AKA A Fistful of Dollars Part 2, Jango
Starring Franco Nero, José Bódalo, Loredana Nusciak, Eduardo Fajardo, Ángel Álvarez, Gino Pernice, Simón Arriaga
Directed by Sergio Corbucci
Django opens with a tight shot of the back of Django’s head. A black hat sits atop it and the theme song begins with a djangly guitar. As he walks away, the camera zooms out in the opposite direction, slowly revealing that he laboriously walks across the barren, muddy landscape, dragging a coffin behind him. Django continues up a muddy hill as the credits fade in and out around him. He is a mystery and will remain that way throughout the film. Knowing too much about his character would ruin his mystique. He simply is Django.
Click the play button above to listen to the Django theme while you read!
Django takes a drag from his cigar, without a care in the world. “I am not alone.”
How could he be so confident in this situation? He opens his coffin and it suddenly all makes sense. Contained within is a huge machine gun that fires multiple bullets at once from multiple barrels. I don’t know if such a gun exists in real life, but if it does I’m glad that I saw this before I found myself facing off against one. He slaughters the oncoming force of roughly 50 men in 30 seconds and shows no remorse whatsoever. He takes out his pistol as a few lucky ones flee and shoots the men’s leader, Maj. Jackson, off his horse. He lands face down in the mud. Django’s final pistol shot is arguably the most powerful of the scene, as it manages to do three things. It humiliates Maj. Jackson and sends him packing. It places a period at the end of a rapid-fire sentence, letting everyone know how ridiculously badass Django is, further illustrating that Django does not fuck around. It also shows that Django doesn’t use the machine gun out of necessity or to make up for a lack of skill. He uses it by choice and he is more than capable without it.
The film features a story that seems at least in part taken from Yojimbo. The lone stranger comes into town and finds himself in the middle of two warring factions. They are the Americans, who wear red scarves and hoods ala the Klan, and the Mexicans who are not much more than clichéd savages. Both parties fight to possess a girl who Django saves at the beginning of the film, but the story is really playing second fiddle here to the great set pieces throughout. There’s the big machine gun reveal that I mentioned above and the second half explodes with great, action-packed moments. Most Westerns feature a saloon fist fight at some point and Django is no different. It is shot better than most though, remaining fresh and exciting. There’s a quick shot of a punch coming directly at the camera towards the beginning of the fight that really sets the dial to excitement and the action never lets up.
The film’s score was composed by Oscar-winning* composer Luis Bacalov and he does a great job for the most part. The Django theme song (featured above) is excellent and will be stuck in your head for quite a while after the film has finished. It’s by far the standout track, but there are lots of great instrumental pieces as well. Some of the music sounds a bit too close to American Western film music for my taste, but this is a minor complaint that only a film score nerd like myself is even going to care about.
Come back tomorrow as Uncle Jasper takes on 1969’s Django the Bastard in Day two of A Fistful of Djangos!
* Il Postino [The Postman] – 1996 Academy Awards