Django (film)

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Django
Djangofilm.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Sergio Corbucci
Produced by Sergio Corbucci
Manolo Bolognini
Written by Sergio Corbucci
Bruno Corbucci
Franco Rossetti
José Gutiérrez Maesso
Piero Vivarelli
Fernando Di Leo (uncredited)[1]
Story by Sergio Corbucci
Bruno Corbucci
Starring Franco Nero
Loredana Nusciak
Eduardo Fajardo
José Bódalo
Music by Luis Bacalov
Franco Migliacci (Lyrics)
Cinematography Enzo Barboni
Edited by Nino Baragli
Sergio Montanari
Production
company
BRC Produzione
Tecisa
Distributed by Euro International Film
Release dates
  • 6 April 1966 (1966-04-06) (Italy)
  • 21 September 1967 (1967-09-21) (Spain)
Running time 97 minutes
Country Italy
Spain
Language Italian
Box office $25,916 (2012 re-release)[2]

Django is a 1966 Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Corbucci and starring Franco Nero in the eponymous role.[3][4]

The film earned a reputation as being one of the most violent films ever made up to that point and was subsequently refused a certificate in the UK until 1993, when it was eventually issued an 18 certificate. The film was downgraded to a 15 certificate in 2004.

Although the name is referenced in over thirty "sequels" from the time of the film's release until the early 1970s in an effort to capitalize on the success of the original, most of these films were unofficial, featuring neither Corbucci nor Nero.

Nero did reprise his role as Django in 1987's Django 2: Il Grande Ritorno (Django Strikes Again), in the only official sequel to be written by Corbucci.[5] Nero also has a cameo role in Quentin Tarantino's 2012 film Django Unchained, a homage to the original classic.

Plot[edit]

Django and Nathaniel burying Jackson's men

Django is a drifter who drags around a closed coffin. He rescues a young woman, María, from being murdered by bandits led by Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo), a man on whom Django is seeking revenge for the murder of his wife.

After killing most of Jackson's men, Django makes a deal with a Mexican bandit general, Hugo Rodriguez, who is in conflict with Jackson, and the two steal a large quantity of gold from a Mexican Army fort (where Jackson is doing business with a government general). When Rodriguez drags his feet in giving Django his share, he and Maria steal the gold. Unfortunately, the gold falls into quicksand. When Rodriguez catches up to them, María is shot (though she survives) and Django's hands are crushed by Rodriguez's men as punishment for being a thief. Rodríguez and his men are massacred by Jackson and the Mexican Army when the bandits return to Mexico. Jackson then goes looking for Django in a cemetery after killing Nathaniel. However, Django, who has bitten the trigger-guard off his pistol, kills Jackson and his five surviving men by pressing the trigger against a cross (on the grave of a female acquaintance of Django earlier killed by Jackson) and repeatedly dropping the hammer.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Sergio Corbucci had originally wanted to cast Mark Damon in the lead role, but Damon experienced a conflict in his scheduling and had to withdraw. Corbucci then turned to a reluctant Franco Nero, who eventually accepted the role.[6] Filming began in December 1965[6] at the Tor Caldara nature reserve, near Lavinio in Italy, where a specialist set had been constructed for use in Western movies. Despite the winter conditions leaving the set in extremely muddy conditions, Corbucci rejected set designer Giancarlo Simi's proposal to clean up the set, as he felt it added to the atmosphere of the film. With no real script in place for filming, Corbucci turned to his brother Bruno to draft out a story; over the Christmas period, Bruno Corbucci wrote out a scaletta, which Nero identifies as being "like a synopsis, but more detailed, [yet] still not a full screenplay".[6] Filming also took place in several locations around Madrid, whilst interior scenes were shot at Elios Studios outside Rome;[7] the filming concluded by late February 1966.

Upon its network premier on BBC Two's Moviedrome in 1993, Django was preceded by an introduction by series-presenter Alex Cox, during which Cox stated that the film was, "to the best of [his] knowledge", the only spaghetti Western that wasn't shot in the usually preferred widescreen Techniscope format.[8] (For the record, Corbucci's The Great Silence was also shot in a 1.66 ratio rather than 2.35 Techniscope) Cox also attempts to clarify the name Django, stating how it appears to be "a sick joke on the part of Corbucci and his screenwriter-brother Bruno" as it seems to make reference to jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt who was able to play the guitar despite, Cox erroneously states, "lacking several fingers on one hand"; Reinhardt actually had several fingers paralyzed on his left hand, but was able to overcome this disability, in a similar way to how the titular character is able to operate his gun in the final shootout despite his hands being crushed.

