Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 18th, 2017
BluRay released: April 25th, 2017
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian, LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English, English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A / Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: A gunfighter posing as a hangman exacts his revenge against those who are responsible for murdering his wife, by putting together a gang of men who were wrongly convicted and sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit.
Django, Prepare a Coffin was co-written and directed by Ferdinando Baldi who’s other notable Spaghetti Westerns include, Texas, addio, Rita of the West, Forgotten Pistolero, Blindman and Get Mean. Key collaborators on Django, Prepare a Coffin include, cinematographer Enzo Barboni (The Unholy Four, They Call Me Trinity) and composer Gianfranco Reverberi (Venus in Furs, The Reincarnation of Isabel).
Though there were many Spaghetti Western films that featured a protagonist named Django. The majority of the films were not connected to Sergio Corbucci’s Django. They were blatant cash in’s that are only linked by their use of the name Django in their titles. With that being said, there are a few rare cases of films like Django, Prepare a Coffin that retain the essence of Sergio Corbucci’s Django.
The Spaghetti Western genre like so many genres that rose to prominence in Italian cinema in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s, was all too prone to recycle whatever was successful during those eras. And because of this there is far too often a feeling of déjà vu.
Fortunately, Django, Prepare a Coffin does not fall into these familiar trappings. And without a doubt, this film’s premise is one of its greatest assets. The opening setup does a superb job setting up the protagonist plot to exact revenge against those who killed his wife. Pacing is never an issue as this film gives key moments an ample amount of time to resonate.
The characters are well defined and their motivations are never in doubt. The entire cast are all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance being Terence Hill (Ace High, My Name is Nobody) in the role of Django. Though he would later rise to prominence as one of the actors most identified with comedy heavy Spaghetti Westerns that became prominent in the early 1970’s. He delivers a brooding performance that is utterly convening.
Other notable cast members include, Horst Frank (The Grand Duel) in the role of David Barry, a crooked politician who is the mastermind behind several gold robbery’s, George Eastman (Rabid Dogs) in the role of Barry’s man henchmen and the ever so reliable Luciano Rossi (Death Walks at Midnight) in the role of one of innocent men that Django saves.
Visually this film does not disappoint and there is a tremendous amount of atmosphere. Another strength of this film is its score that has since gained a wider audience, after Gnarls Barkley used parts of the track Last Man Standing’s medley as the backing track for their song Crazy. Standout moments include, a scene where Django is tortured after his plan is exposed. Other standout moments include, a scene where Django ambushes and takes out the men who had been holding him prisoner. And the film’s finale which makes a clear reference to Sergio Corbucci’s Django, when the protagonist removes a machine gun from his own grave.
Django, Prepare a Coffin comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a 2k transfer was created from a 35mm interpositive and this appears to be the same transfer Arrow Video used for their UK Blu-Ray release. The source used is in very good shape, colors and flesh tones look accurate and details generally look crisp. It should be noted that there is DNR that varies is degree throughout and that some darker scenes do not look as crisp as the majority of the film.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in Italian. Both audio mixes sound, clean, clear, balanced and robust when they need too. Included with this release are two subtitle options, English for the Italian language track and English SDH for the English language track.
Topics discussed in the interview with Kevin Grant include, the Django character and how there is 60 plus Spaghetti Westerns where the lead was named or renamed Django, his thoughts about the Django character, key Django films that come closest to the tone of Sergio Corbucci Django, how Franco Nero was the original choice for Django, Prepare a Coffin, Terence Hill and various other Spaghetti Westerns that he appeared in, the film’s score and how it was sampled by Gnarls Barkley for the song Crazy and his thoughts about Django, Prepare a Coffin.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a sixteen-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled The Dead Are in Their Graves written by Howard Hughes and information about the transfer. Also, included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo. Overall Django, Prepare a Coffin makes its way to Blu-Ray via a strong release that improves upon Arrow Video’s previous DVD release.