Jeff Arnold’s West

The blog of a Western fan, for other Western fans

Django (Argent, 1966)

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Less djangly music
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After the three Dollars movies directed by Sergio Leone, Django and its 31 sequels, directed by Leone’s friend Sergio Corbucci (with Leone himself directing some scenes) are probably the most famous so-called spaghetti westerns.
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Films directed by Leone and Corbucci have much in common: cartoon violence, very poor sound, bad dubbing, minimal and low-quality dialogue and one-dimensional characterization. These Italian-Spanish and sometimes German co-productions are admired by spaghetti buffs and Django is considered a ‘cult movie’ by many, not least, of course, Quentin Tarantino.
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There are differences too: Django has more traditional, less jangly, or should we say djangly American-style music (Luis Enriques Bacalov). But it is even more violent. Django carries a machine gun around with him in a coffin (and this spawned endless spaghetti westerns with people hiding weapons – usually of mass destruction – in every conceivable container, from coffins to musical instruments). The evil Southern major shoots Mexicans for sport. The even eviller Mexican bandit cuts off a priest’s ear and makes him eat it. And so on. The body count is 138. The film was not released in the UK till 1993 and did not get a certificate in the US.
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The plot is rudimentary. Corbucci also saw Yojimbo in Rome and admired it so guess what, Django arrives in a town dominated by two rival gangs. (In fact variations on the Yojimbo plot are the basis of 50% of all spaghettis). Like Clint in A Fistful of Dollars, Franco Nero, whose name this movie made, is a grunting outsider with almost supernatural destructive powers who can shoot six men with six pistol shots at two hundred yards with crushed hands. His machine gun has an endless belt of bullets. It can fire for hours and never be reloaded.
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Women play perfunctory roles as whores to be traded. There is no overt sex, more just sleaze. It’s mostly violence.

 

The beat-up costumes are quite good and the town a muddy rat-hole.

 

The dubbing is so bad that sometimes victims fall down before the shot. Django’s voice (Tony Russell) doesn’t suit him at all and the bartender Angel Alvarez is voiced by an educated Englishman, which sounds most odd. Lip-synching is rudimentary at best. The gunshots are stupidly loud. They ricochet with a whine even when there’s no ricochet.

 

The major’s gang wear red sashes and hoods (maybe the Cowboys in Tombstone are a reference to this) to give them a KKK feel.
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All in all, Django is junk (though Corbucci made even worse Westerns) but is worth a watch for its hypnotic awfulness and to see what all the fuss is about.
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Ciao
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11 Responses

  1. Amazing! Amazing that anyone could like this pile of dung! Amazing! Amazing that some consider this some sort of classic! Amazing! Amazing that it actually rates a 7.2/10 on IMDB! Well I guess it’s not a total loss. There is that whore mud wrestling match in the street after all (and how come it’s always extremely muddy when it never seems to rain!?) And this is from someone who does like at least some spaghettis ( oops, sorry Jeff).

  2. Franco Nero would never repeat himself. Django is a good movie and Mr. Corbucci did his best to make an unforgettable film. Eduardo and Loredana also could not make a movie like Django.

  3. Django is also a 2023 TV show (10 episodes averaging 52 minutes each), a French/Italian/British production (2 of the writers were involved in the excellent Gomorra serie) which is inspired by and dedicated to Corbucci (Nero appears in a cameo again!). The main actors are Django-Matthias Schoenaert (belgian), Nicholas Pinnock (british), Milady!?-Noomi Rapace (swede) and Lisa Vicari (german). Their ad saying “make way for the new western” sounds rather pretentious to say the less after having watched 4 episodes(in spite a probably important budget). The show is very chatty, dragging and hard to follow with plenty of flash-backs and (self) overanalysing characters. Added the slow-motion, choreographed gunfights, the set, props and the costumes, it clearly (unvoluntarily) looks closer to a post-Tarantino spaghetti comic strip than a classic western.
    Set probably in eastern Texas (Romania can be very texan) as someone speaks of Nagocdoches in early 1870s (many 1873 Colt single action though but some cap and ball revolvers too) this is the story of a loner looking for his daughter left behind some years ago. She is on the verge to marry the leader of a (mostly black) post Civil War community, New Babylon…
    In a huge effort, I might watch it in full as I was told the last 3 hours are the most spectacular…
    Jeff, I am sure you will write about it one day in your eternal never ending quest…

  4. Decidedly, always verging on the most humorless ridicule, this show I have finally watched entirely takes itself too seriously. Very disappointing and truly bad and boring, considering the ressources deployed. The last episodes (with a Gatling gun with an inexhaustible magazine…) are not really better when I had been told the contrary with too much pathos, not enough action. You can take off comic from my previous comic strip qualification and my apologies to Q.Tarantino…

    1. We do rather agree on this one. The picture has legions of fans but you and I aren’t among them.

  5. I was talking if the recent TV serie bearing the same name as the Corbucci but I fully agree with you on it . But being shorter, it is automatically better than the serie…

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