DJANGO(director/writer: Sergio Corbucci; screenwriters: based on the story by Bruno Corbucci/Bruno Corbucci; cinematographer: Enzo Barboni; editors: Nino Baragli/Sergio Montanari; music: Luis Enríquez Bacalov; cast: Franco Nero (Django), José Bódalo (Gen. Hugo Rodriguez), Loredana Nusciak (Maria), Ángel Álvarez (Nataniele, Bartender), Eduardo Fajardo (Maj. Jackson), Gino Pernice (Jonathan); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sergio Corbucci/Manolo Bolognini; Blue Underground; 1966-Italy/Spain-dubbed in English)
“I found it to be a wonderful junk film to nosh on between more nutritious films, if you may.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
One of the early over-the-top classic spaghetti westerns is directed with verve by Sergio Corbucci (“The Great Silence”/”Companeros”/”The Hellbenders”). It’s based on the story by Bruno Corbucci and cowritten by him and the director, and is shot in a bizarre comic-strip style. Because of its extreme graphic violence it was banned in England and several other countries upon its release. The revenge movie spawned at least 50 unofficial sequels, and compares favorably with Sergio Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy as the best of the blood-splattered spaghetti westerns that’s done with a touch of class. The only sequel endorsed by Corbucci was the only other one its star Franco Nero would appear in, Django 2: Il Grande Ritorno (1987}, which was the last film in the series. I found it to be a wonderful junk film to nosh on between more nutritious films, if you may.
The film features the Belgian actor Franco Nero playing the soon to be popular indestructible character of Django, a mysterious gunslinger who drags a coffin behind him that contains a Gatling gun. He enters a small U.S.-Mexican border town on the American side in which the Ku Klux Klan and Mexican bandidos fight for power.
Django rescues redheaded whore Maria (Loredana Nusciak) from a Mexican whipping and KKK cross burning; she’s part of the fatal attraction that brought the KKK into the ghost town–inexplicably a town without men. Maria escaped from both the KKK and the Mexicans after being treated by them as a prisoner. The racists now call her white trash. Django forces hard-pressed barkeeper Nataniele (Ángel Álvarez) to get her a room, after he complains of paying protection money to the KKK. It leads to Django calling out KKK leader Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo) and mowing down most of his 48 men with his machine gun. Django then uses the Mexicans, led by the renegade Gen. Hugo Rodriguez (José Bódalo), to help him rob a gold shipment in the next town.
Gradually we learn that Django the lightning fast-on-the-draw gunslinger is an ex-Yankee soldier whose dear wife was killed by the Major while he was away fighting and has now come back to settle the score. To keep things slogging along in red until the predictable final scene when Django gets his man, we are entertained by Django literally painting the town red, whores wrestling in the mud, a good old-fashioned whipping, an ear sliced off, an explosion, a machine gun slaughter of too many men to count, and the hero’s hands broken with a rifle butt.
It passes for a landmark film in cowboy violence, and one of the major films that defined the genre for better or worse.
REVIEWED ON 2/18/2007 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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