Ripley Under Ground and Its Illegitimate Heirs

  • Wieland Schwanebeck
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Adaptation and Visual Culture book series (PSADVC)


Ripley Under Ground (1970), the lesser known sequel to The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955), interrogates the notions of forgery and lack of authenticity, as the hero gets involved in an art forgery scam. Much of the novel’s Derridean spirit (where each new ‘artistic’ signature is already contaminated by the possibility of its forgery and the notion of the ‘original’ is severely put into doubt) permeates its film adaptations, all of which are haunted by the specter of illegitimacy. The chapter traces this ‘dubious legacy’ in Roger Spottiswoode’s official adaptation of the novel (2005), but also in films as diverse as Wim Wenders’ The American Friend (1977), The Million Dollar Hotel (2000), and A Gift for Murder (1982), a Highsmith pastiche produced for British television.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TU DresdenDresdenGermany

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