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Author Topic: Django (Sergio Corbucci, 1966)  (Read 41484 times)

IL COMMISSARIO

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Django (Sergio Corbucci, 1966)
« on: 07 Jul 2007 - 11:42 »

DJANGO 1966  *SPOILERS AHEAD*

Franco Nero, Eduardo Fajardo

A coffin-toting stranger wanders into a mud-soaked derelict town where a gang of red-hooded cutthroats headed by Major Jackson holds dominion over the town as well as conducting a private war with a Mexican bandit gang. Django temporarily sides with the Mexicans to rob a fort of its gold only to steal the entire booty for himself after they procrastinate about diviing up the money. Django is caught by the gang and is punished in a torturous fashion and left for dead for the Major. Jackson deals with the bandits in an ambush just before meeting the now maimed Django in a cemetery for a climactic showdown.

A massive hit in Europe, this film showcased a different kind of hero. One that was conniving and deceptive and not above being mutilated in some way. Django is a coffin toting mystery man who is after a nasty, racist named Major Jackson played with appropriate villainy by Eduardo Fajardo. In between his vendetta, Django helps a Mexican bandit gang rob a fort of its gold consignment. Before the gang can double cross him, Django attempts to do the same to them leading to a cruel scene where the gang renders Django nearly incapable of handling a gun shortly before he is to meet up with his nemesis, Major Jackson. When submitted to the BBFC, the level of violence made the film unreleasable. It also failed to snag US distribution.

In Europe however, the film got some 50 sequels most in name only, detailing Django’s adventures played by different actors each interpreting the character differently. The film made big stars out of Franco Nero and director Sergio Corbucci who was able to secure 1 million budgets for his films after DJANGO’s success. Several others behind the scenes would go on to fruitful careers as well. Assistant director Ruggero Deodato and cinematographer Enzo Barboni would both go on to hugely successful directorial careers. Luis Bacalov contributes a great score.

There are hints to Django's past and what has led to him being in his current predicament. You learn that he had a wife and that Major Jackson has more of a role in Django's past than is at first revealed. The English version of DJANGO is simply one of the worst dubbing jobs I've ever seen. The "actor" dubbing Nero is awful and sounds like he is about to fall asleep at any moment. Unlike other genres of foreign films, I prefer to view the Italian westerns in dubbed form since the stories deal with a time in American history but this film is one exception. Here, the original Italian is far better.

In the Italian version, the gang headed by Jackson are alluded to be a precursor to the Ku Klux Klan. In the inferior dubbed version, this story arc is eliminated. Also changed drastically in the English dubbed version is the wonderful dialog exchange during the cemetery showdown at the end. Here, the dialog is rather slapdash and lazy while in the original audio track it's a more satisfying finish.

Director Sergio Corbucci was a master at directing action films and his were more violent and shocking than the average Italo oater. His GREAT SILENCE is one of the most downbeat and depressing cinematic experiences I've ever seen. In all of the films I've seen of his, regardless of the tone, there is usually always a sequence of gruesome violence to remind you that you are watching a Corbucci movie. Such as the scene with the bandits and one of their captives. The leader cuts the man's ear off and makes him eat it before shooting him in the back. The scene isn't that shocking now but imagine seeing it back in '66. Although someone I know who is a fan of the more tame American westerns did see DJANGO and shortly after the ear scene replied, "What kind of western is this?"

Another bit of savagery occurs late in the film as Django has his hands maimed by having horses trample them underfoot. A similar scene appears in Cheng Chang Ho's seminal Shaw Brothers hit, KING BOXER (1972), the first kung fu film to start the craze in America during the 70s. In the film, Lo Lieh has his hands mutilated by a rival school to keep him from participating in a tournament. They tie his arms around a tree and repeatedly smash his hands with logs. The scene is just as brutal and maybe a bit more given that the camera lingers a bit longer on the torture.

Another homage can be seen in the "David Lean" of Hong Kong, Sun Chung's classic Shaw Brothers film, THE DEADLY BREAKING SWORD (1979). Here, Ti Lung plays an arrogant swordsman who, just before meeting his opponents in duels, drags a coffin(s) to the locale so that they may be buried in it after they fall to his special blade.

Nero only played the Django character one other time in 1987's DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN. He was supposed to appear in the follow-up, DJANGO, GET A COFFIN READY (1968) as he was in a 3 picture deal which included TEXAS, ADIOS (1966), DJANGO and the above mentioned 1968 sequel. Nero walked after an argument with the producer and up and coming western star Terence Hill took the spot. The film detailed what happened to Django and his wife. Bits that are only hinted at in the original.

A sort-of remake from Japan is coming to theaters entitled SUKIYAKI WESTERN-DJANGO (2007) from Sony. Directed by Takashi Miike(!), Italian westerns are very popular in Japan and this new film even sports a faithful rendition in English of the original theme song. The film itself is also spoken in English I believe.

The original DJANGO is a landmark in Italian western...no, make that western cinema period.
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The Hunchback

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #1 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 11:56 »

This was the first non-Leone spaghetti western I ever saw.


To this day it is still my favorite.

I didn't get into the internet until about a year after I saw this flick. When I went on spag chat forums I was expecting this to be well talked about and recieved but to my horror it was panned by many.
I can't understand why? It has all the ingredients one can need to make a spaghetti western.
Sure the second act is a bit slow paced and the whole mexican revolution stuff isn't very interesting but the first half hour and the final 15 minutes just oozes class.
I believe Django has the best ending cinema has ever seen.
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Paul

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #2 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 14:07 »

I can't understand why anyone would diss DJANGO - it's definitely a classic of the sub genre. My only criticism is that it was made before Franco Nero learned to speak English, thus he never recored an English dub - his voice is so distinctive and a contributing factor to why I dig his films so much.

