4k Ultra-HD Review: Django (1966)

July 11, 2021

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Django begins with a mother fuckin’ banger of an opening where our titular hero (Franco Nero) drags a coffin through a muddy hellscape as what is inarguably the greatest opening theme in the history of mother fuckin’ anything belts out of your speakers like a hot blast of lead to your eerie earholes!
Soon Django comes upon Maria (Loredana Nusciak), a woman beleaguered by Mexican revolutionaries, subsequently rescued by a racist, ex-Confederate posse, and then put to the torch by the same… well, at least she would have been if not for the lightning gunwork of our hero, himself a soldier of the North at one time.
The duo soon wander into a dilapidated nightmare of a town… a town caught in the middle of the war between those two faction mentioned up yonder, though the local saloon/whorehouse is considered neutral territory… and it’s there he runs afoul of the leader of those Confederate soldiers, Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo)… who’s itchin’ to be rid of the stranger and find out just what is in that coffin he drags around!
Honestly, I don’t even know what I can write about Django that will convince you that you absolutely must own this film if you dig on spaghetti westerns, revenge pictures, or full-on exploitation film goodness… but I’ll sure as shit try!
Django, the man, is so incredibly bad-ass you’ll scarcely believe it; he’s the fastest shot you’ve ever seen, definitely isn’t afraid of death, and is as much of a manipulator as he is a gunslinger… and Nero plays this all to steely-eyed perfection… and believe you me, the rest of the cast assembled here is no slouch either!
Adding to the mix is an incredibly apocalyptic version of the old west, filled with howling wind, muddy ground, ruined buildings (and the humans that inhabit them aren’t much better off), a lil’ heist action, a dash of Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, and a surprising amount of heart and morality among that sweet, sweet bloodshed and dirty dealings!
And as mentioned, the theme song of this flick is simply incredible. The Luis Bacalov written theme song as performed by Rocky Roberts is akin to the greatest Elvis song never recorded… it simply must be experienced to be believed!
Speaking of an “experience”, the fine folks over at Arrow Video (along with MVD Entertainment) certainly give Django fans exactly that, courtesy of the copious amounts of bonus material contained in this 4K-UHD release!
First up we get an excellent, info-packed audio commentary courtesy of film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Prince, followed by a newly filmed interview with Nero where he describes his time portraying Django (including a ton of hilarious and surprising anecdotes).
Following that we have brand-new interviews with assistant director Ruggero Deodato (who would bring us the legendary Cannibal Holocaust in 1980), Corbucci s wife Nori Corbucci, and co-writer Franco Rossetti (technically archival material, but unseen before this release).
Also included are archival interviews with co-writer Piero Vivarelli and stuntman and actor Gilberto Galimberti, a newly filmed appreciation of the film and it’s legacy from spaghetti westerns scholar Austin Fisher, and an archival introduction to Django by Alex Cox (director of the 1984 cult classic Repo Man).
Bringing up the rear we have a duo of theatrical trailers, and a host of promotional image galleries.
There is also a second feature included with this release on a second disc; 1966’s Franco Nero starring western, Texas, Adios directed by Ferdinando Baldi (who also co-wrote the film with Django‘s co-writer Franco Rossetti)!
Texas, Adios concerns the adventures of ex-sheriff and crack-shot Burt Sullivan (Nero) who heads down to Mexico to find the no-good sidewinder what put a murder on his pappy years prior.
Said sidewinder, Cisco (José Suárez) has become a hot shot in the small town he now calls home (he’s also the personification of terror to the locals), which means bringing him to justice will doubtless be an epic ass-pain… not to mention that ol’ Cisco harbors a secret that will rock Burt’s world but good!
Look, Texas, Adios is a well-made, beautifully crafted spaghetti western… but it ain’t Django, and Django is what you shelled out your precious dollars on… so I won’t tarry long here.
What I will say is that this release also comes with some solid bonus material including: an audio commentary by spaghetti western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke, interviews with Nero, actor Alberto Dell Acqua, Rossetti (continuing the conversation from disc one), another video essay/appreciation from Fisher, the film’s theatrical trailer, and promotional image galleries!
Also in the package are six double-sided collector’s postcards, a double-sided fold-out poster, a 60-page perfect-bound book including new writing about the film, as well as reviews from the time of Django‘s release, and a reversible sleeve featuring new artwork by Sean Phillips.
Director Sergio Corbucci (who also co-wrote the film along with Bruno Corbucci, Rossetti, and Vivarelli) certainly created one of the most iconic western heroes of all-time in Django, and the film which bears his name is cinematic gold through and through!


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