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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Sergio Corbucci
Cast:
Franco Nero, José Bódalo, Loredana Nusciak
Writing Credits:
Sergio Corbucci, Bruno Corbucci

Synopsis:
A coffin-dragging gunslinger becomes embroiled in a bitter feud between Southern racists and a band of Mexican Revolutionaries.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Audio:
Italian DTS-HD MA Monaural
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $49.95
Release Date: TBD

Bonus:
Disc One:
• Audio Commentary with Film Historian Stephen Prince
• “Django Never Dies” Featurette
• “Cannibal of the Wild West” Featurette
• “Sergio, My Husband” Featurette
• “That’s My Life: Part 1” Featurette
• “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Scriptwriter” Featurette
• “A Punch in the Face” Featurette
• “Discovering Django” Featurette
• “An Introduction to Django” Featurette
• Image Galleries
• Trailers
Disc Two:
Texas, Adios Feature Film
• Audio Commentary with Film Historians C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke
• “The Sheriff Is In Town” Featurette
• “Jump Into the West” Featurette
• “That’s My Life Part 2” Featurette
• “Hello Texas!” Featurette
• Trailer
• Image Galleries


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RELATED REVIEWS


Django [Blu-Ray] (1966)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 28, 2020)

From the era in which the genre prospered, we hear to 1966 for a Spaghetti Western called Django. Set soon after the conclusion of the US Civil War, we head to the territory on the US/Mexico border.

As he wanders through the desert, lone wolf Django (Franco Nero) rescues Maria (Loredana Nusciak) from bandits. After this, he ventures into a small town run with a ruthless hand by Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo), a former Confederate soldier.

Major Jackson tries to get rid of Django, who he views as a threat. Django attempts to deal with Jackson, nab some loot, and maybe get the girl as well.

As one new to Django, two other properties come to mind. Most easily, we find a clear connection to 2012’s Django Unchained.

While that film didn’t remake the 1966 flick, Quentin Tarantino clearly used Django as a strong inspiration. Heck, Tarantino used the older movie’s theme song and even cast Nero in a small part.

The other obvious connection relates to the “Dollars Trilogy” of films from director Sergio Leone and actor Clint Eastwood. Not only did those make Spaghetti Westerns a hot property, but also Django seems like a strong echo of Eastwood’s Man With No Name. I suspect Nero got the role in part because he looked a reasonable amount like Eastwood.

While not bad as the lead, Nero lacks Eastwood’s sense of inner strength and bitter cool. This means he fails to present Eastwood’s laconic charm.

Still, Nero does fine in the role, as he musters the stone-faced self-assurance the part needs. The rest of the cast seems more erratic, partly because it can become hard to swallow the European cast as Americans and Mexicans.

That doesn’t become a fatal flaw, though, and Django delivers a reasonably entertaining action experience – albeit one without much real plot. While it includes the threads I mentioned, it mostly just uses these as an excuse for lots of violence and thrills.

And Django does pretty well in that regard, largely because director Sergio Corbucci stages the material with a lot of flair. The film abounds with eye-catching cinematography, a factor that helps it rise above the usual cheapo fare.

The movie packs some good action as well, with visceral battles and vivid stunts. Although these occasionally feel like the cake and not the icing, they bring enough excitement to suffice.

Its influence on Tarantino aside, I can’t regard Django as a great Western – Spaghetti or otherwise. Nonetheless, it manages 92 minutes of reasonable genre material and becomes a mostly engaging effort.


The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C-/ Bonus A

Django appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a generally good transfer.

Overall sharpness appeared positive. A few too many soft shots materialized, and those could become a distraction, but the majority of the flick offered appealing delineation.

I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. With a strong layer of grain, I suspected no intrusive noise reduction, and no print flaws appeared – after the messy opening credits, at least.

With its fairly low-key palette, the colors of Django didn’t leap off the screen, but they worked fine. The hues came across as reasonably full and well-depicted, and reds managed to seem bold.

Blacks were fairly dark and dense, while shadows displayed solid smoothness. All of this led us to a reasonably good presentation.

I thought the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack fared less well. Music tended to seem shrill, and effects followed suit, as those elements often appeared rough and a little distorted.

The dubbed nature of the lines meant they seemed unnatural, and the quality of the recordings didn’t help. Speech tended to sound brittle and somewhat edgy. Even by the standards of an older mono mix, this one was less than satisfactory.

Note that the comments above addressed the film’s Italian version. This disc also included an English edition, but I didn’t think much of it.

Given that the original looped all the lines – as was the tradition in Italian cinema – the English version didn’t suffer from speech that appeared less natural. However, the English performances fared much less well, as it often felt like the producers hired the cheapest – and worst – actors they could find. Unless you hate subtitles like the plague, stick with the superior Italian edition.

This set comes with a slew of extras, and we start with an audio commentary from film historian Stephen Prince. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters and themes, influences, cast and performances, music, cinematography, genre elements and related domains.

