Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 7th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1967
Director: Giulio Questi
Writers: Franco Arcalli, Benedetto Benedetti, María del Carmen Martínez Román, Giulio Questi
Cast: Tomas Milian, Ray Lovelock, Piero Lulli, Milo Quesada, Roberto Camardiel, Miguel Serrano, Ángel Silva, Sancho Gracia, Marilù Tolo
BluRay released: July 3rd, 2012
Approximate running times: 117 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, English for Italian Version
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: A Mexican bandit and his posse are double crossed and executed by a gang of American thieves, who they helped rob a stage coach transporting gold. After the dust settles a Mexican bandit simple known as ‘The Stranger’ narrowly escapes with his life and tracks down those responsible for killing his amigos.
Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! was co-written and directed by Giulio Questi, who just a year later would go onto to direct the equally surreal Giallo Death Laid an Egg. Key collaborators on Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! include screenwriter Franco Arcalli (Last Tango in Paris, 1900, Once Upon a Time in America) he also served as this films editor, cinematographer Franco Delli Colli (What Have They Done to Your Daughters?, Strip Nude for Your Killer) and composer Ivan Vandor (The Passenger, A Spiral of Mist). Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! is one of literally dozens of films that tried to capitalize on the popularity of Django. The film’s Italian language title ‘Se sei vivo spara’ roughly translates to If You Live, Shoot!
Though this film has many of the ingredients which have become synonymous with the Spaghetti western genre. The end result is something that is anything but your atypical example of what one expects, when watching a Spaghetti western film.
Content wise, this film can be best summed up as a horror / western hybrid that serves up heaping helpings of surrealism. Right from the get go, the film introduces its Gothic horror leanings with a scene in which the film’s protagonist ‘The Stranger’ crawls out of his grave and is saved by a pair of Indians, who nurse him back to health.
Though the film never fully tips its hat one way or the other as to how he survived the massacre that is later revealed via a flashback. There is plenty of room for interpretation, is he an angel of death or is he a Christ like figure?
Narrative wise, things are kept simple enough that who everyone is and what their motivations are is never in doubt. Also the film’s pacing is just brisk enough that there are no major speed bumps along the way.
The most revered Spaghetti westerns are known for their abundance of style, when it comes to their visuals. And this regard, this film delivers and then some. Another area in which this film holds up really well, is its rapid fire editing.
Without a doubt the most unusual aspect of the film (in a film in which very little comes off as normal) is a gang of homosexual cowboys, who are all dressed in black. Apparently these cowboys where this films director’s take on fascism.
Performance wise, things are not as smooth as they are in the other areas of this production. With this film’s most engaging performance coming from its leading man Tomas Milan (The Big Gundown / Face to Face / Run Man Run) in the role of this film’s protagonist ‘The Stranger’. The cast features a few recognizable faces that Euro cult are sure to know like Marilù Tolo (My Dear Killer, The Scorpion with Two Tails) and Ray Lovelock in his first starring role (Oasis of Fear, Almost Human).
Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. My first exposure to this film was via Blue Underground’s Spaghetti western box set (which came out ten years ago). So how does this new transfer fare, very well. It is obviously better then that aforementioned transfer in every way. And yet, it is not without its flaws, most notably it has the same look that has become synonymous with all of Blue Underground BluRay releases for the Italian films.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English and a DTS-HD Mono mix in Italian (English subtitles have been included with the Italian audio mix). Quality wise, the differences between these two tracks are minimal. Both sound clean, clear and balanced throughout. It should be noted that watching with the English audio mix, that are some portions of dialog that are only in Italian and these moments come with English subtitles. This release also comes with these subtitle options, English SDH, French and Spanish.
Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer for the film (2 minutes 16 seconds), a poster & still gallery and a featurette titled ‘Django Tell!’ (20 minutes 37 seconds, in Italian and English with English subtitles) that includes comments from co-writer / director Guilio Questi and actors Tomas Milian and Ray Lovelock. Topics in this featurette include how each became involved in this project, the reason behind having ‘Django’ in the title even though no such character appears in the film, the look and editing style of this film, the cast and each participant discusses what is was like to work with each other. The majority of the extras from Blue Underground’s previous release of Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! have been carried over. With the one exception being a essay about the film that was written by Spaghetti Cinema Editor William Connolly. Overall Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! is another satisfying Hi-Def upgrade from Blue Underground.