Django (1966)–Violently Awesome (Spoiler Alert)
The other night I watched the classic Lee Van Cleef Spaghetti Western, Death Rides a Horse, which left me a taste for more Spaghetti Westerns, so last night I watched the 1966 classic, Django.
It was a good choice.
Staring the ice blue eyed Franco Nero as Django, a coffin dragging drifter who seeks revenge for the death of his wife at the hands of KKK leader and ex military man, Major Jackson.
The film opens with Django rescuing the attractive, Maria (played by Loredana Nusciak), a prostitute, from Major Jackson’s men who had just killed a group of Mexicans that were in the process of whipping her for trying to escape from them. Jackson’s men were going to burn her alive for going with the Mexicans in the first place.
Soon Django finds himself the target of Major Jackson, though Major Jackson does not know who he is dealing with. A series of confrontations between Django and Jackson’s men leaves Jackson’s forces seriously depleted, as Django turns out to be one bad ass. The depletion of Jackson’s men leaves an opening for a former Mexican General to move in on Jackson’s turf. It is soon revealed that Django and the General are old friends, Django apparently having saved the General’s life while they were both in prison together. Together they hatch a plot to raid a Mexican fort that holds a large amount of gold. The plan being that after the heist Django and the General are to split the gold. When the General delays giving Django his share, Django decides to take it all. Leaving with Maria and the gold, something soon goes wrong and the gold is lost. Soon the General and his band of men catch up to them. Taking into account that Django had saved him in the past, the General spares Django his life, but has one of his men smash his hands into bloody pulp. That should stop him… right? No freakin’ way, as this is Django and he has a mission. Taking Maria back to town, he tells the bar/hotel/brothel keeper to hide her from Major Jackson, and to tell Jackson that he is waiting for him at the cemetery. Since Django’s hands are a mess, he bites off the trigger guard from his pistol and waits for the Major. Once the Major arrives, he starts hurling threats at Django, and shooting at him – teasing him with shots that just graze him. Thinking Django is defenseless, the Major is careless… and that is a deadly mistake. I’m not 100% of what the symbolism means, but with the help of an iron cross (no, not the German military medal) on a tombstone, Django finally extracts his vengeance on the man responsible for the death of his wife.
Wow… This move is a violent festival of death. When it was released in 1966, it was considered possible the most violent film released. Heck, the U.K. didn’t allow it to be released until 1994!
If you like Spaghetti Westerns, then this one is a must watch, right up there with For a Few Dollars more.
Here is the trailer:
And here is a great interview with Franco Nero on the Making of Django: