pots, reading dystopian science fiction or sneaking a slice of lemon into her drinks. Her motto is, ‚ÄúA morning without coffee is sleep.‚ÄĚ She lives in a brownstone with her cat, Cagney, husband, Michael, and son, Josiah, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY.

  • Wow beautiful locations….And seems like an interesting movie too!

    • Keren

      The movie is CREEPY but very worth watching. Looking at the shooting locations, don’t you just want to jet off to Italy right now?

  • Elian

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! I had just spent an HOUR in the middle of the supermarket, having a conversation with Emilio, a first generation Italian American, about his trip to Ischia and Sorento, when I got home and found this post! I then spent an other hour checking out all the pictures of Ischia and other parts of Italy! I even considered signing up for an Italian class; we finally had dinner at about 9:30 pm!!