Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Django (1966)

Django is a name that has towered over the Western genre for many years before Quentin Tarantino decided to take it and put it to the masses with the fantastic Django Unchained. I'm sure that many people will now seek out the older movies thanks to the major homage from Tarantino and that can only be a good thing, especially when the film holds up as such fine, influential, entertainment.

Django (Franco Nero), the titular hero, is a gunslinger who walks around dragging a coffin behind him. This, as you can imagine, makes for some strong imagery. In the first moments of the movie he guns down some men who are attempting to punish a woman named Maria (Loredana Nusciak). It turns out that Maria is a prostitute who has been caught in between a rock and a hard place, in the shape of Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo) and General Hugo Rodriguez (Jose Bodalo), two enemies who have been ruining a town caught up in the midst of their ongoing battles.

It may not have been the first of its kind, but it's hard to argue against the fact that Django is the most important and influential Western of its time. It certainly spawned enough sequels (both official and unofficial) and imitators, as did the classic Leone Westerns from the same period. Film fans can enjoy the movie, but they can also take great pleasure in spotting every moment and scene that has since been homaged in other movies (and not just by Tarantino).

Franco Nero is great in the main role, every bit as cool and mesmerising as Eastwood ever was. It's no wonder that to many people he will always be the character, despite how many others have played him, or variations of him. Loredana Nusciak is a suitably appealing damsel in distress, Angel Alvarez is great as the bartender who wants to keep his life as well as his bar and Eduardo Fajardo and Jose Bodalo are entertaining potential villains, depending on how they deal with Django.

Behind the scenes, Sergio Corbucci is the man responsible for this enduring creation. Not only did he direct the film, but he also wrote the screenplay with his brother, Bruno Corbucci, and a few other helpful scribes. Then there's Luic Bacalov, the man responsible for the superb score, who also deserves a fair bit of praise and Enzo Barboni does a good job with the cinematography. Ruggero Deodato fans will probably already know that he was an assistant director on the movie and it's certainly a worthy entry in his filmography even if he's not getting the biggest credit.

While it was never the most obscure movie, it's good to know that more and more people will discover this film after yet another cinematic love letter from Tarantino (love or hate his work, he does his best to point people towards the movies that he's always loved). Django isn't a great spaghetti Western, it's not a great movie for its time, it's not something to be viewed just as a hugely influential work of art. Django is a great movie, period.


There have been some criticisms of the Bluray release so fans may just want to opt for the DVD here until the film gets the treatment it so deserves - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Django-Newly-Re-mastered-Region-DVD/dp/B00ABH20HI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361482202&sr=8-2

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