Blu-ray Review: DJANGO (1966)

PrintE-mail Written by Paul Mount

Review: Django / Cert: 15 / Director: Sergio Corbucci /Screenplay: Sergio Corbucci, Bruno Corbucci / Starring: Franco Nero, Loredana Nusciak, Eduardo Fajardo / Release Date: Out Now

Released on Blu-ray to capitalise on the success of an entirely unrelated but similarly named new movie (we don’t need to remind you which one, right?), Sergio Corbucci’s Django is regarded as one of the keystones of the Spaghetti Western genre. Even now, forty-seven years after it premiered, it’s easy to see why. The passing of time may have diluted the impact of its graphic violence – the film was banned in the UK until finally classified in 1993 as an 18 certificate and downgraded to a 15 certificate in 2004 – but this is still a very bold and striking movie, worlds away from the jolly cowboys ’n’ Indians fare of the traditional Hollywood Western.

Drifter Django (Nero), dragging a coffin behind him, wanders into a near-abandoned town and quickly clashes with his old enemy Major Jackson (Fajardo). He then teams up with some bandits and together they plot to steal a sackload of gold from a Mexican army fort, but all does not go swimmingly and Django finds himself in deep peril and all but defenceless…

Whether or not Westerns are generally your thing, there's no denying that Django is tough, stylish and richly rewarding. Corbucci’s decision not to clean up after winter weather turned their one-horse town set into a virtual mud bath contributes massively to the film’s grubby, grimy authenticity, while Nero’s Django comes across as the big brother of Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name. The blood-letting, flamboyant though it is – one character is force-fed his own ear – may seems a little tame by contemporary standards, but this is a brutally amoral film: no one’s really the good guy here and everyone’s out for what they can get. Corbucci’s direction (crisply captured on this HD transfer) is full of disorientating zooms and long shots, and he creates an edgy sense of menace – witness the moment when Jackson’s men troop into the town, faces hidden beneath Klan-like red masks.

Django went on to spawn literally dozens of cheap imitators but this is the real deal, the only Django you need in your life apart from the one currently unchained by Mr. Tarantino.

Extras: Alternative opening sequence / Conversation with Franco Nero / Introduction by Alex Cox / Trailers

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