Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 29th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1966
Director: Sergio Corbucci
Writers: Sergio Corbucci, Bruno Corbucci, José Gutiérrez Maesso, Franco Rossetti, Piero Vivarelli
Cast: Franco Nero, José Bódalo, Loredana Nusciak, Ángel Álvarez, Gino Pernice, Simón Arriaga, Giovanni Ivan, Remo De Angelis, Rafael Albaicín, José Canalejas, Eduardo Fajardo, Silvana Bacci, Lucio De Santis, Cris Huerta, Guillermo Méndez, Luciano Rossi, José Terrón, Rafael Vaquero
BluRay released: January 21st, 2013
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English, English SDH
BluRay Release: Argent Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £11.99
Django was co-written and directed by Sergio Corbucci, who’s other notable contributions to the Spaghetti Western genre include Minnesota Clay, Navajo Joe, Hellbenders, The Mercenary, The Great Silence and Companeros. The cinematographer on Django was Enzo Barboni who would go onto directed a several standout Spaghetti Western / Comedy hybrids like They Call Me Trinity and Trinity Is Still My Name. The score Django was composed by Luis Enríquez Bacalov, who’s other notable scores include A Bullet for the General, The Designated Victim, Summertime Killer, Milano calibro 9 and The Grand Duel.
Structure and story wise Django bears many similarities to Sergio Leone’s a Fistful of Dollars. Both film’s feature gunslingers who find themselves caught in the middle a two feuding entities. In the case of Django there are the Mexicans on one side and a sadistic gang of hood wearing thugs who work for a man named Major Jackson. The main difference between the two film’s is that Django doesn’t pit the two feuding entities against each other. He single handedly takes out all of Major Jackson’s men when he reveals what he has hidden in the coffin he drags around. The only alliance that he makes is with the Mexican’s who he gets them to help him steal some gold. Which he then steals from them. To pay Django back for stealing the gold, the Mexicans break his hands by having their horses stomp on them. This also sets up the film’s final duel in which Django faces off against Major Jackson (who Django let live earlier in the film), who has rounded up a new posse of assassins.
When compared to its contemporaries Django stands out as one of the most violent film’s to emerge out of the Spaghetti Western genre. Some of the film’s notable violent set pieces include a woman who is whipped by Mexicans, a preacher who has his ear cut off and the aforementioned scene where Django has his hands crushed by horses.
Franco Nero is cast in the film’s lead role of Django. He gives a brooding performance that carries the film. Django is the first of three Spaghetti Westerns that Franco Nero starred in that were directed by Sergio Corbucci. The other two film’s are The Mercenary and Companeros. Another performance of note is Luciano Rossi (Death Walks at Midnight) in one of his first film’s doing what he does best playing a menacing character.
Django comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. What we have here is a tale of two transfers. Django had been previously release by Blue Underground on Blu-Ray and that release was much maligned by many, who felt that the transfers suffered to much from digital noise and some a few other issues. Then we have this new transfer from Argent Films, which in some ways go the opposite way of the aforementioned Blue Underground transfer. But before we celebrate, it is best to take a closer look at Argent Films transfer which does have stronger colors and does not exhibit the digital noise that some found intrusive on the Blue Underground release. Unfortunately when it comes to other areas of the transfer things are not always rosy. With its most glaring short coming being that detail does not look as sharp on the Argent Films release as they do on the Blue Underground release. So what we have here in yet another transfer that leaves room for improvement.
This release comes with two audio options, DTS-HD Mono English and DTS-HD Mono Italian. Quality wise these two audio mixes are comparable to the ones included with Blue Underground’s aforementioned Blu-Ray release. Also included with this release are two subtitle options, English and English SDH.
Extras for this release include the International trailer for the film (2 minutes 56 seconds), the Italian language trailer for the film (3 minutes 37 seconds, with English subtitles), a alternate opening sequence (3 minutes 16 seconds), a interview with Franco Nero (12 minutes) and a interview with filmmaker Alex Cox (12 minutes 11 seconds).
Franco Nero discusses working with Sergio Corbucci, shooting the films opening credits and other grueling moments he faced on the set, the Django character and how he prepared for this role, how he got cast in the role, the film’s action sequences, the day that Sergio Leone visited the set and the legacy of Django. Alex Cox discusses how Sergio Corbucci got involved in the Spaghetti Western genre, the unofficial Django sequels, the look of the film and its depiction of violence and how Django influenced the Spaghetti Western genre.
Rounding out the extras are trailers for Django Kill, Keoma, A Bullet for the General, The Battle of Algiers, Attack for Z, Massacre in Rome, Casablanca Express and a reversible cover art. Overall Django gets a good release from Argent Films.
Note: This film is also being released by Argent Films on DVD.