I’ve seen DJANGO mentioned many times in discussions of Spaghetti Westerns, and now I’ve seen the film itself in my continuing Western movie binge. In a comment on a previous post, Richard Prosch mentioned what a muddy film it is, and that’s certainly true. It even opens with Django, a prototypical mysterious stranger, slogging through the mud and dragging a coffin behind him. He rescues a beautiful woman from some trouble, then takes her to a town that’s being terrorized by a gang of ex-Confederate outlaws who wear either red scarves or red hoods. You get the feeling that when Django finally opens up that mysterious coffin, all hell is going to break loose, and sure enough, it does. (Kudos to Livia for guessing what was in the coffin before it was ever revealed.)
As if that gang of outlaws wasn’t enough for Django to deal with, there’s also a separate group of Mexican bandidos, plus a fortune in stolen gold, assorted double-crosses, some torture, a shootout in a graveyard, and finally, that sure-fire indicator of a good movie, quicksand! The pace never slows down much in this film directed and co-written by Sergio Corbucci, and as in the previous Corbucci film I watched a couple of days ago, NAVAJO JOE, the photography is excellent and the action well-handled all the way through. The ending is strong and satisfying in this one, too. As for the music, it’s not by Ennio Morricone, but it’s not bad. The theme song sounds a little like a Sixties TV Western.
Franco Nero looks great as Django, but whoever dubbed his English dialogue – I don’t know if it was Nero himself or some other actor – doesn’t do a very good job. I think whoever it was, was trying to emulate Clint Eastwood’s clipped delivery in A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, since Nero’s look and acting style is obviously modeled on Eastwood’s as well, but it doesn’t really work and the dialogue just sounds wooden most of the time. It’s not enough to ruin the film or anything, but it could have been better. As far as handling the action, though, Nero is great.
I know there are quite a few sequels to this movie with various actors playing Django. I may get around to watching some of them. As for DJANGO itself, I liked it quite a bit and think it’s a good solid entry in the Spaghetti Western genre.