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Django [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Italian & English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, English HOH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Certification: 15
  • Run Time: 90 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Argent Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 21, 2013
  • RRP: £19.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

One of the greatest “spaghetti westerns” to cash in on the success of Sergio Leone’s Clint Eastwood vehicle A Fistful of Dollars, Italian director Sergio Carbucci’s 1966 cult favorite Django is a seething hit of western action and glorious violence that went on to spawn generations of imitators, unauthorized sequels, and inspire “cult member” Quentin Tarantino’s own work. Set in a muddy Mexican boarder town, Django follows its titular character (Franco Nero; Cars 2; Die hard 2; Camelot) a gunslinging former Union Army soldier dragging a coffin behind as he saves the beautiful prostitute Maria (Loredana Nusciak) from the cruel hands of a group of Mexican revolutionaries. Carrying her along on his journey to the town, he finds a desolated place with no more than a brothel and an ongoing, bloody feud between the Mexican revolutionaries and racist KKK-like American soldiers led by one Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo). Django ends up in the middle of the feud, which he can quickly settle with his surprise – a Gatling machine gun stowed a away in the coffin he’s been towing. When an old Mexican acquaintance surfaces in the town offering the promise of gold, Django and Maria, end up trapped between both sides and it could lead to the demise and burial in the coffin Django has long been expecting.

Django is rife with excess and almost comedic levels of action. From the first gunslinging confrontation that sees Django slay a group of men with what nearly seems like one shot, its obvious the direction this film is heading in. Not that Django ever crosses the line into the ridiculous. Not at all, the steely-cool gaze and two-day shadow of Franco Nero, an almost stand-in for Clint Eastwood, and the at times slow burning build up of what exactly is coming next tempers the film’s wilder side. When it does break out, however, it is surely superb. A slaughtering of men with a machine gun, an ear slicing scene that even Tarantino couldn’t resist stealing.

Django doesn’t quite have the memorable score of Ennio Morricone or the visual style of Federico G. Larraya, but it makes up for that with the energy infused in its story by Carbucci and the gravitas imbued upon the character by Nero, who went on to become a star because of his appearance in this film.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

This is a fine remastering effort from Argent to bring Django to Blu-ray on this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement. While there is still some visible flicker and a little unevenness in the grain structure and overall contrast, the textural detail and shadow detail is stupendous. Close-ups are often sharp as a tack and the image looks organic throughout.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The original mono soundtrack in Italian is provided alongside an English dub, both in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit). The English track sounds clearer with a little more dynamic range. One can only presume this is perhaps due to it being referred to less often for duplication purposes over the years. The Italian track, being a little duller in sound, is still fine given its age, but neither one of these would be considered reference by today’s standards.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

It’s nice that they’ve included a brief interview with the star Franco Nero and an alternate opening sequence. Everything else, outside of the brief featurette on the film by Alex Cox, is promotional filler. Completists will, however, probably get a thrill over the included trailers for Django.

The supplements:

  • A Conversation with Franco Nero (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:01)
  • Alex Cox Defines Django (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:10)
  • Alternative Opening Sequence (1.66:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:16)
  • Django Theatrical Trailers:
    • International Trailer (1.66:1; 1080p/24)
    • Italian Trailer (1.66:1; 1080p/24)
  • Argent Films Trailers

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

The original and still the best, Django is arguably the best spaghetti western this side of Clint Eastwood. Violent, energetic, over-the-top, and boundary-pushing for its time, the film’s influence has been felt in many genres on the screen and now, finally, it comes to Blu-ray in a beautiful HD transfer allowing new generations to experience it. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]



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