Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The infamous Django


A few years ago, I watched Django. I was in what was probably my first Spaghetti Western phase and it has quite a reputation.

Unfortunately, I didn't care that much for it.

In the years that have passed, I've seen some of director Sergio Corbucci's later works, such as The Great Silence and Compañeros, and thought they were flat-out amazing, so it was time to give it another chance. Not to mention that the new Blue Underground DVD has a more complete version as well as an Italian language track, featuring Franco Nero's own vocal performance, so I thought I'd give it a chance.

Now, Django is one of the most infamous of the Spaghetti Westerns. It was banned in the U.K. for 25 years. It was wildly imitated and was followed by many unofficial sequels (and only one, truly abysmal, official sequel, Django Strikes Again).

Basically the movie is yet another of many cinematic takes on Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest (basically following the format of Kurosawa's Yojimbo which was translated into Leone's A Fistful Of Dollars) about one man who comes into a town and plays the two corrupt sides against each other. Honestly, I've felt that most of the direct attempts at the material, such as the two examples listed above, have produced entertaining but lesser material. I think maybe the tight plotting of the book keeps the story from flowing.

Django, on the other hand, is left to take only the most basic idea and is left to develop the rest on its own, leaving it a much looser take on the idea, and freed of the bad dubbing, it is absolutely wonderful. Franco Nero brings a cool to his performance, and the action is exciting and brutal. Good stuff. I want a copy of my own.

I'm off to find out which of the non-sequels actually plays like a sequel. I know that the original Italian title of Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! is Se Sei Vivo Spara - which the Google translation engine translates as "If Six Alive One Talks Nonsense". I'm not sure if that's accurate, but I like it! - and like most was only marketed as a Django movie later. Django The Bastard conversely appears to have been titled Django Il Bastardo and is now marketed under the blander title "The Stranger's Gundown". So, I'm not sure.

The journey is fun, especially when you get to discover more and more movies, including ones that surprise even after an initial disappointment.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Google Analytics