Famed cult spaghetti western receives the Limited Edition treatment 4.5 Stars

With the release and success of A Fistful of Dollars (1964), the spaghetti western genre began to take hold a few years later with more and more companies on both sides of the Atlantic seeking to cash in. However, it wasn’t until The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) that the genre would begin to reach its apex internationally; one of those films outside of Sergio Leone’s films was Django, which in turn would spawn innumerable “sequels” and imitators from its own success. Released several times on home video over the years, Arrow Films has picked up the movie for its latest Blu-ray release, a limited edition paired with one of the loose “sequels”, Texas, Adios (1966).

Django (1966)
Released: 01 Dec 1966
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 91 min
Director: Sergio Corbucci
Genre: Action, Western
Cast: Franco Nero, José Bódalo, Loredana Nusciak, Ángel Álvarez
Writer(s): Sergio Corbucci (story), Bruno Corbucci (story), Sergio Corbucci (screenplay), Bruno Corbucci (screenplay), Franco Rossetti (screenplay in collaboration with), Piero Vivarelli (screenplay in collaboration with), Geoffrey Copleston (English version by)
Plot: A coffin-dragging gunslinger and a half-breed prostitute become embroiled in a bitter feud between a Klan of Southern racists and a band of Mexican Revolutionaries.
IMDB rating: 7.2
MetaScore: 75

Disc Information
Studio: Other
Distributed By: Arrow Video
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Audio: English PCM 1.0 (Mono)
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 31 Min. (Django), 1 Hr. 33 Min. (Texas, Adios)
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: Steelbook
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 06/30/2020
MSRP: $49.95

The Production: 4/5

Django (1966; 4 out of 5)

Django (Franco Nero) is a mysterious loner dragging a coffin through the desolate land near the border between the United States and Mexico. Arriving in a rundown border town, he quickly finds himself between an army of red hooded racists led by former Confederate Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo) and a band of Mexican revolutionaries under the command of General Hugo Rodriguez (Jose Bodalo). While also becoming romantically involved with a prostitute he saved from both gangs, Django manages to match wits (and even some gunfire) with both sides before turning his attention to his main reason for taking on Major Jackson, one which involves an incident from Django’s past…

While director Sergio Corbucci made several spaghetti westerns in his career, Django is still the one he is best remembered for and one which cemented the genre internationally along with Sergio Leone’s classic Dollars trilogy. Right off the bat, the film shows no mercy when it comes to violence; our antihero wastes no time in dispatching members from both gangs who have nefarious plans with the prostitute that he saves – a group of revolutionaries whips her, then the group of red hoods plan to crucify her on a burning cross. Also worth mentioning is how bleak the town is compared to American westerns prior to this film; it should rank as one of the most rundown and muddy locales ever committed to film in the genre as a whole. Aside from the stark violence and bleak setting, the movie boasts some very good action set pieces, such as Django dispatching nearly all of the red hoods with a machine gun hidden in the coffin he drags along for much of the film and the climatic final showdown with Major Jackson which involves Django having to shoot a gun without the use of his hands. Buoyed by Sergio Corbucci’s solid direction, a memorable score by Luis Enriquez Bacalov and an equally solid ensemble cast – including Franco Nero in his career defining role – Django has survived the test of time as not only a cult favorite, but as one of the greatest examples of the spaghetti western ever committed to film by a director not named Sergio Leone.

Texas, Adios (1966; 3.5 out of 5)

As a sheriff of a small Texas town, Burt Sullivan (Franco Nero) rides into Mexico with his kid brother Jim (Alberto Dell’Acqua) to bring in the notorious Cisco Delgado (Jose Suarez) for killing their father. However, this seemingly straightforward task becomes very complicated along the way. For instance, a villager (Luigi Pistilli) under the thumb of Delgado asks for the brothers’ help in taking back their village from Delgado; Burt turns down the offer at first, but will soon need his help when he learns about the shocking truth about his kid brother…

Texas, Adios (released in some territories as Django 2 as an attempt to connect this film as a sequel to Django) is somewhat lesser known in the spaghetti western genre, but is notable as likely being the most American in the genre. For example, the idea of avenging the death of a loved one is certainly not new to the western on both sides of the Atlantic; however, that idea gets turned on its head with a revelation about what happened after the murder of Burt and Jim’s father that’s better seen than talked about here. Also notable is that the amount of violence here compared to other spaghetti westerns is a little more restrained; there’s no machine guns hiding in coffins mowing down large swaths of people here, but there is a moment in Delgado’s camp that has three captives being tortured then shot to death (much of that is luckily kept off screen). Again, there’s some solid action here, with the final showdown between Burt and Delgado in addition to Burt tangling with a Mexican bandido in a village cantina fight standing out here. Backed by Ferdinando Baldi’s sturdy direction and another equally solid cast – with Nero sharing the spotlight with stuntman Alberto Dell’Acqua and Luigi Pistilli – Texas, Adios is a unique spaghetti western that melds elements from previous westerns on both sides of the Atlantic, making it stand out among its contemporaries.

