Sunday, October 20, 2013

HANGING FOR DJANGO (RaroVideo): Django Al dente with Garrone

The Django series has gained some recent popularity, and you can thank Quentin Tarantino for making the name a semi-household name. Many of you won't thank Tarantino at all for helping to make more popular a series of Spaghetti Westerns that the cool kids have known about for quite some time. This guy writing a review of Hanging for Django is happy that Django Unchained came out and, subsequently, people started exploring a formerly popular, on the resurgence genre of movie. This was my first Django film which, as I understand it, won't really matter in the order of operations. You can watch them out of order and gain an appreciation for the series, the genre and this era in Italian cinema. I've seen my fair share of popular Spaghetti Westerns, but nearly all of them have starred Clint Eastwood (unless you count Four of the Apocalypse). It won't be my last Django film, and I have RaroVideo to thank for that. They've dug up a seemingly lost piece of cinema that is stylistically beautiful, gritty and filled with some exquisite music. This wouldn't be a bad way for you to get into the Spaghetti Westerns of old either.

Synsops from RaroVideo:

In this spaghetti western, an evangelical bounty hunter teams up with another to bring an outlaw gang that has been sneaking illegal immigrants over the border to sell as slaves to justice.

I'm sure that after evoking Q.T's name in the opening paragraph of a review about a Django picture I've lost more than a few readers. The time of the niche cool is over. It's the duty and honor or companies like RaroVideo to make available movies like Hanging for Django aka Una lunga fila di croci so that fans can create a new passion in their hearts for what feels like a dated body of work. Westerns pop up every so often in American cinema, and we love them for a time and then they fade out. It's a cycle. We're all allowed to be inspired by a genre no matter how we get into it, who introduces us to it and who pays homage to some of its finer titles, actors and characters. That's my diatribe. This just seemed a fine place to talk about it. While I can't say that Hanging for Django is the work specifically that inspired the namesake character from Django unchained, the series did. It's a shame we don's use the name Frankenstein more often out of Mary Shelley context or outside of the body of work specifically dedicated to the modern Prometheus.

The transfer is exquisite. If you haven't seen a Raro disc yet I want you to know that they are an inspired company that takes care and dedication in their restoration, artwork and special features. This is my second Raro with a third arriving today for my birthday, Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show just arrived as a gift from my sister for my birthday. She's amazing. My first disc was Night of the Devils, the Ferroni film from '72, and it's become something of a discussion piece when I talk about just what Blu-ray can do for an overlooked film and the merits of a small company like RaroVideo in the Blu marketplace. Great quality, extras. perfect packaging that has it's own sense of style making it feel like a collectible disc. Look for the black or red bar and the RaroVideo logo.

The movie itself is a fairly typical example of any Western you've seen of the late 60's and early 70's. It has a similar musical tone, lighting, acting style. That's not to say that it's plain Jane. The plot is unique and the actors are perfectly cast.The protagonist's multi-barrel gun, the Dirty Harry arm cannon of the day. Keep in mind that Franco Nero isn't the star of this "Django" picture. Different director from the original work as well and seemingly unconnected. It doesn't need to be in abject plot, but it's stylized and created in the that franchise's image.  These pictures are characteristically slow with some poor dubbing that has become part of the style and is almost charming. Sergio Garrone helped to define this genre though he was not the first to embark on a Django process; he continues in the style of Sergio Corbucci and Franco Nero (from the trailers and press I've experienced regarding the earlier films). Think gunslingers playing shoot 'em up, driven in the "wild west".

I'm going to love covering more releases from this genre in the future, and I am excited to walk down the path of Django especially since Franco Nero so damn cool. Bear with me as I dig deeper. I love Italian Horror. I'm learning to love Italian Action movies (thanks to David Z. at Tomb it May Concern). This seems like the natural progression.

Special features include:

New HD Transfer/Digitally restored / Original trailer (NOTE: It's beautiful)
Video Documentary: Bounty Killer for a Massacre (NOTE:  Great for the beginner or fan)
New and improved English subtitle translation (NOTE: You'd have to have seen the old translation to worry about this but either way the dubbing rules!)
A fully illustrated booklet  (NOTE This is why you love boutique distro companies and what RaroVideo does very well. Again, perfect for the newbie, a treat for the fan).
-Original trailer

You can pick up Hanging for Django October 29th. Be sure to pre-order it now.


1 comment:

  1. I wasn't blown away by the transfer but man there are a few reviews out there tearing it to ribbons, I will say the newly created title sticks out and it has a few other issues, but man it's like they were expecting a transfer comparable to Pacific Rim. If you dug this you HAVE to check out the original 1966 film. Django is one of my favorite movies and helped create my odd and unhealthy obsession with Franco Nero. I also really liked Unchained. Great review man!