Though he occasionally narrates the movie too much, Prince mostly offers good insights. He mixes production elements with history to turn this into a fairly effective chat.

A bunch of featurettes follow, and Django Never Dies offers a 26-minute, seven-second interview with actor Franco Nero. He discusses how he got the movie as well as aspects of his experiences. Nero offers a lively, engaging conversation.

Cannibal of the Wild West spans 25 minutes, 48 seconds and brings notes from assistant director Ruggero Deodato. He gets into different facets of the film’s creation and his career in this somewhat scattered but sporadically informative piece.

Next comes Sergio, My Husband, a 27-minute, 48-second interview with director’s wife Nori Corbucci. She covers memories of Sergio as well as notes about his movies and career. Nori delivers a frank and enjoyable chat.

That’s My Life, Part 1 lasts 10 minutes, 16 seconds and brings an archival piece with co-writer Franco Rossetti. He examines various aspects of his career in this somewhat disjointed interview.

After this we get A Rock and Roll Screenwriter, another archival interview. In this 11-minute, three-second segment, co-writer Piero Vivarelli discusses aspects of his career, with some emphasis on Django. Vivarelli delivers a decent overview.

A Punch in the Face brings an 18-minute, 43-second archival interview with stuntman/actor Gilberto Galimberti. He chats about his career and the stunts of Django during this reasonably informative program.

Via Discovering Django, we find a 23-minute, 33-second appreciation from film scholar Austin Fisher. He looks at the legacy and influence of Django over the decades as well as aspects of Corbucci’s career and his impressions of Django. Fisher manages some useful notes about the topics.

Filmmaker Alex Cox delivers an Introduction to Django. This archival reel spans 12 minutes, four seconds and brings Cox’s thoughts about the movie and other genre areas. Cox offers some informative thoughts.

In addition to two trailers, we get five Image Galleries. These cover “Stills” (9 frames). “Posters” (15), “Lobby Cards” (82), “Press” (11) and “Home Video” (11). All offer useful material.

On Disc Two, we get another 1966 Spaghetti Western with Franco Nero: Texas, Adios (1:32:04). Here Nero plays Burt Sullivan, a former sheriff who pursues Cisco (José Suarez), the man who killed his father.

Outside of the participation of Nero and a few crewmembers, Adios comes with no formal connection to Django. Though a slew of unofficial sequels to Django materialized over the years – and Germans gave Adios the title Django the Avenger - Nero wouldn’t formally reprise the role until 1987.

Burt obviously seems like a pretty different character than Django, mainly since he boasts the family connection Django lacks. Adios also offers a much more sentimental experience than Django, a factor that makes it less engaging.

Not that Adios comes with none of the violent cynicism of Django, but it seems more traditional and less engaging. A few scenes stand out as memorable but too much of the film seems scattered and dull. Genre fans might find enough thrills to occupy them, bit Adios feels substantially inferior to the engaging Django.

The image comes with ups and downs. Parts of Adios show nice clarity and accuracy, but more than a few shots seem awfully soft.

Some source defects interfere at times as well, though not on a persistent basis. Colors seem bold and blacks look deep. The softness becomes the main issue here.

As for the monaural audio, expect a track along the lines of the mix for Django. This one appears fairly shrill and thin as well, so don’t anticipate anything superior.

Adios comes with a mix of its own extras, and we open with an audio commentary from C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and crew, and interpretation/genre domains.

The latter category becomes the main thrust of this commentary, as it mostly looks at Westerns and the place Adios holds. We do get some specific notes about the movie itself, of course, and all of this adds up to a generally useful chat.

More featurettes follow, and The Sheriff Is In Town brings another chat with actor Franco Nero. This one runs 20 minutes, 19 seconds and delivers Nero’s thoughts about Adios and related experiences. Taken from the same session that formed the Django interview, Nero remains charming and engaging, though this discussion seems less focused than its predecessor.

Jump Into the West lasts 33 minutes, 46 seconds and features actor Alberto Dell’Acqua. He discusses his career and subjects connected to Adios. We get some worthwhile thoughts, but the chat probably runs a little too long.

A continuation of a piece on Disc One, That’s My Life Part 2 again offers material from co-writer Franco Rossetti. In this nine-minute, 19-second program, he covers some memories of Adios. This chat seems a bit more focused than “Part 1” but it still lacks a lot of substantial impact.

Film historian Austin Fisher provides another appreciation via the 16-minute, 24-second Hello Texas. He looks at Adios and other genre domains. Fisher makes this another informative piece.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get five more Image Galleries. These focus on “Stills” (8 frames). “Posters” (13), “Lobby Cards” (29), “Press” (8) and “Home Video” (6). Expect more quality material.

As a Spaghetti Western, Django doesn’t compare with the more famous efforts of Sergio Leone. Nonetheless, it fares well enough to make it a fairly lively and vivid piece of fun. The Blu-ray comes with generally good picture, erratic audio and a nice array of bonus materials. Genre fans should enjoy this mostly involving tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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