Video: 4/5

3D Rating: NA

Django is presented in its original 1:66:1 aspect ratio taken from a 4K scan of the original camera negative, while Texas, Adios is presented in its original 2:35:1 aspect ratio taken from a 2K scan of the original camera negative for this release. Both films exhibit organic film grain, a faithful representation of the original color timing and an equally faithful representation of fine details; problems like tears, scratches and dirt are fairly minor, although instances of wear are present given the condition of the original film elements for each movie (Texas, Adios exhibits this a little more often than Django). Overall, this release likely represents the best both movies will ever look on home video and represent an improvement over previous releases.

Audio: 5/5

Both films’ original Italian mono & dubbed English mono soundtracks are presented on PCM tracks for this release. All four tracks demonstrate strong dialogue and sound effects along with solid fidelity and range for both films’ music tracks (Luis Enriquez Bacalov is responsible for Django‘s memorable music, while Anton Garcia Abril provided Texas, Adios with an appropriately moody score). Problems like distortion, scratches, hissing and crackling are minimal here, which means that both films have likely been given the best audio representation on home video; one final note: if you’re wondering which track on each film to go with, go with the original Italian tracks, as they’re more natural and poetic compared to the more literal English dubs.

Special Features: 5/5

Disc 1 – Django

Commentary by film historian Stephen Prince – Newly recorded for this release, Prince talks about the movie, its production as well its greater importance in the genre in this very informative track.

Django Never Dies (26:07) – Franco Nero talks about the movie and his memories making the film in this brand new interview.

Cannibal of the Wild West (25:48) – Assistant director Ruggero Deodato speaks about his association with Sergio Corbucci as well as his memories about the movie in this new interview; in Italian with English subtitles.

Sergio, My Husband (27:48) – Nori Corbucci, the widow of the director, talks about her husband and the memories they had during the production of the movie in this new interview; in Italian with English subtitles.

That’s My Life: Part I (10:16) – In the first half of this archival interview, director Franco Rossetti (who worked on the script for the movie) talks about his career and his work on Django; in Italian with English subtitles.

A Rock ‘n’ Roll Scriptwriter (11:03) – Piero Vivarelli, who had also collaborated on the screenplay with Rossetti and Corbucci, shares his memories of working on the movie in this archival interview; in Italian with English subtitles.

A Punch in the Face (18:43) – Stunt performer Gilberto Galimberti, who also played one of Jackson’s red hooded gang members, talks about his career and the stunt work he did on the movie in this archival interview; in Italian with English subtitles.

Discovering Django (25:33) – This brand new appreciation by spaghetti western scholar Austin Fisher examines the movie in the larger picture of the genre.

Archival introduction by Alex Cox (12:04)

Image Gallery – 128 stills are presented here, spread out in 5 different categories (production stills, posters, lobby cards, press materials & home video).

Original Italian Trailer (2:58)

Original International Trailer (2:58)

Disc 2 – Texas, Adios

Commentary by spaghetti western experts C. Courtney Joyner & Henry C. Parke – Recorded for this release, Joyner and Parke talks about some of the details on the film and its cast and crew members as well as a few entertaining tidbits to go along with the analysis of the movie.

The Sheriff is in Town (20:19) – Franco Nero shares his memories of working on the movie – which happened to coincide with the filming of a certain Sergio Leone western starring Clint Eastwood – in this brand new interview.

Jump Into the West (33:46) – Actor and stuntman Alberto Dell’Acqua talks about his career and memories he had making the movie in this brand new interview.

That’s My Life: Part II (9:19) – In the second half of this archival interview, Franco Rossetti talks about his work as a screenwriter on this movie as well as a few more details on his directing career.

Hello Texas! (16:24) – Spaghetti western expert Austin Fisher talks about what makes this movie stand out in the genre in this brand new appreciation.

Image Gallery – 64 stills are presented here, spread out over 5 different categories (production stills, posters, press materials, lobby cards & home video).

Original Trailer (2:42)

Notably absent here but present on the Blue Underground Blu-ray of Django are a Franco Nero introduction, a 1968 documentary of the spaghetti western phenomenon and a couple of featurettes featuring Nero and Ruggero Deodato.

Overall: 4.5/5

Django helped to further the spaghetti western on the international stage while also establishing Franco Nero as a star internationally as well. Arrow Video has likely provided the definitive version of the movie on home video, with a great HD transfer and bonus features in addition to the inclusion of Texas, Adios as a bonus movie with an equally strong HD transfer and special features. Highly recommended for spaghetti western fans.

Amazon.com: Django + Texas Adios (Double Feature) [Blu-ray]: Franco Nero, Sergio Corbucci: Movies & TV

Post Disclaimer

Some of our content may contain marketing links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links. In our editorial content, these affiliate links appear automatically, and our editorial teams are not influenced by our affiliate partnerships. We work with several providers (currently Skimlinks and Amazon) to manage our affiliate relationships. You can find out more about their services by visiting their sites.

