Blu-ray Review: Borsalino

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story

The superstar team up is always a big rush. As a kid, the pages of The Brave and the Bold showed what happened if Batman teamed up with other superheroes. The bigger thing was seeing two solo pro wrestlers joining forces. Sometimes this would prove tricky when the two wrestlers had a history of being antagonistic towards each other. They are forced to team up for whatever reason and became on odd couple. While it was fun for a while, you’d sense that one guy would turn on the other at some moment. They’d get jealous or the bad guy just can’t handle being a babyface for too long. During a major match, one would betray the other. Movies are always wanting to push a superstar team up with leading actors sharing the screen. In 1970s, Art House fans were given the dream matchup with Jean-Paul Belmondo (Breathless) and Alain Delon (Le Samouraï) joining forced for Borsalino.

Roch Siffredi (Alain Delong) gets released from a prison in Marseille’s France back in 1930. He’s in no mood to be reformed as he casually sets fire to a mobster bar. He’s eager to find his old girlfriend Lola (Picnic In the Grass’s Catherine Rouvel). He gets wind that she’s seeing François Capella (Belmondo). They get into a knockdown drag out fight that leaves both men feeling a bit of kinship for each other. They join forces and begin their own little schemes including promoting a fixed boxing match. This brings them to the attention of Marello and Poli, the two mobsters in charge of the port city’s underworld. Siffredi and Capella discover that the two crimelords aren’t that close and decide to split the two and grab all the power. As they consolidate power, they discover that harsh truth about all the paperwork involved in running a criminal empire. Are they going to get bored to death by bureaucracy or taken out by the next person who think it’s a fun life at the top of the crime pyramid.

A lot of times, having two major superstars join forces for a movie doesn’t work out. Half the time they’re cast to play opposite sides of the law. This leads to one playing the villain and the other being the hero. Both Belmondo and Delon were noted for playing the bad boy on screen. Luckily, they’re both gangsters in Borsalino. Delon was noted for playing rather quiet characters with Belmondo more into talking on screen. There’s no competition as to who has more lines. They duo play well together as they climb the ladder of criminal enterprises. This movie had to please those French film fanatics as they packed their local arthouse to admire their idols all slicked up in ’30s gangster gear.

Before you get confused why neither Belmondo nor Delon play a character named Borsalino; the movie’s title is the name of a hat company. The Italian hat manufacturer made the iconic felt hats wore by Humphrey Bogart at the end of Casablanca and Belmondo’s gangster character in Breathless. Delon and Belmondo wear them in this film. Among Delon’s major duties as the producer of the film was to get Borsalino to let them use their name as the film’s title. The company agreed under the condition that the film’s title in the poster and promotional material used the company’s logo.

Borsalino delivers on the tag teaming of Belmondo and Delon. They found the right film to show them as partners in crime by being criminals. The film was a major hit in Franch when it was released in 1970. The film had a major impact on one viewer when Rocco Siffredi took his stagename from Delon’s character. Borsalino is a great gangster film with a French twist from the two stars.

The Video is 1.66:1 anamorphic. You’ll notice black bars on the sides of your HDTV. The transfer plays up the period piece nature of the film. Belmondo and Delon look stunning in the higher resolution. The Audio is LPCM Mono for both the French and English dubs. The French is better to get the full effect of Belmondo’s voice. The movie is subtitled in English.

Audio Commentary by film scholar Josh Nelson gets into how the movie came together with Delon taking the lead as star and producer. He goes into the suit swap in the opening car ride between Delon and one of his gang. This is a film about style.

The Music of Borsalino (11:32) has composer and film historian Neil Brand delve into Claude Bolling’s score. He gets into Delon brought together the film as star and producer. He points out how Delon was probably inspired to do this team up with Belmondo in the wake of the success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Robert Redford and Paul Newman. The strange thing is the film gets into the themes of The Sting before it came out. The music conjures up the era before The Sting made Ragtime hot again.

Dressing Down (10:51) has film scholar Elizabeth Castaldo Lundén discuss Jacques Fonteray’s costume designs for Borsalino. She gets into how the leads suits define their characters.

Le Magnifique Belmond (13:01) is a French special about how Belmondo was a major action star. There are clips from throughout his care including a focus on the stunts he did. He even messed with a tiger. I want to see The Night Caller which featured him jumping on top of a moving train.

Theatrical trailer (1:18) gets us ready for Delon and Belmondo coming together.

Image gallery has over 30 pictures of posters, lobby cards, press photos,

Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Ginette Vincendeau and an archival piece by Elisa Fulco

Double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

Six postcard-sized reproduction artcards

Arrow Video presents Borsalino. Directed by Jacques Deray. Screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière, Jean Cau, Jacques Deray & Claude Sautet. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon, Arnoldo Foà, Catherine Rouvel, Françoise Christophe, Corinne Marchand, Laura Adani, Nicole Calfan & Hélène Rémy. Running Time: 124 Minutes. Rating: Unrated. Release Date: September 5, 2023.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.