Saturday, June 06, 2009


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.


Randy Johnson said...

I enjoyed this one as well. I thought the voice in the theme song sounded like Elvis, but my brother-in-law assured me it wasn't him.

Kerby Jackson said...

Django is definitely one of the best Spaghetti Westerns out there and ranks up there with any of the Eastwood vehicles.

There's something very effective about that opening scene with Django walking through the mud and dragging a coffin behind him.

Anonymous said...

Django's wildly violent and frenetic action scenes are still overwhelming today. They must have blown the film's original audiences out of their seats.
Hey, if you have the film on DVD you can watch it in the original Italian with subtitles. This not only eliminates the dreadful (if unintentionally amusing) dubbing but also shows off a script with a good deal more to it than you'd guess from the dub.

Now you need to see Johnny Yuma, Kill Them All and Come Back Alone, The Big Gundown and I Want Him Dead!

Spaghetti is sublime.
John Hocking

Bruce said...

I was just going to say the exact thing John Hocking said. One of the DVD versions I think Blue Undergrounds you can listen to the Ialian with english subtitles. Don't worry the song is still in english.

Campaneros, A Bullet For The General, The Mercenary, The Big Gundown, Run Man Run, and Day of Anger should all be added to your to be watched list

Peter said...

What about SABATA?!

I've had the DJANGO theme song in my head off and off for the past two and a half years. It was kinda catchy at first but now I'd like to cut my head off with a rusty saw.

Peter said...

THE GREAT SILENCE would is my favorite spaghetti western. It's definitely in the top ten of my all-time favorite westerns and EL DORAGO is on the same list. SILENCE is Corbucci at his accidental best. Accidental because none of his other movies except possibly DJANGO can hold a candle to this flick and I suspect other folks had a heavy hand in the material. Just wish he could have squeezed Claudia Cardinale in there somewhere though Vonetta McGee is just right for the part she plays. Very unexpected. A truly existential flick. You have to watch the EXTRAS to see the idiotic way the studio made him tag on a happy ending...

RJR said...

Franco Nero played the part again in at least the second Django film. WASN'T AS GOOD AS THE FIRST, THOUGH.


Richard Prosch said...

Glad you had a good time with this one. Really enjoyed that final scene.
I had to wonder about building the town in the loose muddy soil and putting the cemetery in the rocks.

GOD's GUN has a similar finale (with the unlikely cast of Lee Van Cleef, Sybil Danning, Jack Palance, Richard Boone and Leif Garrett--no,really--)