Friday, September 28, 2007

Django (1966) dir. Sergio Corbucci

Years and years ago when I first moved to Texas I spent a lot of time digging through the weird, the kind of obscure, the completely sideways, and stuff no one had seen in years. I came across a bootleg of a bootleg of a VHS of a Spaghetti Western that had a familiar sounding title Django. The Stubborn All Stars' Open Season - one of my all time favorite albums - was fronted by one King Django. Hmmm...of course I snatched it up and threw it on my stack of rentals.

I threw it in and recognized a couple of samples on Open Season and got about half way through. I don't remember watching all of it or why I stopped watching it but something tells me it had something to do with beer.

After Amanda's interest in Westerns became more serious we saw a documentary about Spaghetti Westerns. One of the movies that was talked about was Django. After an attempt to netflix it - it was unavailable on DVD for quite some time - it was put on the backburner. Well, Django finally was released on DVD and arrived in the mail and we watched it last night.

If you haven't seen it and have some interest in Spaghetti Westerns or old school movies that influenced the directors of today then you should probably make an effort to see Django. The DVD looks pretty good - not perfect but much better than the bootleg I tried to watch nearly a decade ago. The sound is only 2 channel stereo and a bit muddy but it's not a big deal if you watch it in Italian with subtitles. The best bit of the DVD is how vibrant and surreal the colors are. Most of the movie is dirt and mud and grey but what color there is is disturbingly rich. The score is still awesome - somehow I ended up owning most of the score over several different compilations of Spaghetti Western music. Franco Nero - Django - is a great bastard anti-hero with these spooky frosted blue eyes that remind me of Henry Fonda's in Once Upon a Time in the West.

It was difficult to take Django seriously in the least. It's not a bad movie - it's just a mid 60s Spaghetti Western and not everyone could be Sergio Leone. What sets Django apart are the ideas - i.e. Django dragging a coffin behind him through most of the movie - and the level of violence. People who are jumping up and down about violence in entertainment in today's society should take a look at Django: a body count of 182, castigation, cold blooded murder, hot blooded murder, and not only an ear cut off but then fed to the victim. Granted the effects are garish red paint crude and people just fall down and twitch when shot but still - it's the thought that counts.

I'm glad I finally got to see Django complete and on DVD but I don't really need to see it again or spend a bundle to see it at the Alamo.

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