To hear that a lot of people would slag DJANGO off is really sad. Maybe it's nothing more than elitist behaviour on their part, as DJANGO is probably the most famous spaghetti bar the aforemention Leone films. Some folk like nothing more than to diss popular flicks and rant and rave about the gems that remained undiscovered until they "found" them.
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LANZETTA

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #3 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 14:26 »

We have so many elitist Leonephiles on the other forum i belong to, that will just not accept that there are other Italian directors who managed to emulate the excitement of SL's Dollar trilogy.

I think DJANGO wasn't shown on UK television until the early 1980's same for GREAT SILENCE,and i remember before then there were plentiful sw seasons showing stuff like SABATA,COMPANEROS,THE MERCENARY,TRINITY,DEATH RIDES A HORSE.If only i'd had a VCR then... 
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Paul

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #4 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 14:36 »

We have so many elitist Leonephiles on the other forum i belong to, that will just not accept that there are other Italian directors who managed to emulate the excitement of SL's Dollar trilogy.


Yeah, those kind of people are all over the net, sadly. Leone's films a remarvelous, but spaghetti westerns ave so much more to offer that just the work of one director. Imagine if someone dismissed the gialli of every filmmaker bar Mario Bava - it would be just as ridiculous. DJANGO has earned its place in history, probably due to the fact it was so very violent for the time, so it's still an very important entry in the genre.
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LANZETTA

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #5 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 14:46 »

Well arguably its better than A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS.



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Paul

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #6 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 14:58 »

Well arguably its better than A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS.


There's n doubt in my mind that DJANGO is better than A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. I also prefer GREAT SILENCE and COMPANEROS to FISTFUL.
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LANZETTA

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #7 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 14:59 »

Have you seen THE MERCENARY which i prefer to COMPANEROS?
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Paul

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #8 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 15:05 »

I've seen MERCENARY - think it's great but althuogh it's almost a remake, I actually prefer COMPANEROS - mostly due to the Nero/Milian pairing and that terrific Morricone score.
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LANZETTA

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #9 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 15:43 »

I think that THE MERCENARY is Corbucci's equivalent to THE GOOD,THE BAD AND THE UGLY and shares that same sense of epicness.Its doesn't get bogged down at all in the waffling that occurs in COMPANEROS and is a much more stunning looking picture,some of the panoramic views are wonderful.

I agree however that Milian is preferable to Musante,and maybe the Morricone score though limited in COMPANEROS is so catchy that it has the edge over its predesessor.
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Paul

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #10 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 15:56 »

I think that THE MERCENARY is Corbucci's equivalent to THE GOOD,THE BAD AND THE UGLY and shares that same sense of epicness.Its doesn't get bogged down at all in the waffling that occurs in COMPANEROS and is a much more stunning looking picture,some of the panoramic views are wonderful.

I agree however that Milian is preferable to Musante,and maybe the Morricone score though limited in COMPANEROS is so catchy that it has the edge over its predesessor.

I agree that THE MERCENARY is a better * film * though COMPANEROS just seems a lot more enjoyable, one that I feel can be watched a lot more.
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Chad

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #11 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 17:08 »

DJANGO is not only one of my favorite spaghetti westerns, it's on my top 10 favorite films of all-time list. It has one of the most wonderfully catchy theme songs ever as well. I came to the film in a very roundabout way though, I heard the Upsetters song "Return of Django" and it intrigued me enough to read up on the film the song title referenced before seeing THE HARDER THEY COME and small clips of it contained in that film, finally I saw DJANGO 4 or 5 years after first reading about it and it was everything I'd hoped it would be.
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The Hunchback

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #12 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 20:47 »



I think DJANGO wasn't shown on UK television until the early 1980's same for GREAT SILENCE,and i remember before then there were plentiful sw seasons showing stuff like SABATA,COMPANEROS,THE MERCENARY,TRINITY,DEATH RIDES A HORSE.If only i'd had a VCR then... 


It was banned in England (not sure about the whole UK) until the early 90's.
You have Alex Cox to thank for getting it shown.
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LANZETTA

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #13 on: 07 Jul 2007 - 22:37 »



I think DJANGO wasn't shown on UK television until the early 1980's same for GREAT SILENCE,and i remember before then there were plentiful sw seasons showing stuff like SABATA,COMPANEROS,THE MERCENARY,TRINITY,DEATH RIDES A HORSE.If only i'd had a VCR then... 


It was banned in England (not sure about the whole UK) until the early 90's.
You have Alex Cox to thank for getting it shown.
But i think it was only 20 years in England because i'm sure i saw it round about my school leaving age in the mid 1980's. :-\

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Paul

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Re: Django (Sergio Corbucci/1966)
« Reply #14 on: 08 Jul 2007 - 10:22 »

Did you see it on TV or on video, mate? It was released on (pre-cert) VHS by Inter-Ocean, but don't forget, many of the films that had been banned prior ro tha advent of video, were released on home entertainment formats by companies that either didn't know of a particular title's history, or simply didn't care.












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"Allow me to explain. Your mother is a whore, your father is a damn thief, and your grandfather is a notorious fag... and as for your sister..." - Yodlaf Peterson
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