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on 23 January 2013
DJANGO [1966]

Film: I have finally watched this classic for the first time before getting into Tarantino's epic and I confess that liked Django a lot. It is a quite rough film and it features some very exciting scenes (like the "coffin escape") from a cinematic point of view.

Technical Data: Total Size = 21,8GB, Feature Film = 15,9GB (including and English and an Italian DTS-MA-2.0 Mono Track), English subtitles are available for both versions, Running Time = 91:37min (uncut version)

Picture Quality (reviewed on a JVC X30 projector):

- THE GOOD = The picture is very sharp 95% of the running time and the colours appear rich and natural so that the film looks like new at various points. Blacks are solid and compression works fine. We also get the original aspect ratio of 1,66:1. There is a slight layer of grain that looks absolutely satisfying and natural to me preserving a rough and authentic look (never getting disturbing or distracting). Argent Films really seem to have struck this from the original negative.

- THE BAD = While I was watching I was pretty sure that they must have put the film on a 50GB disc. So, the small file size is not reflected in comression artifacts. Nevertheless I think labels should always go for maximum quality when remastering classic titles and advertising their Remastered Version! I also have to mention here that the opening credits come with some scratches and other dirt. Those sequences are not as sharp as the rest. But I can live with that.

- THE UGLY = About 40% of this Django transfer show some strange flickering (anomalies in bright and dark areas). This actually IS distracting sometimes and made me sad when it occured for the first time because the transfer otherwise really matched my expectations. This may not be as obvious on smaller screens. It just felt as if something else should or could have been done in the mastering process to avoid or restrict this phenomenon. Maybe another label could do wonders if they were given the original master!?

Sound: The Mono Tracks both sound solid and satisfying. I finally went for the Italian version with subtitles (which of course also feels "dubbed" at many points since some of the actors are Mexican or American). This track just sounds more natural and authentic regarding the characters and their voices. In general the English subtitles are well done except for some smaller mistakes in the second half.

Special features: You can find interviews and trailers here with the Alex Cox interview being the most interesting and analytical feature.

ALL IN ALL I recommend to buy this BD to fans of the film. Despite its inconsistencies in its (obviously) remastered picture this will be the best version on the world market until some other label comes up with something perfect. It was real fun to watch!
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on 18 March 2013
If you were to ask the average member of the movie going public what they associate with the name 'Django' undoubtedly they would go straight for Quentin Tarantino's new hyperbolic western homage Django Unchained and quite rightly so as its the latest big budget all star cast from the infamous director of all things hip and cool. But if you were to go back a good 46 years a little known director Sergio Corbucci was to cast a little known actor Franco Nero in a fairly unassuming low budget Spaghetti Western which unknown to them was to become one of the most influential Italian westerns of its time spawning countless sequels and copycats as well as furthering the careers of its director and star. This movie like Tarantino's new epic was also called Django but was something entirely different to Quentin's new flashy blood splattered opus. A contemporary of the now infamous Dollars trillogy from Sergio Leone Django was a surprisingly different approach to the cut and dry western formula of old and like Leone's 1964 genre kick starter A Fist Full Of Dollars was a reimaging of Kurosawa's Samurai classic Yojimbo. Rough, dirty and uncompromising, Django featured for its time excessive violence, a huge body count and a decidedly downbeat tone. Also unlike Leone's movie or indeed most westerns before it featured an uncharacteristically unlikeable main character who arrives in town unaided by a horse, wearing torn dirty attire and encompassing the atmosphere with a thick air of machismo and bravado, dispatching enemies in an emotionless, selfish and unforgiving way.
Corbucci's approach is also a complete change to the vast majority of westerns of the time. Shot in the far more narrow European aspect ratio of 1.66(which Corbucci also utilised for his fantastic snowbound western The Great Silence) compared to the ultra wide scope presentations that most would have become accustomed to, this lent the film a gritty claustrophobic feel and with a dank, muddy deserted western town and mostly unattractive characters not to mention scenes of violence that border on sadistic and a host of religious and racism themes you have a western quite unlike anything before it.
Banned outright in the UK until it was resubmitted to the BBFC in the 90s for a VHS release, Django also struggled to make a break in the US outside of the cult circuit but it was Europe where Django spread like wildfire in which it was so popular many European western producers attached the Django name to their movies despite no link to Corbucci's film hoping to catch a piece of its runaway success. Infact there were only two that you could really call connected sequels Django Prepare A Coffin starring Terence Hill and the 1987 Django Strikes Again with Franco Nero reprising his role a good twenty years after the original which played out more like an Italian exploitation Rambo knockoff than a Spaghetti Western.
Despite its B-Movie origins and surprising lack of pretence there is no doubt Django fully deserves its now legendary cult status and for fans of European westerns and cult films this is an extremely important and genre leading title in Italian cinema and comes highly recommended.

