Re-released by those great people over at Argent Film, we bring you Django, a spaghetti western of the highest order. Made in 1966 by director Sergio Corbucci (A Professional Gun, Navajo Joe and The Great Silence) he brings a mud soaked, blood drenched vision of the old west; and a film that has had indelible footprint on westerns ever since. Though banned on its original release by the BBFC in 1966, the film went on the make a star out of its lead Franco Nero (Die Hard 2, Force 10 from Navarone and Keoma) and has been paid homage to by many directors since, especially Quentin Tarantino, in such films as Reservoir Dogs.
The film starts as a lone man walking across the mud soaked wastes of the old west, dragging behind him a coffin, this man is Django (Franco Nero), a man with no past or future. He is a man driven by vengeance for the death of his wife.
Wondering through the mud on his way to a desolate town, he witnesses the flogging of a woman, Maria (Loredana Nusciak – I sette gladiatori and 10.000 dollari per un massacro) , a bordello girl from the nearby town, by a bunch of Mexican bandits. Still watching, the bandits are then gunned down by a group of red masked cowboys. Rather than wanting to save this woman the cowboys want to tie her to a burning cross and kill her. This shows that this film is giving us nowhere to hide from the horrors of Corbucci’s old west.
Django confronts these masked cowboys and without a flicker of emotion and a pithy one-liner dispatched the whole gang to rescue Maria, even finishing of a wounded cowboy whilst in mid-conversation with Maria without breaking eye contact. This shows us what type of man Django is. A man so cold towards his enemies yet knows that right has to be done.
Django returns Maria to the nearby town and the local hotel come bordello, which is run by Nataniele (Ángel Álvarez - A Professional Gun), a well meaning man, short in stature but big of heart it seems, who cares for his hotel and his girls and one of the only warm characters within the film, he is also the towns grave digger.
Nataniele tells Django of the troubles of the town and the private war being raged throughout it by the two gangs. The Mexican bandits, led by General Hugo Rodriguez (José Bódalo – Captain Apache and Vamos a matar, compañeros) and the red masked cowboys led by Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo – The Four Musketeers and Dollars to Die For). A man so cruel that he uses the local Mexican peasants for his own fun, in a form of clay-pigeon shooting and still feels like the civil war is still raging. He is also the man that Django is looking for.
It would be wrong to tell of what is to come for Django within this review, but with gun fights of the highest order and a body count to worry Rambo, Django has everything you could wish for from in a spaghetti western. Old friends re-united then betrayed, Mexican gold to steel then steel again and one of the most eye-opening showdowns on offer.
Though a dark and a very harsh take on the western story, Django can stand next to the likes of A Fist Full of Dollars and other such greats with its head held high, but just one thing is left, what is in that coffin of his? Search out the film and find out for yourself, you want be disappointed.
Franco Nero … Django
José Bódalo … Gen. Hugo Rodriguez
Eduardo Fajardo … Maj. Jackson
Loredana Nusciak … Maria
Ángel Álvarez … Nataniele (Bartender)
Gino Pernice … Brother Jonathan (as Jimmy Douglas)
Simón Arriaga … Miguel
Direct By … Sergio Corbucci
The film spawned hundreds of unofficial sequels. Some were incorrectly titled Django, and were only titled so to cash in on the original. The film was so popular in Germany that almost every Franco Nero western there bears the Django name.
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