Published by

t1g3r5fan

editor

t1g3r5fan

Reviewer
Joined
Jul 1, 2012
Messages
951
Real Name
Mychal Bowden
Thanks, Mychal. Will you be reviewing the 4K UHD release of Django, as well?

I haven't decided yet; it took about two years from the time this was announced to the time I first published this review. As you know, there was a rights issue that held up the release for that time and then I had to remove the review and thread when said problems continued at the time (of course it's now resolved between Arrow and Blue Underground). Right now I'm leaning towards no, but never say never.
 

t1g3r5fan

Reviewer
Joined
Jul 1, 2012
Messages
951
Real Name
Mychal Bowden
According to the booklet, Django was scanned, graded and restored by L'Immagine Ritrovata and Texas, Adios was scanned and restored by L'Immagine while while grading was done by R3store Studios in London. Hope that helps!
 

B-ROLL

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 26, 2016
Messages
3,745
Real Name
Bryan
Can someone tell me exactly how many Blu-ray releases this has actually had???
Since we can only talk here about legitimate releases here we may not be able to give you a legitimate answer -

Home media​

Django was first released on DVD in the US as a double feature with Django Strikes Again on September 24, 2002. This release, by Anchor Bay Entertainment, is mostly uncut and presented with a remix of the English dub in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, and was limited to 15,000 copies. Included as special features are trailers for the two films, exclusive interviews with Nero about their production histories, an arcade-style interactive game and an illustrated booklet with essays on the films. This release, which is currently out of print, was criticized for its hazy, washed-out transfer.[40] Prior to the original DVD release, Anchor Bay had released both films on VHS in 1999.[41][42]

On January 7, 2003, Blue Underground, having acquired the distribution rights to Django from Anchor Bay, released a second DVD of the film as part of The Spaghetti Western Collection boxset, which also included the films Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot!, Run, Man, Run and Mannaja: A Man Called Blade.[40] A standalone two-disc limited edition version was released on April 27, 2004, with the first disc containing the film and the second containing Alessandro Dominici's The Last Pistolero, a short film starring Nero in a tribute to his Western film roles. A third DVD release, made available on July 24, 2007, omitted The Last Pistolero.[43]

Blue Underground's DVD releases utilize a high quality (albeit mildly damaged) transfer based on the film's original camera negative, which was subject to a complex two-year digital restoration process that resulted in many instances of dirt, scratches, warps and deteriorations being removed and corrected.[44] The DVD, which presents Django completely uncut with Dolby Digital mono mixes of both the English and Italian dubs (as well as English subtitles translating the Italian dialogue), includes the film's English trailer, Django: The One and Only (an interview piece with Nero and Ruggero Deodato), a gallery of poster and production art compiled by Ally Lamaj, and talent biographies for Nero and Corbucci.[44] A Blu-ray release, featuring a revised high definition transfer of the negative and DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mixes of the English and Italian dubs, was released by Blue Underground on May 25, 2010. Unlike most of Blue Underground's releases, which are Region 0 or Region Free-encoded, the Django Blu-ray is Region A-locked.[40] The original DVD was included, along with Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot!, Keoma and Texas, Adios, as part of a four-disc set titled Spaghetti Westerns Unchained on May 21, 2013.[43]

In the UK, Argent Films released Django on DVD in 2004.[34] This release, which features exclusive interviews with Nero and Alex Cox, was re-released on September 1, 2008, and was later included in Argent's Cult Spaghetti Westerns boxset alongside Keoma and A Bullet for the General, released on June 21, 2010.[45] Argent later released its own Blu-ray, also taken from the original negative, on January 21, 2013, alongside a remastered DVD based on the same transfer.[45]

On September 1, 2018, Arrow Video announced that they would release Django on November 19 (later pushed back to December 11) in the US and Canada as part of a two-disc Blu-ray set with Texas, Adios, with the films having received new 4K and 2K restorations respectively. The special features for the film include an audio commentary by Stephen Prince, new interviews with Nero, Deodato, Rossetti, and Nori Corbucci, archival interviews with Vivarelli and stunt performer Gilberto Galimberti, an appreciation of Django by Spaghetti Western scholar Austin Fisher, an archival introduction to the film by Cox, and the theatrical trailer. Two versions of this release were revealed in this announcement: a standard edition that would also include an illustrated liner notes booklet featuring a new essay by Spaghetti Western scholar Howard Hughes and reprintings of contemporary reviews of the film, as well as a double-sided poster; and a steelbook edition that would not include the poster.[46][47] Prior to their intended release, Arrow withdrew both editions from their catalogue pending the outcome of a rights dispute between Blue Underground (who claimed to still have sole ownership of the film's US distribution rights, and had sent cease and desist letters to consumers who had pre-ordered the titles) and the film's Italian rights holder Surf Film (from whom Arrow obtained permission to release both films in February that year).[48] After 2 years, the Arrow edition will finally see release on June 30, 2020.