Along with Lionsgate's upcoming release of Hammers original Dracula, this new Blu ray release of Django from Argent is my most anticipated release of 2013 so far. After the usually region free reliable Blue Underground released this back in 2010 on a region A locked disc I have wanted to upgrade my SD DVD release of this wonderful movie. Unfortunatly it pains me to say that this AVC MPEG 4 1080p transfer is very disappointing. Back in 2010 it was common knowledge amongst Blu ray colectors that Blue Undergrounds HD transfer of Django was problematic mostly atributed to a poor quality scan done on inferior equipment. Well it seems that Argents transfer is unfortunately taken from the same scan meaning that problems that existed on the US release are also prevalant here. I will talk about the good first though as sadly the bad far outweighs it. OK so compared to my old Blue Underground standard def DVD this is noticeably sharper with greater detail. Fine object detail is actually quite nice here with close ups of trail worn faces, clothing and weaponry. The locations also look far stronger in 1080p from the thick mud that seems to permeate almost every scene through to the worn wood of the deserted town and detailing in the interior of the saloon. Depth is also apparent in a number of scenes and at times this can look fairly filmic. In motion though anyone can see that this transfer has major problems. The machine noise that graced the US Blu is here again in all its glory and it is this machine noise plus not to mention a much lower bit rate than the Blue Underground Blu ray that is completely destroying the look which is a real shame as underneath there is a decent image trying to break free. Unnatural looking film grain swirls around with the noise totally ruining certain scenes destroying detail and colour schemes and in effect making the the transfer look pale and fragile. Some sections exibit an annoying shimmer in motion too which can be seen in everything from hats to foliage and colours are muted at best. Contrast is all over the place with day time scenes cranked up to nearly retina burning levels whilst nighttime segments are way to dark, crushing the blacks and sapping shadow detail. Compared to my DVD edition print damage at key points in the movie are somewhat lessoned and comparing screenshots of the Blue Underground Blu this seems to have less noise although I hope this isnt down to the dreaded DNR.For the record Django is presented in its correct ratio of 1.66:1 and is pillar boxed at the sides so as not to lose any picture information from the top and bottom of the frame when using a 16x9 TV and the image looks correct and balanced in this ratio. Ok so im fairly unimpressed and if a new version was to be made available with a new scan I would double dip in a heartbeat. But as this is the only release available I cant not recommend it for the quality of the film alone just dont a expect flawless presentation.

In terms of audio you get two lossless DTS-HD Master tracks in both dubbed English and original Italian both mono and both with very low paltry bitrates. Listening to both from a technical standpoint the English sounds slightly better with crisper highs and more depth during the shootouts. Low end is negligible in both tracks but the music soundtrack sounds full enough without being overly robust and the classic title theme which Tarantino plagiarised for his reboot sounds faithful and authentic. There doesent appear to be any problems with hiss or pops and apart from lip sync issues which fans of these movies will be well aware of both tracks get the job done without being overly memorable and it is worth listening to both language options for different take on the movie.

Extras are hardly extensive but are interesting enough with two seperate conversations first with the star of Django Franco Nero and secondly with maverik film director Alex Cox. An alternative opening credits sequence (that I for one could see no decernable difference with) is also included and the cover sleeve is reversable with a choice of two cover arts.

From a movie stand point I cannot recommend Django enough and for anyone who has even the faintest interest in the genre I urge you to indulge in this guilty pleasure. Unfortunatly the video transfer on this new region free Blu ray is highly compromised and whether it is down to a bad scan on poor quality equipment or the by-product of a vintage low budget foreign language movie from the 60s it doesent show off Django in its best light and I do believe that given the treatment it deserves it could look a whole lot better. A definate five star movie here let down by a poor disc.
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Django is directed by Sergio Corbucci and it stars Franco Nero, José Bódalo, Loredana Nusciak, Ángel Álvarez and Eduardo Fajardo.

Django (Nero), dragging a coffin behind him, saves a woman from some bandits and soon finds himself in the middle of war between two factions - which he may be able to use to his advantage.

1966 was a stellar year for Spaghetti Westerns, Leone was putting the crown on his "Dollars" trilogy, Damiani produced a political firecracker and Sollima crafted one of the finest "manhunt" Oaters of this sub-genre. Then there is this, Django, a Pasta Western that is synonymous with the form.

I fought for the North!

