Owen Gleiberman
December 11, 2009 AT 05:00 AM EST

Critic Owen Gleiberman chooses the best of her film adaptations

1. Strangers on a Train(1951)
Alfred Hitchcock turned Highsmith’s first novel into one of his great films, a tale of switched murders that catches her insidious overlap of good and evil.

2. Purple Noon (1960)
Terrifically moody, this French version of The Talented Mr. Ripley gave Alain Delon a defining role. His Ripley is stylish and cunning but a little too…straight.

3. The American Friend (1977)
Wim Wenders adapts Ripley’s Game and also deconstructs it, bringing a free-floating ’70s dread to this tale of an art restorer lured into homicide.

4. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
The one film that puts the Highsmith world, in all its perverse complication, on screen. Matt Damon’s Ripley is boyish, devious, sociopathic, haunting.

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