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Django

Italy / Spain 1966
produced by
Manolo Bolognini, Sergio Corbucci for B.R.C. Produzione, Tecisa
directed by Sergio Corbucci
starring Franco Nero, José Bodalo, Loredana Nusciak, Ángel Álvarez, Jimmy Douglas (= Gino Pernice), Simón Arriaga, Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia, Erik Schippers (= Remo De Angelis), Raphael Albaicín, José Canalejas, Eduardo Fajardo, José Terrón, Lucio De Santis, Silvana Bacci, Flora Carosello, Yvonne Sanson
story by Sergio Corbucci, Bruno Corbucci, screenplay by Sergio Corbucci, Bruno Corbucci, Franco Rossetti, José Gutiérrez Maesso, Piero Vivarelli, music by Luis Bacalov, assistant director: Ruggero Deodato, cinematography by Enzo Barboni (= E.B. Clutcher)

Django

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Half gringa, half Mexican Maria (Loredana Nusciak) is about to be abused by a gang of red-hooded hoodlums when a mysterious stranger dragging a coffin through the countryside appears from nowhere and kills her tormentors. The man proves to be Django (Franco Nero), an ex-Northern soldier who has gone to the South on a personal mission, but is met everywhere with distrust.mIn the next village, he takes up residence with Maria in Nathaniele's (Angel Alvarez) whorehouse and soon picks a fight with ultra racist Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo) and his gang of red-hooded thugs, who have come to collet protection money from Nathaniel and who prove to have the town in their steel grip. After killing all of the Marjo's bodyguards, Django invites the Major to come to town the next day with all of his men for a showdown.

Expecting a quick victory over Django, the Major does really bring all his men, but then Django pulls a machine gun out of his coffin and mows all but a few down. He lets the Major survive, but his days in the city are ofer ...

But why has Django done it? The Major has once killed the woman he loved, and nothing but complete revenge is now Django's driving force.

With the Major gone, a group of Mexicans led by General Hugo (José Bodalo) now take over the town, and also lay claim on Maria. And wouldn't you know it, Django and Hugo prove to be old friends, with Django not only having no objections to giving up Maria to the General but also helping him to steal gold in the care of the Major from an camp, in order to buy machine guns. It is only when Django and the General have a dispute over the gold that things start to go wrong - so while the others are celebrating their successful heist, Django steals the gold from the General, in turn leaving his machinegun behind, since he needs his coffin to transport the loot. Django manages  to escape, and even takes Maria with him, but then he loses the gold when it's accidently pushed into the quicksand, and when Django is trying to retrieve it, the General catches up with him, shoots Maria and - out of mercy for his old friend - destroys Django's hands so he can't use his guns no more. The General and his gang soon walk into an ambush set up by none other than Major Jackson and are all killed, but now the Major wants to have his revenge on Django, who's less than fit for a gunfight ...

 

Besides the Sergio Leone's Dollar-trilogy, Django can probably as the most genre-defining movie when it comes to spaghetti westerns, as not only do all the genre elements seem to be in place here, from its emphasis on a lone wolf anti-hero to its revenge plot to its bleack and gritty approach, it also created the ultimate spaghetti western superstar with Franco Nero. But that said, Django never feels a paint-by-numbers job as so many later genre entries did, as it's a very well-crafted movie that's heavy on atmosphere, that features its fair share of macabre details, that finds the right balance between violent action and slower moments, and that adds more suspense to the proceedings than most westerns. And after over 50 years, this movie still looks remarkably fresh when many others of its ilk shine at best for their nostalgia value. In all, a deserved classic, and pretty much a must-see not only for genre fans.

 

The movie by the way was so successful, that many other Westerns would suddenly have the word "Django", a name that director Corbucci borrowed from legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, in the title, be it in its original versions or its various translations. The film though wouldn't have an official sequel until 1987's Django Strikes Back, again starring Franco Nero.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD