Tu vuò fà l’americano

Here's one of my favourite scenes from 1999’s "The Talented Mr. Ripley": Tom’s first peek into the good life as Dickie and his friends are having an absolute blast in a Naples nightclub1 and performing Tu Vuo' Fa l'Americano (alternative link).

I seriously wonder how the productions of Patricia Highsmith's novel inevitably ended up being so… glamoruous. There's nothing remarkable about Tom, apart from his insidious, innate drive to claw his way up the top of the bucket of rats. Neither is Highsmith's spiteful and contemptuous writing - yet I find myself quite pulled toward her Novels, be it the full Ripliad, "Strangers on a Train" or "Cry of the Owl", or dramatizations such as the excellent BBC ones or "Carol" (The Price of Salt).

The films, however, are a sight to behold. The Talended Mr. Ripley's cast is riveting. Quite the difference to view them as young as they were back then:

  • Jude Law, a charming young philanderer, as opposed to the creepy old philanderer he now seems to be,
  • Gwyneth Paltrow still interested in acting (and being great at it!) instead of hawking poison to the most gullible of affluent suckers,
  • Matt Damon still possessing enough edge to hide his immense charisma and charm behind the mask of Tom's shifty, untrustworthy, barely-hidden malevolence,
  • and Philip Seymour Hoffman, well, being alive.

So, please enjoy this blast from the past with Tu Vuo' Fa l'Americano as performed by Rosario Fiorello and the Guy Barker International Quintet. Or perhaps you'd enjoy the song as performed by the Gypsy Queens?
The meaning behind l'Americano fits with some of the story’s themes in a funny way, with Tom as narrator remarking that Americans immediately go for Italian suits, while in turn Italians have a penchant for English cuts.

The rest of the soundtrack is also swell, with Sinead O'Connor’s Lullaby for Cain eerily setting the mood, and composer Gabriel Yared building great soundscapes as well.

  1. Well, the supposed "Vesuvio" nightclub was apparently really in Rome