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Saturday, 26 February 2011

Djano - new DVD edition

I'm note sure how many times I've watched this movie, but it never fails to entertain and the new version from Blue Underground is not only the most complete version of the film available but it also features the original Italian soundtrack, in a remastered speaker busting form. The two disc edition also features the short, The Last Pistolero starring Franko Nero.

This cult movie centers on Django(Franco Nero), a stranger without identity, a man with no name, at the beginning he saves a woman (Loredana Nusciak). Later on , he makes his way to a small town, always dragging a coffin behind him.

The little town is located in the US-Mexican border. There he will take on two rivals, an American group and Mexican bunch . The colonel Jackson band, the Americans,  are a type of Ku-Klux-Klan organisation and they all  wear a red foulard. Django befriends the owner of the saloon, in yet another nod to A Fistful of Dollars .  And then the fun really starts...

That the film is basically a retread of, A Fistful of Dollars doesn't really matter, because Django has a style about it that is all of its own. And what goes around comes around and the film has become highly influential itself, it also made Franco Nero a European superstar, and directors like Quentin Tarantino owe it a huge debt.

 Django is a very proficient pistol marksman, his ability to overcome astounding odds (for example killing forty eight men in short order) is aided by his possession of the machine gun. Although frequently named a Gatling Gun, this gun has several unique aspects, and may not be based on an actual weapon at all. It has the following features:
  1. It is fully automatic. Django can be clearly seen not operating any rotating or otherwise cyclical mechanism. This fact goes against its being a Gatling gun, and makes it more likely a Maxim Machine Gun, the first fully automatic machine gun. However, Sir Hiram Maxim did not develop his weapon until a much later time period than that depicted in the film.
  2. It's muzzle has holes in two concentric rings (of thirteen holes and eight, respectively), enclosing a central hole, making a total of twenty one holes. This is clearly visible from the muzzle end. This precludes is being a Maxim type weapon, as that had a single barrel. However, it may be a hybrid Maxim/Gatling weapon. On closer inspection, the muzzle reveals that only in three holes (equidistant from each other in the outermost ring) are there actual barrels, the other holes may be present to aid air circulation. This is further confirmed by watching the firing sequence, as the flash is seen to leave only from those three barrels.
  3. It fires from multiple barrels. In the Gatling gun, each barrel fires when it reaches a particular location in rotation, so that the bullets always appear from the same point in the weapon. However, Django's weapon fires from any barrel. This characteristic is like a mitrailleuse, which is a volley fire weapon rather than a true machine gun. However, the barrels fire in a cyclic counter-clockwise direction looking from the muzzle end. This points towards a Gatling-type mechanism, but one fully automatic.
  4. It is definitely belt-fed. Apart from the fact that belt-fed ammunition had not been developed in the timeframe of the film and is an anachronism, belt-fed ammunition was definitely not used on any traditional mitrailleuse ever.
  5. It is a recoil-less design, as Django can fire it holding it as waist level, rather than mounted on a carriage or tripod.
  6. It is uncertain how the machine gun fires, as in addition to the absence of a cranking mechanism, there is no visible trigger mechanism.
The new DVD edition contains some great extra material, the highlight of which is an new interview with Franco Nero. There's also the usual theatrical trailers and talent bios. The second disc contains an arty short movie, which features Franco Nero, dressed in Django style walking through a modern urban landscape.

Django is a classic of western excess and has entered popular culture. The film has been referenced in scores of other movies, computer games, comic books and what have you  - the WIKI has the following list:

  • The ear-severing scene in Reservoir Dogs, directed by Quentin Tarantino has been said to have been inspired from the similar scene in Django.
  • Django is the film being watched by the theater audience in The Harder They Come, which is about a Jamaican outlaw styled after Ivan Rhygin.
  • Lee Perry's second album is titled Return of Django, and he has released tracks called "Django (Ol' Man River)" and "Django shoots first".
  • Episode 17, "Mushroom Samba," of Cowboy Bebop features a character dragging a coffin.
  • The Trigun character Nicholas D. Wolfwood carries an overly large cross which is itself a machine gun.
  • The video game and anime series Gungrave features the main character carrying a coffin full of weapons.
  • In Tenchi Universe, the character Nagi enters the climatic battle while dragging a coffin to a Western-looking city on Venus.
  • Mr. Black, a boss in the video game Red Dead Revolver, carries a coffin with a Gatling gun inside.
  • The coffin-dragging main character in the Boktai video game series is named Django; characters named Ringo and Sabata also appear.
  • The punk band Rancid has a song inspired by the movie, titled "Django", on its album Indestructible.
  • One-man metal band Thrones covers the theme song to Django on the album Sperm Whale.
  • In the Rob Zombie song "Feel So Numb", the opening lyrics to the third verse are "Django drag a coffin nail across your back".
  • The Danzig music video for "Crawl Across Your Killing Floor" features Glenn Danzig dragging a coffin.
  • The post-rock band And So I Watch You From Afar released a song titled 'D is for Django the Bastard' in their 2010 Letters EP.
  • Filipino billiards champion Francisco "Django" Bustamante earned his nickname after having been called "Django" by his friends; he eventually adopted it as his professional name.
  • "Don't Tango with Django" is the name of a track on the 'b' side of Joe Strummer's Gangsterville single, released in 1989.
  • The character Jango Fett from the Star Wars universe is a reference to Django. 
  • The Upsetters - "Return Of Django" song.
  • The 2007 film Sukiyaki Western Django by Japanese director Takashi Miike. The title, settings, ending theme song, and several dialogue lines reference Django. Also, clan members drag a newly-acquired coffin behind their wagon on the way into a battle, containing their prize, a gatling gun.
  • In Terminator 3 , The Terminator carries a coffin full of guns left by Sarah's friends in her grave.

1 comment:

Steve M said...

One of my favourite westerns ever.