Review: Django and Django Prepare a Coffin
As Django Unchained hits the cinema we take a look at the original Spaghetti Western series
Taking advantage of the release of Django Unchained we get the release of a couple of the original Django movies on DVD and Blu-ray. Quentin Tarantino’s Unchained certainly isn’t a remake but you can see the influences in these hardboiled tales of the Civil War-era America.
In the 1966 original, Django (Argent Films, ●●●), Franco Nero portrays the titular gunslinger as an even rougher and tougher version of Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name. A loner with a death wish dragging a coffin behind him in a dirty, miserable, muddy old west. A grizzled mysterious stranger out for vengeance. He gets himself involved in the conflict between a general (Eduardo Farjardo) and Mexican outlaws. Despite the high body count and Django’s infamous reputation (it didn’t receive a certificate from the BBFC until 1993) it’s surprisingly bloodless (give or take a scene where a priest is forced to eat his own ear). However Django makes for an iconic cold hearted hero when coupled with his coffin, it's not difficult to imagine Pekinpah taking some inspiration from the grim, gritty style and multiple shoot outs however it doesn’t have the epic scope of Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy. You can also see a heavy influence on Robert Rodriquez’s trio El Mariachi, Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
Django Prepare a Coffin (Arrow Video, ●●●) is part of the series chequered history of sequels. There were over 30 on the last count, nearly all of them unofficial and have varying degrees of association and continuity (or lack of) with Sergio Corbucci’s original. So Tarantino’s film fits in nicely with the series’ ragged past.
Unfortunately Prepare a Coffin is less engaging, Terence Hill steps into the Django role (sans casket for most of the run time) as he gathers a posse for yet more revenge. There’s a slower pace until the final 30 minutes as betrayal heaps upon betrayal before the inevitable show down.