The Tilted Mr. Ripley

I suppose you'll be wanting to know what it was really like in Europe in 1957 when, like Tom Ripley as played by Matt Damon, I arrived on the Queen Mary. I was there, of course, trying to find myself or, alternatively, someone who looked even remotely like Gwyneth Paltrow.

For starters, I have to say that The Talented Mr. Ripley's depiction of young Ivy Leaguers living abroad in the late '50s completely overlooks the role of pinball machines. Yes, pinball machines. In those days, every little cafe on the Left Bank seemed to have one. Americans were drawn to...

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