"Django" (1966): A Brief (?) Backstory

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DJANGO2.pngFirst, my thanks to everybody that came to see last night's Cult Films showing of 1966's Django!  We had a great turnout that bodes well for the future of the library's Cult Films program. 

(Click here for more information on upcoming programs.)

Here's that trailer for the film again,  I can't get enough of it myself.  

Some background on the movie:  Director/co-screenwriter Sergio Corbucci (1926-1990) had made and distributed the successful 1964 spaghetti western Minnesota Clay, about a gunfighter (American expatriate Cameron Mitchell) going blind while trying to rescue his daughter from outlaws.  After directing another western, Johnny Oro, starring Mark  Damon (1960's The Fall of the House of Usher), Corbucci, influenced by Sergio Leone's Fistful of Dollars (1964),  decided to make  the more outrageous Django in response.

Django borrowed sets  and it's plot (gunfighter gets between two warring gangs, which was also the take of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo), which coping with amuch more limited budget.  On the advice of one of the producer's wives, Corbucci cast young up-and-comer Franco Nero over his original first choce, Mark Damon. And Corbucci,undaunted by the budget, added inspired touches throughout the movie, including (SPOILER ALERT)  the machine gun hidden in a coffin Django drages around with him.

Shot in December 1965-February 1966 in various locations around Spain (north of Madrid near Colmenar Viejo) and Italy (including Tor Caldara near Anzio),Django was released in Italy in April 1966 and quickly became huge in Germany, Spain and other European countries, as well as Asia. The film was banned in England until 1993 for it's violence, and in the US it went straight to a short-lived late night run on syndicated television. (I vaguely recall seeing a listing for the film on one of Chicago's late night TV  movie programs in the early 70s;  bet it was heavily cut.)

The film spawned numerous copies in Europe, many of them falsely advertised as official sequels to Django, with titles such as Django The Bastard, A Few Dollars for Django, and Django Get A Coffin Ready. Nero did return in a belated  real sequel, 1987's Django 2, (not directed by Corbucci) which was apparently filmed in South America and had Django leaving a monastery (!), machine gun and all, to battle nasty slave traders. It was briefly available on home video in the states a decade ago.I still have the VHS somewhere...

It also spawned lots of appreciative fans and film makers, the latter including the likes of Carpenter, Rodriguez, Scorsese and Tarantino. And watch some of the westerns Clint Eastwood directed, especially 1973's High Plains Drifter and 1992's Unforgiven. Somebody took notes from Corbucci on those films.

For more information on Django (including the story of the real life jazz musician who may have inspired the title character) and other spaghetti westerns, look up our copy of Alex Cox's 10, 000 Ways To Die:  A Director's Take on the Spaghetti Western (click here to reserve a copy).  And I must give credit to Howard Hughes' 2004 tome, Once Upon A Time in the Italian West, which you can get from us via Inter Library Loan.  And of course, you can always borrow our copy of Django and other westerns directed by Corbucci by clicking here.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ed published on March 21, 2014 3:45 PM.

Greenwich Library Cult Films Series Premiers March 20th With 1966's "Django"! was the previous entry in this blog.

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