Django is a treat, it's violent and cruel, funny and cheeky, and pleasing on the eyes and ears - so pretty much it contains all the best things that made the original wave of Spaghetti's so palatable. Undeniably it owes a "lot" to A Fistful of Dollars and Yojimbo, but it's still its own beast, a baroque Gothic piece of work that positively revels in nihilism. The graphic violence is wonderfully cartoonish, the iconography unbound, and in Nero - eyes likes chips of ice - the pic has one of the coolest and baddest men on the planet. Nusciak brings the sex and sizzle, coming off like a Spag Raquel Welch, whilst the villains are delightfully vile and scuzzy.

The setting is superb, a muddy cold hell of a town with a brothel as the fulcrum of the piece. Naturally there's a cemetery, which will play host to some of that iconography mentioned earlier. Religion gets short shrift, racial prejudice given a caustic once over, while it's worth mentioning there's more than a hint of social realism pulsing away as Corbucci brings the blood and thunder. OK! It's light in plotting, and it's not even Corbucci's best film, but the stylised violence, the visuals and a cracking soundtrack easily take you away from the fodder of the story.

It would spawn a multitude of rip-offs, name checks and influence a whole host of film makers, but this is the real deal. A Spag Western worth revisiting to see just when it was a sub-genre of quality, this before hundreds of poor band wagon jumpers began to soil the Spaghetti Western name. 8.5/10
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on 28 August 2012
After recently watching Sabata and Bullet For The General, this was next on my list of Spaghetti Westerns to watch...and I certainly left the best until last (Dollars Trilogy aside).

This is a great film with some amazing set-pieces (I won't add a spoiler, but the scene when Major Jackson's men come to town to kill him is brilliant. The characters are generally strong, and the plot doesn't pull any punches in terms of violence (but in my opinion never strays into the realms of bad taste).

The only thing wrong with this DVD is not the movie (which I would easily score 8/9 out of 10, but the quality of the transfer, which is pretty bad. Lots of noise, grain and artifacts. This is a shame and while elements of this are perhaps unavoidable with material this old, the recent US release on Blu Ray is (by all accounts) excellent in HD, so why they couldn't have released a better quality DVD I do not know.

For that reason I give this DVD release 7/10
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on 20 February 2013
Scanned from a fully restored negative or not, this transfer is crap. Apparently done on a stoneage telecine incapable of proper detail and a clean signal not distorted massively with electronic noise. Rescan on a state of the art machine, please. As it is it's an ugly mess. And asking 20 Pounds for it is robbery.
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on 16 June 2003
This is the best spaghetti western ever. It is dark and symbolic, with a cast of flawed but compelling characters, who are human in the fact that they are not completely explained and over-analysed. Django is a man, with a dark past who is not completely moral in his actions, yet he is likeable for his strength. This is an immensely watchable film, with a trully moving, action filled climax
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on 23 January 2013
"Remastered in HD from the fully restored negative, pristinely Faithfull to the original look", so it says on the cover. If you expect a picture quality like Lawrence of Arabia, or even like the Dollars Trilogy, you will be deeply disappointed. There is a kind of foggy layer and grainy structure (I am not talking about film grain)visible throughout the film. The Picture is blurry, smeary.
The Audio track was not recognized by my AV Receiver. I had to feed the Audio to my TV set.
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This is a fantastic cult spegetti western this for me is a thousand times better than the newest version starring Jamie fox.
This is not going to be for everybody but I certainly liked it this is a very violent western that being the reason why it was band from the UK for so long before it was finally released.
Many films have tryed to copy this film over the years but for me this will remain the best so far.
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on 21 February 2013
The recent theatrical release of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained",
gave me the impulse to buy the original "Django" film.
I watched this on a 46" inch LCD screen, and I do not share the negative
experience reported by other reviewers.
I think that the image was sharp, but not sparkling.
But this may have to do with the chosen color palette of the film.
Similarities with Tarantino's film start with the name of the anti-hero,
and end with the haunting theme song.
This Django is not a redeemer. He is a grim, mirthless cynical man.
There's a comic book quality in much of the film:
In its drab, yellowish grey world little color stands out:
The blazing blue eyes of Django, the red scarves and hoods of the
white supremacists, the peacock colors of the whores, and the red of blood.
Luis Bacalov's music is effective, but it doesn't drive the plot-
in the way Ennio Morricone's music does for Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns.
Please note that there are no English SDH in the interview with Franco Nero
and the Alex Cox presentation of the film.
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on 3 February 2015
Sergio Corbucci at his best. He may not be as renowned as his friend Sergio Leone, but he offers a wonderfully gruesome and claustrophobic alternative to the more accessible cinemascope spaghetti westerns.
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