aka LE MARGINAL
(France - 1983)
Directed by Jacques Deray. Written by Jacques Deray and Jean Herman. Cast: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Henry Silva, Carlos Sotto Mayor, Pierre Vernier, Maurice Barrier, Claude Brosset, Tcheky Karyo, Jacques Maury, Roger Dumas, Gabriel Gattand, Michel Robin, Jacques David, Jean-Louis Richard, Didier Sauvegrain, Stephane Ferrara (Unrated, 102 mins)
Though he's renowned by fans of world cinema for being one of the major faces of the French New Wave in films like 1960's BREATHLESS and 1965's PIERROT LE FOU for Jean-Luc Godard, and 1964's LEON MORIN, PRIEST for Jean-Pierre Melville, Jean-Paul Belmondo is equally well-known in France for his many action movies from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s. Belmondo never really made any attempts to crack the American market despite being courted by the Hollywood studios (the closest he came was a cameo in the 1967 James Bond spoof CASINO ROYALE, and he was enough of a known celebrity then that Than Wyenn played a spy named "Paul John Mondebello" on a 1967 episode of GET SMART), but his commercial action films certainly had a mainstream appeal that managed to get a couple of them distributed stateside (1975's THE NIGHT CALLER actually got an English-dubbed wide release in the US by Columbia). While Belmondo's action films made him a megastar at home and one of France's top box office draws, French critics who admired his early, "serious" work lamented his decision to focus on mainstream popcorn movies. Born in 1933, Belmondo's persona during this career phase was that of a man's man. He did his own often jaw-droppingly dangerous stunts, dated gorgeous actresses (he was romantically linked for several years to Ursula Andress in the '60s and then Laura Antonelli in the '70s), and as the '70s went on, he became the French equivalent of a Steve McQueen, a Burt Reynolds, or a Clint Eastwood. The 1983 cop thriller THE OUTSIDER (French title: LE MARGINAL) came late in the Belmondo action cycle and is rather typical of what French audiences expected when they went to see one of his movies.
going after a pair of Turkish pimps who beat up Livia Maria Dolores (22-year-old Brazilian pop star Carlos Sotto Mayor, the 50-year-old Belmondo's girlfriend at the time), a lovely young prostitute with whom he's gotten involved; searching for an ousted gay underling of Meccacci's in a leather bar straight out of CRUISING in a scene that would probably get Belmondo cancelled today; or raiding a shithole Rue de Lyon drug den to rescue the smack-addicted teenage daughter of a perp (Maurice Barrier) he sent to prison four years earlier. THE OUTSIDER opens with a terrific foot chase down and across a busy Marseille highway, with Belmondo hopping on and off semi trucks and dodging cars like a live-action version of Frogger, and there's also one terrific Remy Julienne car chase late in the film, where an enraged Jordan caps it off by slamming his Mustang into the other car, then backing up and plowing into it again several more times to make sure Meccacci's guys are dead and their bloodied bodies crushed beyond recognition, with onlookers standing there horrified at his brutality as he just exits his car and walks away. That's how Belmondo gets it done!
together for an interview and photo shoot with Paris Match, to the delight of fans who've followed the iconic screen legends for the last 60 years.
|Belmondo and Alain Delon in a June 2019 issue of Paris Match