Django (1966)

Production Year: 1966
Release Date: 01/21/2013
Studio: Argent Films
Collection Number: 962

I'm sure some of you are scratching your head at the idea of a horror blog reviewing a spaghetti western, but the fact is some of these films do share a lot of similarities with the horror genre...The violence, the gore, in Django's case it's very bleak atmosphere.  Some of the genre's most famous directors have even taken a "stab" at the genre, Lucio Fulci for instance directed Franco Nero in Massacre Time, one of a handful of westerns the man would helm during his career.

Django is not just my favorite western, but one of my favorite movies in general.  Prior to seeing this film my experience with westerns were mainly through John Wayne, it wasn't until Blue Underground put out the 1966 Sergio Corbucci masterpiece that I'd get my first real taste of the spaghetti western and all it had to offer.  Right as the catchy theme song hit I knew I was in for a real treat.  The first thing I noticed was how mucky this film looked compared to the bright American landscapes I was used to.  It was certainly different, even the supposed good guys in this film were bad, it was wonderful!  Django is about a mysterious man who roams into a small town dragging an old dirty coffin.  Inside the coffin?  Well, I won't spoil that.  The murky town he stops in is currently in the midst of a turf war between a KKK-like army and a mob of armed Mexicans.


Django is in this area for a reason, the general of the small army has something he wants- something he'll stop at nothing to get.  This is a film about betrayal with a bit of revenge thrown in.  It's got all of the ol' western staples such as gun fights, lone strangers, and seeking gold, though they're turned up to the nth degree and in some cases ultra violent.  It's not the first Spaghetti Western but it certainly started a few trends that it's predecessors would use.  Some of the violence in this film might seem tame by today's standards, but this particular western would go on to be banned in a handful of countries!


Argent films did a wonderful job with this release.  The print has been cleaned up and is presented in it's original aspect ratio.  The movie was low grade and is almost 50 years old, so it does have some wear and tear from age, but over all I was pretty pleased with how the print looked.  The sound is about on par with the picture, aged, not perfect, but still good  There's two audio options available; An English DTS and an Italian DTS.  When compared to the Blue Underground release it's hard to pick a definite winner as some of the colors tend to pop more with the Argent films release, but the Blue Underground print looked a bit more defined in some areas.


The extras on this release also differ from Blue Underground's.  Included is an interview with Franco Nero, a very informative interview with Alex Cox, an alternative opening, two trailers for the film (Italian and international) and lastly, a trailer park featuring similar films the studio has released.


Out of all the extras the first one I went to was the alternative opening sequence...I was a bit let down when it turned out to just be the normal opening with the credits in English instead of Italian.  I'm not sure what I was really expecting, but either way I got my hopes up.  The interview with Alex Cox ended up being the winner of the disc as far as supplements are concerned.  The man knows his stuff and it was interesting hearing about how Django was banned in his country for years, apparently the only way to have seen Django in the UK for a stint of time was through small snippets featured in the film "The Harder They Come."    


Corbucci's film about a lone haunted gunfighter would go on to inspire a slew of similar films, many of which would include the Django character.  As far as it's spaghetti ilk go Django tends to walk in the shadow of Leone's various films which is a true pity.  Argent's Django is a solid release and the film is one of the best of it's genre.  I'd highly recommend picking up a copy.  You can find this title and plenty more over at Argent Films website.

2 comments:

  1. I wasn't scratching my head because I'm aware that Spaghetti westerns and Italian gore films are intertwined. Corbucci has got some great stuff!

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    1. Agreed totally. There's some damn gruesome stuff in those Italian westerns. I'm thinking in the future I'll cover some of the Wild East releases.

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