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Django is a lone stranger who roams the West dragging a coffin filled with chaos towards a destiny ruled by vengeance. Co-writer/director Sergio Corbucci packs his landmark classic with indelible images, unforgettable performances and some of the most shocking brutality of any 'Spaghetti Western' ever made. This is the still- controversial epic that defined a genre, launched a phenomenon and inspired over 50 unofficial sequels.
For more about Django and the Django Blu-ray release, see Django Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on February 20, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Franco Nero, José Bódalo, Loredana Nusciak, Ángel Álvarez, Simón Arriaga, Eduardo Fajardo
Director: Sergio Corbucci
» See full cast & crew
Django Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, February 20, 2013
Sergio Corbucci's "Django" (1966) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Argent Films. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailers for the film; video interview with Franco Nero; introduction by filmmaker Alex Cox; alternative opening sequence; and more. In English or Italian, with optional English and English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
There are a number of reasons why this legendary spaghetti western directed by Sergio Corbucci became so influential. For example, its main protagonist, Django, played by a young and very handsome Franco Nero, is the type of antihero that prior to Corbucci's film was simply non-existent in classic westerns. The many memorable characters from John Ford's westerns for instance are all rough but good-natured men that never failed to earn the audience's sympathy. Django was different. He was somewhat selfish, sadistic, and unpredictable character that caught everyone off-guard. While watching him killing his opponents, one felt like he did not really care whether he would be liked.
The atmosphere in Corbucci's film was also different. The lyrical beauty and calmness of Sergio Leone's classic westerns was what one would have expected to see in Django, but Corbucci surprised everyone with dark and gloomy visuals that gave his film a type of grittiness that was also missing in classic westerns. When Nero enters the muddy border town, one immediately gets the feeling that this is a film in which anything could happen.
The uncompromising violence, however, is arguably the biggest reason why Django earned its cult status. When Nero attacks and kills his opponents he does it with such enthusiasm that one begins to feel uncomfortable. I remember Corbucci once said that for Django killing was as important as inflicting pain on those who challenged him. And this is so true, because in his film the two are indeed inseparable, thus transforming the act of killing into something of a bizarre ritual.
After Django the western genre changed dramatically. Suddenly violence became a lot more important for a lot of different directors and new boundaries were drawn. By the mid '70s there were already films that had gone even further than Django (see Lucio Fulci's Four of the Apocalypse) and new subgenres in Italian cinema had flourished precisely because of the acceptance of violence by mainstream audiences (see the crime films of Fernando Di Leo, Michele Massimo Tarantini, Sergio Sollima, and Enzo Castellari).
From a purely technical point of view, Django is a somewhat uneven film. It is obvious, for example, that different sequences were filmed at different times and then edited and re-edited for the film's final version. Unsurprisingly, there are some rough transitions that clearly affect the pacing of the film. Its style, however, is consistent. The attitude and uncompromising tone that elevated Django above every other genre film that was made prior to it never stutter.
Finally, Django also earned a lot of admirers with Luis Bacalov's terrific soundtrack (the simple but catchy theme that introduced Nero's character would inspire endless copycats). After Django, Bacalov went on to compose soundtracks for such cult films as Maurizio Lucidi's The Designated Victim (1971), Fernando Di Leo's The Seduction (1973) and Shoot First, Die Later (1974), and Federico Fellini's City of Women(1980). In 1994, Bacalov also won an Academy Award for the soundtrack he composed for Michael Radford's Il Postino
Note: Because of the uncharacteristic violence, Django was not officially released in the United Kingdom until 1993. In the United States, Django was released unrated.
Django Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Sergio Corbucci's Django arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Argent Films.
The high-definition transfer is very problematic. A massive amount of machine noise has essentially destroyed all of the fine detail and wiped out the depth healthy high-definition transfers typically deliver. There are close-ups, for example, where the noise completely overwhelms the image (see screencapture #5), to the point of even collapsing the film's color-scheme. Furthermore, it appears that some partial attempts were made to tone done the noise which have further exacerbated the erosion of detail, clarity and contrast. If light is restricted, there are entire sequences where the film is virtually unwatchable (see screencapture #12 where the horses are essentially erased). All of this is indeed very unfortunate because under the noise clearly there is excellent detail and beautiful colors. Naturally, I must speculate that a new scan done on a properly calibrated scanner will produce entirely different results. (This is a Region-Free Blu-ray release. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no problematic PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
Note: Having also seen Blue Underground's release of Django, I must point out that there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Argent Films are not to be blamed for the problematic high-definition transfer their release uses. In fact, it appears that they attempted to tone down the harsh noise and make the film somewhat watchable. On the Blue Underground release the noise is even more pronounced.
Django Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray release: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. For the record, Argent Films have provided optional English and English SDH subtitles for the man feature.
The lossless English track serves the film very well. During the shootouts dynamic intensity is surprisingly good, while Luis Bacalov's legendary score has gained a type of depth that is simply missing from the R1 DVD release of Django. Aside from some minor sync issues, which are indeed inherited, there are no annoying pops, strong background hiss, audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review. All in all, this is a lush, very well balanced lossless track.
Django Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: All of the supplemental features on this Blu-ray release are perfectly playable on North American Blu-ray machines, including the PS3.
Django Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A variety of different cult Italian films have transitioned to Blu-ray in recent years and a good number of them have struggled with different scanning issues (typically scanner noise). However, on many of these releases -- good examples are Argent Films' release of Tinto Brass' Salon Kitty and Blue Underground's release of Corrado Farina's Baba Yaga -- these issues have been quite easy to tolerate. Sergio Corbucci's Django, which first appeared on Blu-ray in the U.S. courtesy of Blue Underground, remains the most problematic of these films. Argent Films' release uses a high-definition transfer which appears to have been sourced from the same Italian master Blue Underground worked with when they prepared their release. Some additional corrections have been made, but the final result is still disappointing. At this point I am convinced that an entirely new scan needs to be done for Django to have the type of look its creator intended. AVOID.
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Django Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Django Blu-ray - November 9, 2012
Independent British distributors Argent Films will release on Blu-ray director Sergio Corbucci's classic western Django (1966), starring Franco Nero, José Bódalo and Loredana Nusciak. The release will be available for purchase online and in shops across the United ...
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