Franco Nero stars as Django, a lone rough-cut gunslinger in worn-out clothes and duster. He travels through the grim, dirty badlands dragging a coffin behind him. In the opening scene Django rescues a woman from a group of men wearing red ties around their necks. He leads her back towards the nearby town, a secluded nearly ghostlike place with only the local saloon operating. It seems the town had been torn apart by countless battles between a group of racist Southerners that wear red ties as indication of their "beliefs" and the forces of a rebel self-proclaimed Mexican general. Unlike "A Fistful Of Dollars"' Joe, Django doesn't play it both ways, he makes his position clear very early on, he is after money and nothing else. There is no double play here, Django doesn't act with the same grace and precision Joe did, and he doesn't' care much for it either, Nero's character is a killing machine, and the contents of the coffin he drags show that ability of his.
First things first. When watching "Django" it is recommended that you see the Italian version. The English dub is not only corny but it also cuts a crucial portion of the plot regarding racial discrimination. So if you have a chance to see the movie in it's original language I suggest you see that version.
Anyways. There is an established consent that "Django"'s plot is a remake of Leone's "A Fistful Of Dollars" which in turns was a remake of "Yojimbo". While I agree that at some point "Django" does present a variation of the same story found in those films, I fail to agree that it is a complete remake. As noted above "Django"'s characters hold no similarity to those found in the previously mentioned movies. Further more Corbucci's own brand of story-telling tends to be a bit more brutal and violent than normal, his vision is accompanied with such acts that could leave a normal audience disturbed. One particular scene comes in mind. There a character has his ear cut off, is forced to eat it and is then gunned down. Such displays of brutality supplemented with the racist elements in the plot, greatly deviate "Django" from the movies that it's allegedly remade of.
Any negative comments on Franco Nero's performance are simply impossible, he does his job perfectly in creating Django's threatening, grim, bad-ass image and the entire movie and Corbucci's direction is focused around it. And speaking about direction, Corbucci demonstrates his style in perfect fashion. Once again as in Leone's films the sets are used as an enchanting factor during shootouts, with the great cemetery duel taking the cake for it's artistic level of detail. It is noted that Corbucci employs several elements that he would later re-use in his most powerful work "The Great Silence", for example the protagonists in both movies had their hands crippled shortly before their final confrontation with the antagonist, or their duty-bound temper that leads them to that moment. Both movies use those elements for different goal, but let's not detract on that. Unlike Curbucci's previous "Navajo Joe" here the score is supplied by Luis Bacalov, who does a commendable job with an especially catchy opening theme song.
Evidently enough Sergio Corbucci's "Django" is a one of the best Italian westerns you could find. It's rough, brutal nearly sadistic content makes it hard for most mainstream audiences, but if you have the guts and open mind and love the genre this one is a definite must.
The whole movie is violent and ark and dirty - and fascinating from the very fist scene to the surprising final showdown. Django is a modern myth, a cool comic figure and the creative art output of the change of social values in the 1960's. And it's no wonder that the 1968 students like Django as well as middle class school kids or film critics... next to Clint Eastwood's roles in the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns and Charles Bronson in "Once Upon A Time In The West", "Django" is a great modern European western opera with guns and horses and blood and a roaring gattling gun and with no space left for love, hope and traditional values. Highly recommended!
It has possibly quirkiest/awesomest theme some ever.
This film was inspiration for both Rodriguez's and Tarantino's first films.
Well worth checking out.
Django is about on a coffin-dragging gunslinger who enters a town caught between two feuding factions, the KKK and a gang of Mexican Bandits. That man is Django, and he is caught up in a struggle against both parties. The plot is similar to "A Fistful of Dollar" in which two separate gangs get played by our hero. The two party even meet and has a similar structure to "A Fistful of Dollars". Thankfully it does not chooses to copy the entire film. It contains an original story of its own and the two protagonists are different. The protagonist here doesn't work solo all the time giving him more interactions with plenty of minor characters. It contains some memorable scenes of it's own and one scene that involves an ear getting cut is reminiscent to a famous director debut. If it was not for the plot similarity to "A Fistful of Dollars" I would have rated it higher. Sorry I can not elaborate more on the plot, but "A Fistful of Dollars" keeps coming to my mind.
Franco Nero goes Eastwood in his physical stature. He looks similar to the "Man With No Name" with the beard, smoking cigar, and the outfit to some degree. The differences is small since Django does not have a poncho and the clothing is slightly different. Franco Nero performance is very different too. Unlike Eastwood, once Nero is broken he stays a broken man for the duration of the film. I would like to say Franco Nero did in fact appear in "Django Unchained". Nero played a small role as Vassepi who in the film goes to the bar for a drink and encounters Django, played by Jamie Foxx. As a nod to Nero's film, Vassepi asks Django his name, asks him to spell it, and, upon Django's informing him that the "D" is silent, says "I know." A nice nod that hopefully doesn't over viewers head. The production value is very solid. Granted I would like to see some indication of who got shot, but it's still impressive. The music kickass so much that Tarantino used the theme song in "Django Unchained". It contains plenty of gun fight and very high body count that can match "The Wild Bunch" death count. Terrific direction makes good use of it limitations and plays of it story to great success.
Django is basically a low budget version of "A Fistful of Dollars", but is still a well made Western and stand on its own. Django should satisfy any movie fan for it has the making of a great western. Great atmosphere, a well pace plot, plenty of gun fights, and escapism into a different era.
