January 13, 2013

Filthy Review - 'Django, Prepare a Coffin'

Django, Prepare a Coffin (1968)

Review by Jude Felton

As of writing this, Django is big news with Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained doing terrific business at the box office, and also nabbing itself a few Academy Award nominations. Having yet to see this film I can’t really cast any opinions on it, but to me Django will always be the bad-ass gunman of Italian cinema. Franco Nero played the character back in the original movie in 1966, and then returned for the official sequel in 1987, but the character of Django has appeared in around 30 movies over the years, with various actors portraying the role.

This brings us to this 1968 incarnation of the character, in Django, Prepare a Coffin, played by Terrence Hill (born Mario Girotti), which is getting a UK DVD release for the first time. This is a movie for fans of the classic style Spaghetti Westerns; loads of extreme close-ups, cigar-chewing, gun fights and, probably most importantly, one hell of a catchy score that plays throughout. It also contains probably every other cliché of the genre as well; with graveyards, vicious beat downs, a bespectacled character who aids Django and cartoonish villains. All in all, just what you want from a Spaghetti Western.

The plot to the film is concerned with Django, of course, who works as a hangman for a corrupt politician. What the slime ball doesn’t realize though is that our hero isn’t really executing his victims; instead he is amassing a gang of his own in order to take revenge on those that killed his wife. Hey, aren’t they always about revenge?

You can also throw into the mix a planned robbery, betrayal and just about everything else you can think of. There are some great fight scenes, plenty of the shoot-outs you might come to expect, and yes Django does whip out a rather large machine gun in this film. Even when you know exactly where this movie is going, and you will, you can’t help but get swept up in the action.

Terrence Hill fills the shoes of Django perfectly, although he probably spoke more than I would have liked. Shouldn’t these lone gunmen sorts be men of few words? Regardless, he does a good job of playing the role made famous by Franco Nero. Also, popping up as one of the villains is George Eastman, who folk may recognize as one Anthrophagus the Beast.

All in all there is more than enough here to heartily recommend Django, Prepare a Coffin to not only Django fans, but fans of Spaghetti Westerns in general. Personally I had a great time with it; it was a blast. It may have lagged slightly in the middles section, but director Fernando Baldi keeps the action moving in the right direction and I really can’t say enough about the terrific score by Gianfranco Reverberi; it’s bloody fantastic.

This release on DVD by Arrowdrome is a very nice one. It doesn’t have much in the way of extras, in fact it’s pretty sparse in terms of on screen extras, however, this is made up for with the crisp visuals and cracking sound quality. I should add that the final release version will feature reversible artwork as well as  a collectors booklet. You will also get the added bonus of being able to watch the film in English, with wonderfully dodgy dubbing, or in its original Italian. Either way, you’re going to have fun with this movie, and I hope we see more Django flicks released by Arrow. I previously mentioned that there were around 30 featuring the titular character, what I failed to mention is that the majority of these were made in a 7 year period; this character was that popular.

Django, Prepare a Coffin is good solid entertainment throughout. Hell, it’s a sharp-shooting blast of a good time!

Django, Prepare a Coffin is released on DVD on January 14th by Arrow Video.

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