September 12th, 2011: Django (1966)


Cast and Crew:  Sergio Corbucci (Director/Writer)

What It’s About: A man named Django (Franco Nero) enters a nearly deserted town dragging a coffin behind him.  Two warring groups run the town:  a group of Mexican bandits and a group of ex-Confederate racists who wear red hoods.  Soon Django is doing the Yojimbo thing and the resulting violence will destroy both groups, much of the town, and cripple Django himself.

Why Watch it Today?: A Fistful of Dollars was released today in 1964.  The film was an international success and inspired a legion of rip-offs and cash-ins, mostly shot in Spain by Italian companies, but also in Germany, Turkey, and even Japan.  Of these, Django was one of the most influential, and darkest.  Although no direct sequel was made until 1987, many Spaghetti Westerns were retitled to include Django in their names, or simply featured title characters named Django without any real connection to the original film or character.  The name became a generic name for a lone gunslinger, just as Maciste transcended his origins in Italian silent cinema to become an Italian film genre (his films were usually retitled with biblical or mythological hero names when they were brought to the U.S.) of his own.  Django is not a great film, but features a couple of wonderfully over-the-top sequences and WTF moments and a kick-ass, loungey theme song. A must see for those wishing to expand their Spaghetti Western education beyond the celebrated Sergio Leone films.

Where to Get It:  Netflix  or Amazon (DVD only)

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