"Django" is a wild and violent Spaghetti western helped immensely by the charismatic Franco Nero in the lead. For a movie of this genre, it is surprising that it does have something of a social conscience as it examines racism, not only of the Americans(some of whom are seen wearing red hoods. Remind you of anything?) but also of Rodriguez, and how it probably fuels the ongoing conflict. In one scene, Rodriguez puts down Maria by referring to her half-Incan heritage in a derogatory manner. Could this explain why Maria has been shunned, even by those at the low end of the social spectrum?
Although spaghetti westerns of this type are defined by their being edgier than your garden-variety Hollywood melodrama portrayal of the Old West, there's something romantic about the storytelling him which intentionally draws sometimes near-cheesy histrionics that might be easier to embrace in the context of this romantic story is the story in question didn't get to be so formulaic with its melodramatics. The conventions would in turn be easier to embrace if there weren't refreshing elements here and there throughout this classic "man with no name" type of spaghetti western storyline, betrayed by the conventions that still aren't prominent enough to make the characters as recognizable as they probably should be. This film just wouldn't be what it is were it not for that enigmatic aura to some of the most important characters, who ought to be undercooked, but by under-developing most everyone, Sergio and Bruno Corbucci and Franco Rossetti, as writers, thin out much of the depth to the film, no matter how much time they spend dragging their feet. There are a number of subtly draggy plotting points that meander along, but, considering that the final product is merely a little over 90 minutes long, if nothing else retards momentum, it is a slow "sense" of momentum, for although Sergio Corbucci's direction is generally reasonably colorful, when dry spells kick in, the film dulls down, something that it can't afford to do if it wishes to craft a project whose execution is more rewarding than its concept. Almost all the complaints I just made are only moderate issues, thus, what really holds the final product back is natural shortcomings, as this is a surprisingly mostly action-oriented spaghetti western that seems to force in certain areas of dramatic consequence that still don't do much to beef up the narrative. It all comes down to a pretty disconcertingly abrupt ending, and by that time, it becomes all but impossible to ignore the inconsequentiality of this drama of limited dramatic weight, whose shortcomings are nonetheless stressed throughout the film by histrionics, conventions, developmental issues and slow spells which reflect a certain laziness. Of course, what reflects inspiration is near-shimmering, almost to the point of making a rewarding film, through all of the hiccups, partly through a solid artistic value.
As I said, Luis Bacalov, with the help Alabamian-turned honorary Italian Rocky Roberts opens the film with one seriously catchy theme song, but the soundtrack's flare doesn't quite end there, for although Bacalov's score falls into formula at times, it's never short on a beautiful Italian bite, complimented by some excellent Italian, Latin and classical-style guitar work, and punctuated by some subtle and intensity which characterizes the particular grit of spaghetti westerns, as surely as art direction defines the look of any western. Carlo Simi's art direction is subtle, but that only adds to the convincingness of this era, and rather handsomely, at least when the visuals and production values behind cinematography by Enzo Barboni whose bleak palette is handsomely unique, even to this day. The films good lucks have done a fine job of standing the test of time, just as its musicality continues to engage, thus, the film is, if nothing else, an artistic hit that offers much to compliment style, while substance is largely complimented by some solid performances. Now, the English dub offers some questionable voice acting, but most everyone actually does just fine, whether you be observing them in the original Italian, or simply paying attention to their physical performances, with Franco Nero, despite not being given many layers, standing out with an enigmatic charisma that makes the titular Django character a memorable soft-spoken lead, who is still memorable largely because of the characterization. Well, due to dramatic meat's being thin, the characterization is thin, both in expository depth and in dimension, but as a portrait on the romantic, yet brutally lawless world of an Old West nearing Mexico, this film's thematic depth thrives on the characters, providing some degree of weight that all but compensates for the inconsequentiality which plagues so much of the story concept. Sergio Corbucci's directorial interpretation of this story further brings the final product to the brink of rewarding, with style that is particularly sharp during some intense, if a little noisy action sequences, broken up by a fluffless atmosphere which you could hardly find in Hollywood westerns of the time, and which power the heights in dramatic bite which are too limited in this film. Granted, the film's bite was always to be limited by a certain dramatic minimalism, but, for what this is, there is a lot of inspiration, enough to make an adequately entertaining and gripping western thriller that, at the very least, borders on rewarding.
Overall, certain histrionics are made all the more glaring by conventions, while underdevelopment, dragging and bland atmospheric dry spells emphasize the film's lacking a dramatic solid story concept to begin with, thus, the final product falls short of rewarding, but is nonetheless carries close enough by excellent scoring, decent art direction, handsome cinematography, good performances, - particularly by the charismatic Franco Nero - memorable characters and slick direction - highlighted by strong action and some biting dramatic atmosphere - to make Sergio Corbucci's "Django" a reasonably thrilling, if flawed spaghetti western classic.
2.75/5 - Decent
It's unrealistic, very bloody and way over-the-top in some parts and in my opinion not as good as Clint Eastwood's Fistful of Dollars but nevertheless very entertaining in its own way where the villains drop like flies. I did enjoy the opening and closing title theme song by Luis E. Bacalov, it's catchy and I just can't seem to stop humming it now lol.
Compelling Spaghetti Western is extremely violent as mysterious man carries coffin to town where he gets on bad sides with both Southern racists and a Mexican rebellion; at turns, both bloody and sadistic. Now-legendary title song, with a terrific finish. Franco Nero is quite effective as Django.