Django, dir. Sergio Corbucci

If you’ve ever watched a lot of spaghetti westerns, then you’ve probably come to the same conclusion as someone who’s only watched one or two: namely, that the only director worth watching is Sergio Leone (give or take a couple of other films which possibly shouldn’t be categorised as strictly “spaghetti” – Jodorowsky’s El Topo, for instance, and Yilmaz Güney’s marvellous The Hungry Wolves).

Perhaps the only exception might be made for Sergio Corbucci – and what with the forthcoming undoubted travesty Django Unchained, directed by that tireless purloiner of other people’s ideas, Quentin Tarentino (the ear-scene from Reservoir Dogs, I notice, has its antecedent in Django – while most of the rest, of course, comes from the last twenty minutes of Ringo Lam’s City on Fire, which we watched last week) about to hit cinema screens (which means Obooki will be watching it in about three years), I thought it was time to re-acquaint myself with Django.

For I’ve seen Django before, undoubtably as part of one of Alex Cox’s sadly missed Moviedrome seasons (back in the days when they used to show interesting films on TV) – as indeed I’ve also seen another Corbucci film, The Great Silence (in which I notice once again poor Klaus Kinski is miscast as a madman – or so I assume, seeing his character is named Loco).

I thought I didn’t remember too much of Django – the plot, certainly not – whereas The Great Silence, for reasons I’ll not go into, has stayed vividly in my mind all these years – a plot you’re not likely to forget in a hurry. But there are bits from Django I do remember: I knew, for instance, what was in the coffin and remember the scene where we discover this, and I remember the scene where the baddy shoots Mexicans for sport (in fact, I’ve long been wondering where this scene comes from) – and there were some other things no doubt, images I might or might not have remembered but which seemed familiar, the same as any hazy recollection.

Of course one doesn’t remember the plot because the plot is fairly aimless: it’s the plot of all spaghetti westerns: a stranger comes to town, he involves himself in matters which involve a lot of killing, there’s some treasure involved, a final shoot-out etc.

Is it well-acted? – I haven’t a clue. Odd, maybe, for a film I’ve just watched. But this is the problem with Django. It is the most appalling dubbed film in movie history. You cannot but be distracted by it. Oh for a print with subtitles and the original Italian! It might then even be verging on a master-piece. But no, probably not. It is just, in the end, all a bit too silly – like most spaghetti westerns; silly but with an occasional effort in the direction of greatness.

But The Great Silence – that I’d really like to see again.

I’m up to 141 films seen (having already watched 16 in December in 12 days – well, 11 days really, I suppose, since we’re past midnight), so easily on target for 150 for the year.


2 thoughts on “Django, dir. Sergio Corbucci

  1. I think most Italian films of this period were dubbed even for their home release versions, so you’ll probably still have to put up with dubbing even with a subtitled version, only the dubbing might be a bit less awful.

  2. I think if the dubbing was merely in Italian it would be an improvement: the dialogue would at least seem less stilted and absurd. And besides, subtitles always give a film a certain gravitas.

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