Django


Year 1966

Franco Nero as  Django
José Bódalo as Gen. Hugo Rodriguez  
Ivo Garrani as Prince Vaida
Loredana Nusciak   as Maria
Eduardo Fajardo as Maj. Jackson
 
Director - Sergio Corbucci
Screenwriters - Sergio Corbucci   
    Bruno Corbucci  

As popular as Eastwood's "Man with No Name" spaghetti Western character was, his movies weren't responsible for about a hundred sequels. The movie Django and the main character of the same name did inspire that many official and unoffical sequels. For that reason, this over-the-top to the point of absurdity movie gets special treatment.

Why didn't you hear about it until after Django Unchained was released? It's in Italian. There's no English version. If you want to watch it and understand the dialog, you'll have to use subtitles.

The basic plot is that, after the War of Northern Aggression, a Union soldier returns home to find that a Rebel militia has taken over his town and is persecuting the Mexican population. So, he starts killing people until he's happy with the result. First he kills the Rebels. Then he kills Mexicans. Then he finishes off anyone left standing.

Where is this home? It's sort of in a desert. But with a river and quicksand. No such place exists that I know of. Maybe it's supposed to be a southwestern state. Because yeah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas were northern states during the American Civil War. (In case you missed the sarcasm, Arizona and New Mexico became states in 1912 and Texas was a Confederate state at the time of the Civil War.)

The movie is a series of surreal and kind of cool vignettes tied together by the plot. Django is also an interesting psychotic. (The real Django, the one the character's name refers to, was a Belgian-born French jazz guitarist named Django Reinhardt. The Corbuccis liked Reinhardt's music and his first name. From what I read about Reinhardt, he didn't seem psychotic.) Why do I think that the movie's Django is psychotic? Well, he comes across a girl being whipped and just watches. He drags a coffin around. He steals from his fellow gang members. He has no remorse when killing people. He has no fear. He's a machine and not a person.

Let's start with the coffin. He's dragged it behind him for hundreds of miles. The coffin and even the hemp rope it's tied to show no wear or tear. What's in the coffin? He says that it's Django, whatever that means. Is it his wife in the coffin? No, she's buried locally. Then why a coffin? Because it's cool to be dragging a coffin around. No one will forget the movie where the guy drags a coffin around behind him. It turns out that the coffin is just a morbid piece of luggage. Is it symbolic? Maybe but probably not.

Then there's the scene where he steals the gang's gold. He's very stealthy until it's time to make his getaway. Then, he uses dynamite. Why? Because either Django is dumber than a box of hammers or it was cool to blow up a wall. I vote for the latter.

How about Django getting his hands stomped for stealing? This serves two purposes. One is that Django doesn't die so he can have his big shoot 'em up later. Two, it was cool and different.

The movie progresses from mildly improbable to full-blown impossible situations for our laconic hero. This man can actually gnaw a trigger guard off of a gun. And pain? He must have some sort of birth defect where his nerve endings were never attached.

It's still enjoyable as a live-action comic book. Django is indolent and insolent and can only think a few minutes into the future. Long term effects of his actions? Django doesn't bother with such stuff. You will find yourself watching and asking yourself, "What's Django up to now?" or "How's he gonna get out of this one?" Each crisis point for Django is more difficult than the last.

In the beginning, he kills a couple of guys who didn't even know that he was around. Then he's surrounded in bar. What trick will he use to get out of it? Then a gang is after him. What trick will he use to get out of it? Then... You get the picture.

Franco Nero is excellent as Django. It's the only time he played the character despite all of the spin-offs. Except for the insipid character theme, the music is excellent as well. Is it Western music or film noir music? You decide.

Some profanity and blasphemy. No nudity. Little chick flick potential. But for the right sort of person, the kind who thinks a patch of quicksand in a Western desert is acceptable and a coffin is better than a suitcase, then this is a must see movie.

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