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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Spaghetti Western > Italy > Spain > Django (1966/Blue Underground Blu-ray)

Django (1966/Blue Underground Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Film: B-



When Sergio Leone made A Fistful Of Dollars (1964), little did he, Clint Eastwood or anyone know he had reinvented the Western or how many imitators would arrive, most of which were lame or schlock.  Among the literally hundreds produced in its wake, one of the few that worked and still works is Sergio Corbucci’s Django (1966), still a classic of the genre and still referenced and imitated today.  Franco Nero (War Of The Planets, Houston’s The Bible, Camelot) became an international star as a result of playing the title character in a film that decided to up the ante on crazy situations in the Spaghetti Western.


An expert gunslinger, he drags a coffin with him, but in contains a machine gun and when he is caught between a Mexican gang and the KKK, he finds whole new uses for it!  The film starts with a woman being tied up and beaten sadistically for reasons unknown, until Django intervenes, but little does he know this will lead to the latest conflict inside the burgeoning civilization he has arrived at.  For there, it gets rougher and more interesting until the final climax.


Nero could definitely hold his own and has screen presence, but left the role after this, not to return for until an official sequel in 1987!  However, the desire to fill his shoes has never stopped and that makes it the second most successful franchise the subgenre produced next to the Leone/Eastwood trilogy.  I had not seen the film in a very long time, but Blue Underground has gone out of its way to reconstruct the film by tracking down all the footage they could find an assembling the best restoration possible.  As a result, the film delivers, but you’ll see why censorship caused so many cuts to begin with.


Unlike the other Leone imitators, this film tries to do things differently and is also still trying to be a Revenge Western in the Hollywood tradition in some way, where Leone was breaking away from all conventions.  Therefore, some items are derivative, but this is a better film than it often gets credit for and thanks to Blue Underground, you can finally see why.


The 1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image is a reconstruction and has some nice shots, but also some shots that are grainier than usual (maybe second generation footage, which might be all that survived in some scenes) and some detail issues here and there, but the near-narrow vision compositions of Director of Photography Enzo Barboni (Hellbenders, Assignment To Kill) is more effective than it gets credit for and this transfer is like watching a lost film print, so I enjoyed it very much despite the flaws.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Italian 1.0 Mono shows its age and you can tell how it was dubbed, but it is superior to the English version which does not work and does not sound as natural.  Luis Enriquez Bacalov supplies the interesting score.  The combination is so good considering the history of the film, it belongs in any serious Blu-ray collection next to MGM’s recent Man With No Name Trilogy Blu-ray set, also reviewed on this site.


Extras include the Italian and International Theatrical Trailers, optional Franco Nero introduction, The Last Pistolero with Nero, Django: The One & Only piece with Nero and Assistant Director Ruggero Deodato interviews and Western, Italian Style, a vintage 1968 documentary about Spaghetti Westerns with Corbucci and fellow directors Enzo G. Castellari and Sergio Sollima.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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