The Outside Man (Le marginal) (1983)

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Released 11-Nov-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 98:15
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jacques Deray
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo
Henry Silva
Carlos Sotto Mayor
Pierre Vernier
Maurice Barrier
Claude Brosset
Tchky Karyo
Jacques Maury
Roger Dumas
Gabriel Cattand
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Ennio Morricone


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

Unorthodox Police Commissioner Philippe Jordan (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is sent to Marseilles to break up the drug running activities of crime boss Sauveur Meccacci (Henry Silva). He succeeds in intercepting and destroying a major heroin shipment, but Meccacci has highly placed friends in politics and the police and Jordan is shuffled back to Paris and posted to a dead end precinct in the red light district to keep him out of the way. But Jordan is not a man to let things be however much the police hierarchy impedes him. With honest cop Inspector Rojinski (Pierre Vernier) and hooker Livia (Carlos Sotto Mayor) Jordan moves through the bars and clubs of the district, mixing with the Paris underclass and taking every chance he can to obstruct Meccacci, especially when his old friend Frankie (Tcheky Karyo) becomes entangled. This is unlikely to end peacefully!

The Outside Man (Le marginal) was directed / co-written by Jacques Deray who is known for films that are intended to entertain, not make political or artistic statements. He worked frequently with that other great French action star Alain Delon in eight films including Borsalino (1970), which starred both Delon and Belmondo, before directing Belmondo in Le marginal and four years later Le solitaire (The Loner). The Outside Man has American Henry Silva as its main villain but in truth he is underused due to a fragmentary and disjointed plot that sees Belmondo wandering the red light district dealing with men in gay bars, rescuing a 16 year old drug addicted girl from a house full of West Indian squatters and fighting a couple of pimps who had cut up Livia. Much of this may well show just how tough / cool Jordan (or Belmondo) is but it is only towards the end that the film seems to remember Meccacci and return to the main narrative.

The film does have some good moments. Although Belmondo looks a little jaded, his stunts, whether running across motorways dodging speeding cars, jumping from helicopters or brawling in bars, are athletic and impressive. His cool and charisma have been compared to that of Steve McQueen, and in The Outside Man we have Belmondo chasing his quarry through Paris in a Ford Mustang, a la McQueens famous chase in Bullit (1968). Also in the cast in an early role is a clean shaven Tcheky Karyo, better known for his later roles such as in Bessons La femme Nikita (1990).

The Outside Man was another huge hit in France for Belmondo. It is an action film with some style and decent stunts, but the narrative is fragmentary and does not provide any character arc for any of the participants. Much of what happens is obvious and predictable and even the master Ennio Morricones score lacks sparkle. While the film is minus the charm and wit of earlier Belmondo films, it is not uninteresting and still worth watching.

The Outside Man is included in the four disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 3 from Madman that also includes The Professional (1981), The Loner (1987) and Amazon (2000).

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Transfer Quality

Video

The Outside Man is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

The print, especially in the outside shots, lacks sharpness, although inside scenes have crisper detail. The colours are also fairly dull and muted throughout, with the exception of Belmondos red shirt! Blacks and shadow detail are fine, but contrast does vary considerably in some shots, as does brightness. There is occasional breakup of the image under motion (see 8:45 as one example), aliasing (such as at 14:53) and the odd flicker and artefact, but nothing too serious.

There are no subtitles available.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The audio is disappointing because the original French audio track is not offered. Instead, the only audio available is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono dub at 224 Kbps, which really is a pity.

Dialogue can occasionally be difficult to hear, and the lack of subtitles does not help. This, of course, is an English dub and not a particularly good one at that with some silly accents. The effects, such as the car chase, are acceptable. There was no surround or subwoofer use.

The score by Ennio Morricone is one of his lesser efforts with nothing standing out. It came across cleanly.

As this was the English dub of the original French language, lip synchronisation was poor, except for Henry Silva who, as far as I could tell, was speaking English on set.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

None

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The only other release I can find for The Outside Man is a Region 2 French version. It is listed as having English, French, German and Italian mono audio dubs plus a commentary, filmographies, photo gallery and trailers, but whether any subtitles are available for the feature and commentary is unknown.

I cannot find an equivalent Belmondo collection listed on sales sites, indeed Amazon.co only lists our Region 4 release. The only thing close is a Region 2 UK collection that includes Breathless, Pierrot Le Fou, Le Professional, Stavisky and A Double Tour.

Summary

The Outside Man is an action film with some style and decent stunts, but the narrative is fragmentary and does not provide any character arc for any of the participants; even the master Ennio Morricones score lacks sparkle. While the film is minus the charm and wit of earlier Belmondo films it is not uninteresting and still worth watching.

The DVD has acceptable video but the audio is an atrocious English dub rather than the original French language. There are no extras but the film is presented in a box set with three other Belmondo films, which is great value.

The Outside Man is included in the four disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 3 from Madman that also includes The Professional (1981), The Loner (1987) and Amazon (2000).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, January 27, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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