Release[edit]

Django received an 18 certificate in Italy due to its then-extreme violence. Bolognini says Corbucci "forgot" to cut out the ear-severing scene when the censors requested he remove it and in Sweden it was banned outright.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

Django received generally positive reviews, with a 92% "Fresh" score on Rotten Tomatoes based on twelve reviews. Critic Jeffrey M. Anderson of the San Francisco Examiner called it "One of the greatest of all Spaghetti Westerns."

Sequels[edit]

There are rumored to be over a hundred unofficial sequels, though only thirty-one have been counted—four of them were made in 1966.[citation needed] Most of these films have nothing to do with Corbucci's original film, but the unnofficial sequels copy the look and attitude of the central character. An official sequel, Django 2 was released in 1987 with Franco Nero reprising his role as Django. Internationally, the film's success spawned a multitude of releases that were re-titled to ride its success; only a few were similar to the original in style and theme.[9]

Legacy[edit]

The lead character's iconic coffin arsenal has been paid homage in several movies and TV series, including several Japanese anime series. Fist of the North Star features a plot device wherein the lead character, Kenshiro, drags a coffin behind him into a wasteland town. In the Cowboy Bebop episode, "Mushroom Samba", a bounty hunter runs around with a coffin behind him. The character Wolfwood in Trigun has a cross-shaped arsenal case called the Punisher which he carries frequently that is reminiscent of Django's coffin. The character Beyond The Grave (formerly Brandon Heat), of Gungrave, carries a metal coffin-shaped device which houses a variety of weapons. The fantasy movie Death Trance features a protagonist dragging a sealed coffin around for much of the film. In the Brazilian pornochanchada film Um Pistoleiro Chamado Papaco (A Gunman Called Papaco), the title character spends the whole film carrying a coffin and the opening scene is inspired by Corbucci's film. The main character of the Boktai series of video games is a vampire hunter named Django, who drags a coffin around for sealing and purifying immortals.

Django is the inspiration for the 1969 song and album Return of Django by the Jamaican reggae group the Upsetters. Additionally, Django is the subject of the song "Django" on the 2003 Rancid album Indestructible. The music video for the Danzig song "Crawl Across Your Killing Floor" is inspired by the film and shows Glenn Danzig dragging a coffin.[10]

The 1972 Jamaican film, The Harder They Come contains a sequence where the hero, Ivan, watches Django in a cinema, which has echoes with his character and story.

In Quentin Tarantino's 2012 film Django Unchained, Nero plays a small role as Amerigo Vassepi, an owner of a slave engaged in Mandingo fighting with a slave owned by Leonardo DiCaprio's character. Upon the loss of that fight, Vassepi goes to the bar for a drink and encounters Django, played by Jamie Foxx. As a nod to Nero's film, Vassepi (dressed in a similar manner to the hero of the original film) asks Django his name, asks him to spell it, and, upon Django's informing him that the "D" is silent, says "I know."[11] Both films use the title song from the film, by Rocky Roberts & Luis Bacalov.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marco Giusti , Dizionario del western all'italiana, 1st ed. Milan, Mondadori, August 2007. ISBN 978-88-04-57277-0.
  2. ^ Django (2012 re-release) at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ "The New York Times". Movies.nytimes.com. 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  4. ^ The New York Times
  5. ^ Marco Giusti. Dizionario del western all'italiana. Mondadori, 2007. ISBN 88-04-57277-9. 
  6. ^ a b c O'Neill, Phelim (2011-05-26). "Franco Nero: No escaping Django". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  7. ^ "Django (1966) - Filming locations". IMDb. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  8. ^ "Moviedrome - Django". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  9. ^ "Title Chaos". The Spaghetti Western Database. http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Title_chaos
  10. ^ Harris, Chris (September 8, 2006). "Danzig Unearths Lost Tracks". MTV.com. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  11. ^ "Quentin Tarantino, 'Unchained' And Unruly". Retrieved 2013-01-23. 

External links[edit]