I'll confess, the ripoffs I've seen were much more interesting, and I prefer the one with Terence Hill in the lead, but I can see why this captured people's imagination greatly. That opening theme alone has to be canonized beyond Quentin Tarantino yonking it for his film.
Corbucci's hopeless vision of the west takes shape in this bleak tale of loneliness. Contrary to what many might believe, this is hardly a glamour tale of a badass gunfighter. The character's live sad depressing lives, and nobody has any future here. The immortal theme song gives a good summary of the movie. A man with no hopes, no love, not even a horse, only dragging a coffin, a coffin that contains his own soul.
Corbucci's grim images and pulp excesses (often executed simultaneously) are so impressive. Westerns like "Unforgiven" had to move away from the mythos and cool of the genre to tell affecting stories: "Django" is awash in blood and style, but the pathos of its haunted, coffin-dragging protagonist never leaves the spotlight. The whole film has a wonderfully authentic spaghetti western feel, but at the same time, remains as refreshing to me today as I'm sure it was to audiences back in '66.
Lo spaghetti western per eccellenza. Riscrive ogni regola che fino a quel punto era stata scritta, su come dirigere un classico western. Amplifica e ridonda tutto. Fu talmente un successo da creare diversi seguiti apocrifi. Con Django, Corbucci crea un'icona che, soltanto lo straniero senza nome creato da Leone, riuscirà ad essere al suo livello nella storia dello spaghetti western.
A former Union soldier, haunted by his past and dragging a coffin behind him, wanders into a small Western town that is under siege by two warring factions carrying out their own, smaller scale civil war. Started a spaghetti western trend with endless imitations, the original DJANGO remains a gloriously over the top opera of violence and redemption.
I was struck by the fact that in a hundred other movies, the showdown outside the saloon where Django reveals what he's got in his coffin would be the climax of the whole movie. Here, it's just the capper on the first act, and the story continues to loop around, taking care to eliminate all the alternative scenarios and highlight just how inevitable the final shootout in the cemetery really is.
Django doesn't take place in the American South, it takes place in Hell. Everything prior to the Mexico interlude is perfection to me, the film stumbles a little afterwards, but regains its footing when Django and Maria reach "the bridge out of Hades". Unforgettable.
The bad dubbing is one of the best parts of the film. Django is a high octane, testosterone driven, over-the-top Saturday morning cartoon. Sure, it's thin on plot, but who needs plot when you've got a gunslinger toting around a coffin containing a machine gun?
I must remember to not ever settle for terrible dubbing when the original language track exists when watching a film. Thank god that score isn't changed.
What was shockingly violent in 1966 now looks like a Saturday morning cartoon since just three years after "Django," a little movie called "The Wild Bunch" would come around and change the standards of onscreen violence forever. But, hey, Franco Nero is one of the most charismatic Italian actors of all time so this spaghetti Western is worth watching. See it subbed if you can, the dialogue track is more nuanced.