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Film / Borsalino

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Borsalino is a 1970 French-Italian film directed by Jacques Deray and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon and Michel Bouquet. It is adapted from Bandits à Marseille, a 1959 book by Eugène Saccomano.

Roch Siffredi (Delon) goes out of prison. He hears that his girlfriend Lola has a new boyfriend, François Capella (Belmondo). He meets him in a bar and they fight, but eventually they become friends. They start working together and soon they try to move up the ladder in the underworld of Marseille.

The film had a sequel in 1974, Borsalino & Co. It was directed by Jacques Deray and starred Alain Delon.

Borsalino (1970) provides examples of:

  • Amoral Attorney: Rinaldi, the lawyer of the mob bosses and a shady character.
  • Bar Brawl: Siffredi and Capella fight for Lola in a bar.
  • The Casino: Siffredi and Capella visit Marello's casino. During their last visit, Capella plays cards, while Siffredi confronts Marello and finally kills him. Then their mooks arrive, steal the money and destroy the furniture.
  • Cigar Chomper: Many characters smoke cigars, but Capella stands out with his very cool way of smoking.
  • Cock Fight: Siffredi and Capella fight for Lola.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Capella meets a girl at a flower shop. It turns out that she is the girlfriend of Poli, a rival mob boss.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Poli. When he hears that Capella invited his girlfriend Ginette to take a boat ride, he slaps her in the face and he orders his henchmen to beat Capella up. Later, when Ginette goes to Capella's hotel room to try to prevent him from falling into a trap, Poli shows up and he kills her.
  • Criminal Procedural: The protagonists are criminals.
  • Disposable Woman: Ginette is killed by Poli, so Capella has to avenge her death with the help of Siffredi.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Siffredi, a mobster, often visits his mama and cares for her.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The real name of the Dancer, an effeminate mobster, is never revealed.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The protagonists are two mobsters. The antagonists are mobsters, corrupt corporate executives and an Amoral Attorney.
  • Fedora of Asskicking: That is where the title comes from. All the male characters wear them.
  • The Film of the Book: The film is adapted from Bandits à Marseille, a 1959 book by Eugène Saccomano.
  • The Great Depression: The movie is set in 1930.
  • In Love with the Gangster's Girl: Capella falls for Ginette, the girlfriend of Poli, a dangerous mob boss.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: Siffredi gets out of jail in the beginning.
  • Klingon Promotion: Siffredi and Capella kill Poli and they inherit his business. Later, they kill Marello and they take control of his criminal organization.
  • Lovable Rogue: Siffredi and Capella get a positive point of view. Their victims are only other mobsters, and corrupt corporate executives. Their opponents are depicted as treacherous, whereas they are loyal to each other.
  • The Mafia: The mobsters are not explicitly Italian: they all have Italian names, but they could be Corsicans. Siffredi speaks with his mother in Italian.
  • Meaningful Funeral: There is a scene with Poli's funeral.
  • Mob War: Siffredi and Capella are first at war with Poli's gang. Then the death of Rinaldi triggers a war between their gang and Marello's.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: Siffredi and Capella have killed the two mob bosses of Marseille and they have successfully taken control of their business. Capella decides to leave the city and he has just said goodbye to Siffredi when he is shot dead.
  • Nouveau Riche: When he becomes a mob boss, Siffredi decides to live in a Big Fancy House decorated with expensive artworks.
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Capella invites Ginette to take a boat ride with him. Her boyfriend Poli gets very angry about it.
  • Shoutout: When Siffredi gets out of jail, a poster of The Blue Angel can be seen.
  • The Stool Pigeon:
    • Siffredi thinks that he was sentenced to prison because the Dancer denounced him.
    • Rinaldi reports to Poli that Siffredi and Capella are going to attack his meat warehouse.

Borsalino & Co. (1974) provides examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Volpone, the big bad, is thrown alive in the fire box of a steam locomotive.
  • Best Served Cold: Siffredi waits several years in Genoa before coming back to Marseille to get revenge against Volpone.
  • Bodybag Trick: Siffredi hides in a coffin to escape from the asylum.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Volpone would have avoided many problems if he had killed Siffredi in the beginning, instead of making him out to be an alcoholic and a mentally ill person.
  • Damsel in Distress: Lola is forced to work as a prostitute in a bar owned by Volpone when Siffredi is in Genoa. When Siffredi comes back to Marseille, he immediately attacks the bar where Lola works to free her.
  • The Chanteuse: During the opening night of Siffredi's theatre, there is a female singer. Her song encourages the sailors to "take" her.
  • Criminal Procedural: The protagonists are criminals.
  • Dirty Cop: Inspector Cazenave, who openly collaborates with Volpone, a mob boss.
  • The Dragon: Sam to Volpone. Siffredi kills Sam before killing Volpone.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Even if he does not have an evil plan to help Hitler to take control of Marseille like Volpone, Siffredi is still a mob boss and his activities are not heroic (for example he exploits prostitutes).
  • Fedora of Asskicking: Just like in the first film, all the male characters wear fedoras.
  • Force Feeding: Siffredi is forced to drink alcohol when he is caught by Volpone. Later, Siffredi kidnaps Sam and Inspector Cazenave and he forces them to drink too.
  • Go Among Mad People: Volpone makes Siffredi out to be a mentally ill person and Siffredi is locked up in an asylum.
  • The Great Depression: The film is set in the 1930's. The rise of fascism is tackled, with Volpone who wants to help Hitler to build a new order in Europe. He smuggles German weapons into Spain.
  • Great Escape: Fernand sets up a plan to make Siffredi escape from the asylum: he gets hired by an undertaker who supplies coffins to the asylum, then, during a delivery, he hides Siffredi in an empty coffin.
  • Guns Akimbo: Siffredi uses two guns when he tries to escape from the theatre.
  • I Want Them Alive!: When Siffredi is cornered by Volpone's mooks, Volpone says that he wants him alive.
  • Lovable Rogue: Siffredi gets a positive point of view. His opponent is a mob boss with an evil plan.
  • The Mafia: Volpone is Italian. Siffredi recruits Italian mobsters in Genoa.
  • Meaningful Funeral: The film opens with the funeral of Capella, Siffredi's friend and partner.
  • Media Scrum: When Siffredi is intoxicated in a bar, Volpone invites journalists to watch it. Later, Siffredi does the same with Sam and Inspector Cazenave.
  • Mob War: Siffredi starts a war against Volpone in the beginning, but he is soon defeated. When he comes back to Marseille, he wages a new war against Volpone.
  • Prepare to Die: Siffredi tells Volpone in the police station that he will kill him. Later, he calls him to tell him that he will die on the same day as Sam.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Siffredi comes back to Marseille to get revenge against Volpone. He kills many mooks, The Dragon and Volpone.
  • Sequel Escalation: The first film is about two mobsters who fight with mob bosses for the control of the underworld of Marseille. The big bad of the sequel is a mob boss who has connections with the fascist movements of Europe. He wants to help Hitler to take control of Marseille by selling heroin to its population.
  • Sequel Hook: In the end, Siffredi, his henchmen and Lola go to America to set up a new "business". There is even a To Be Continued caption. Actually, no further sequel was made.
  • To Be Continued: The film ends with a "À suivre" caption.
  • We Can Rule Together: Volpone tries this when he meets Siffredi in the police station. He says that it could be so easy to get an agreement with a man like Siffredi.