The Loner (Le solitaire) (1987)

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Released 11-Nov-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 91:58
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jacques Deray

Madman Entertainment
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo
Jean-Pierre Malo
Michel Beaune
Pierre Vernier
François Dunoyer
Franck Ayas
Laurent Gendron
Jean-Claude de Goros
Guy Pannequin
Patricia Malvoisin
André Landais
Alan Coriolan
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Danny Shogger

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, constantly
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Police Superintendent Stan Jalard (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a disillusioned policeman about to retire to a Caribbean island with his best friend. But when his friend is brutally gunned down by psychopath Charly Schneider (Jean-Pierre Malo) Jalard remains with the force with the aim of finding and arresting Schneider. His methods are unorthodox, and he is not above beating and framing possible leads, which results in obstruction and conflict with Commissioner Pezzoli (Michel Beaune). But Jalard is determined and with the help of his team he trolls through Schneider’s underworld acquaintances and contacts until it becomes an all-out war that only one of them can win.

     The Loner (Le solitaire) 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 is the better film of the two although it was not as successful as The Outside Man at the French box office.

     Part of the reason was that by 1987 Belmondo was getting a bit old and grizzled to play dashing, romantic action heroes and, indeed, the French movie-going public were seemingly tiring of the crime thriller genre. As well, Belmondo, who prided himself on doing his own stunts, had suffered an injury in an earlier film and Deray made the decision to limit the action stunts in The Loner. The result is a film that is much tauter in its narrative than Le marginal, more a police procedural, outlining police surveillance techniques and working through leads than mindless action. This slower pace in The Loner actually allows Belmondo more room to develop a far more interesting and subtle character than the one he played in Le marginal. The Loner also has more wit and humour than the earlier collaboration, and while the introduction of Jalard’s godson, whose role seems to be to mess up Jalard’s love-life and who can be a bit annoying, it is all done with such good humour it is easy to forgive.

    As noted, The Loner was not as successful as previous Belmondo films. After this film, Belmondo gave up films to return to a (very successful) stage career, only returning for a handful of movies for the rest of his career. Nevertheless, The Loner is a well-structured, well-acted, police drama with plenty of interesting characters and situations, plus the charisma and charm of Jean-Paul Belmondo. The Loner is included in the four disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 3 from Madman that also includes The Professional (1981), The Outside Man (1983) and Amazon (2000).

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Transfer Quality


     The Loner is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a reasonably print with good detail, although some scenes could be a little soft. The colours are muted and natural, blacks solid and shadow detail fine. There is prominent grain in many scenes, some variation in brightness and contrast, occasional minor aliasing and small artefacts but nothing distracting except a minor breakup during motion at 75:20.

     English subtitles are in an easy to read yellow font, except when they are placed over the yellow opening titles. They seemed well timed and I noticed no obvious spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is a French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 224 Kbps that did what was required. Dialogue is clear, effects were shallow but gunshots had a reasonable resonance. There was no surround or subwoofer use. The musical score by Dany Schogger was laid-back and low key, which suited the mood of the film.

     Lip synchronisation was good.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



R4 vs R1

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

     There are a couple of DVD releases in Region 2 France of The Loner without English subtitles but as far as I can tell there is no single disc release in either Region 1 US or Region 2 UK.

     I also cannot find an equivalent Belmondo collection listed on sales sites, indeed 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.


     The Loner is a well-structured, well-acted, police drama with plenty of interesting characters and situations; plus the charisma and charm of Jean-Paul Belmondo. While others might not agree, The Loner is a better film than The Outside Man although it was not as successful at the French box office.

     The DVD has adequate video and audio. There are no extras but the film is presented in a box set with three other Belmondo films which is great value.

     The Loner is included in the four disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 3 from Madman that also includes The Professional (1981), The Outside Man (1983) and Amazon (2000).

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, January 31, 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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