Terence Hill, Horst Frank, George Eastman
Franco Rossetti (Story/Screenplay), Ferdinando Baldi (Screenplay)
It's likely not a surprise that Ferdinando Baldi's 1968 classic Django, Prepare A Coffin is, at its essence, a revenge flick. Starring Terrence Hill as Django, this time around the wandering gunslinger is a hired executioner for a corrupt local politician who frames innocent men in an evil scheme to take possession of their land. What this politician doesn't know, however, is that Django isn't actually killing the men - instead, he's putting together his own gang to take revenge out on those who killed his wife.
Of course, the world of Django gained new life with Tarantino's Django Unchained, a film that, for the record, I rather despised. Seriously.
I don't despite the Django films, however, and I rather enjoy this 1968 effort that fits nicely within the cinematic traditions of what one expects from spaghetti westerns. This film, in particular, may have at least a little familiarity for American moviegoers as it's known for having its score sampled by Gnarls Barkley for their hit "Crazy." While that's a bit of a weird thing for a film to be known for, in a world where marketing matters it still helps.
Terrence Hill makes for a terrific Django, perhaps not as memorable as original Franco Nero but still quite solid, and George Eastman shows up here as a convincing baddie. If there's a weakness with Django, Prepare A Coffin it's that the film itself is mighty familiar and, especially in this case, follows just about every spaghetti western cliche' out there. While predictability itself isn't exactly uncommon for any spaghetti western, it's a bit more of a hindrance here.
As a character, Django was extraordinarily popular during the heyday of spaghetti westerns with over 30 film appearances in less than a 10 year period. If Marvel had a western, Django would likely be there front and center.
The DVD/Blu-ray itself is rather sparse in terms of extras, a bit of a rarity for Arrow. While the tech quality is top notch, the only extras include:
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet by critic and Spaghetti Western expert Howard Hughes
- Original Trailer
- Optional English/Italian Audio Tracks
- Newly translated English subtitles for Italian audio and English SDH for the deaf and hard of hearing on the English audio
- Django Explained - a new interview with Spaghetti Western expert and author Kevin Grant
- New High Definition digital transfer of the film in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio
Lack of extras aside, this is a fine adaptation of Django, Prepare A Coffin and fans of spaghetti westerns will want to add it to the collection. While I'll openly admit this isn't my favorite genre or sub-genre, this particular film entertained me from beginning to end and may even give you insights into why I wasn't particularly a fan of Tarantino's effort.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic