The American Friend

americanfriendJonathan Zimmermann (Bruno Ganz), a German picture framer who thinks he has very little time left in this world, accepts an offer to kill a criminal for a large sum of money. The second film (following Purple Noon (1960)) to feature the character of Tom Ripley, it also became somewhat of a breakthrough for director Wim Wenders. Ganz is very good, but Dennis Hopper and the director make Ripley look like nothing but a contrived American symbol in a Stetson. The story is rather uninvolving, but the look of the film is very colorful and some of the scenes are memorably effectful.

1977-U.S.-France-West Germany. 127 min. Color. Written and directed by Wim Wenders. Novel: Patricia Highsmith (“Ripley’s Game“). Cinematography: Robby Müller. Cast: Dennis Hopper (Tom Ripley), Bruno Ganz (Jonathan Zimmermann), Lisa Kreuzer (Marianne Zimmermann), Gerard Blain, Jean Eustache, Sam Fuller… Nicholas Ray.

Trivia: John Cassavetes was allegedly considered for the part of Ripley. The character next appeared in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999); Wenders’s film was remade as Ripley’s Game (2003).

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