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The Typewriter in “The Talented Mr. Ripley” movie

“The Talented Mr. Ripley” is a film that weaves a tale of intrigue and identity. In it, a typewriter emerges not just as a prop, but as a symbol. That typewriter is an Olivetti Lettera 32.

The machine belongs to Dickie Greenleaf (played by Jude Law) but becomes, like the rest of Greenleaf’s life, the property of Tom Ripley (Matt Damon). Ripley’s character skillfuly manipulates his reality, much like he manipulates the keys of the Olivetti.

The Lettera 32, launched in 1963 as a successor to the ’22’, was celebrated for its functionality and elegance. Its lightweight design and durability made it a popular choice for writers and travellers alike. In the film, the typewriter is a quiet companion to Ripley’s schemes, its clacking keys underscoring the tension of his deceptions.

Image from “The Talented Mr Ripley”, released in 1999.

In a film set in the 1950s, the Lettera 32’s presence adds limited authenticity in a strict sense, with the model only being released in the following decade.

But it’s a window into the general era’s technology, reflecting both the style and the substance of the time.

Italian icons are on full display in the movie: Tom rides the city on a Lambretta and Dickie makes coffee with a stylish La Pavoni lever espresso machine.

The typewriter becomes an extension of Ripley’s character – sleek, efficient, and enigmatic.

Today, the Olivetti Lettera 32, much like its portrayal in “The Talented Mr. Ripley”, remains a coveted item for collectors and enthusiasts. It represents a blend of industrial design and cultural significance. It’s a reminder of a bygone era where each letter and word was a physical imprint on paper.

“The Talented Mr. Ripley” and the Olivetti Lettera 32 remind us of the power of storytelling – both in the written word and in cinema. The typed word is alluded to right up until end of the movie too with a Courier-like font used for the credits. The typewriter, in this context, is more than a tool… it’s a character that helps unravel a story of duplicity and desire.

Look out for Lettera models on our page dedicated to Olivetti typewriters.

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What typewriter is used in “Murder, She Wrote?”

A Classic in the World of Mystery

The opening credits of “Murder, She Wrote” are instantly recognisable to fans, featuring the legendary Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, typing away on her trusty Royal manual typewriter. This classic black typewriter, now housed in the National Museum of American History, is a symbol of the series’ charm and Jessica Fletcher’s methodical approach to unraveling mysteries.

The Royal Typewriter: A Character Itself

The Royal typewriter in “Murder, She Wrote” is more than a mere prop; it’s a representation of an era where storytelling was a personal, tactile process. As Jessica Fletcher’s fingers dance over the black keys, viewers are drawn into a world where each keystroke weaves a new intrigue. This typewriter is a nod to the traditional art of writing, standing in stark contrast to today’s digital age.

A Nostalgic Emblem

This typewriter symbolizes a journey back in time, to days when writers formed a physical connection with their tools, crafting stories imbued with a personal touch. Its rhythmic sound provides a comforting backdrop to the show’s intriguing plotlines, making it a beloved icon of the series.

In Conclusion: Celebrating a Legacy

As we reminisce about “Murder, She Wrote,” the Royal typewriter remains a treasured piece of television and cultural history. It embodies the meticulous craft of mystery solving and the joy of storytelling, capturing the imagination of audiences then and now. Every click and clack is a reminder of the bygone days of typewriting, preserving the legacy of Jessica Fletcher and the mysteries she solved, one keystroke at a time.

In later seasons, the show did change with the times and although the credits still opened with a shot of the typewriter, Jessica had embraced modernity and progressed to a personal computer and printer.

Browse Vintage Royal Typewriters

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