Django BluRay Review
From The Spaghetti Western Database
This is what it says on the cover of Argent Films freshly released BluRay of the western all'italiana classic Django. It surely is no coincidence that is was released only some days after the theatrical release of Tarantinos Django Unchained. But this is not the worst case. One the one hand, there is a decent high definition release of Django by Blue Underground, on the other hand, that release is Region A. With Argent's BluRay there comes a Region ALL disc which is definitely worth buying.
"My inspiration on Django [Unchained] pretty much began and ended with Sergio Corbucci." Quentin Tarantino
Django is ranked number 3 on Quentin Tarantino's Top 20 favorite Spaghetti Westerns and is on number 6 of our very own Essential Top 20 Films.
Django (Franco Nero) walks into a town carrying a coffin. The town is controlled by two rival factions: a gang of racist KKK types wearing red hoods and a gang of gold hungry Mexicans. In Fistful of Dollars style, Django plays both gangs against each other in an attempt to get money and possibly revenge. Django's motivations for his actions are left vague throughout, although several possibilities are hinted at. (This synopsis was taken from the database's Django page)
There is no way around watching Django when you want to see the big spaghetti stuff out there. With the advent of high definition I was hoping that every top level spaghetti western is to be released one after another. Next step: Django. Honestly, Django is by far not my favourite italian western, it is more like something around number 20 on my list. Nevertheless, it did create the hype of the genre and influenced so many films. I think the reason why it is ranked so high is that it is so dirty and cruel and has so many sinister characters (actually including Django himself) in it. The film is a must see.
The BluRay Disc
I have never seen the movie in such a quality as on the Argent disc. It looks very detailed. There is much grain¹ throughout the film. Sometimes, the grain was a bit disturbing. An interesting thing is that DVDBeaver pointed out that Argent tried to remove the grain to get a - assumed - better image quality (compared to the Blue Underground release. They also say that the Argent disc has only 2/3's of the bitrate of the Blue Underground release...) But: This removal kind of killed the colours. Red looks orange and there are some shimmering effects.
I compared the BluRay to my old Kinowelt release, which looks pretty good being upscaled by the player. But it misses the details. The Argent disc is very sharp and brilliant.
The restoration itself seems to be good. There are some bits of dirt on the restored negative where the film came from. But these minor quality issues do not reduce the fun of watching this film.
¹ There is also a huge discussion in several forums about the artificial grain and cheap scanners and that the film needs a new scan and so on. But I guess Django will never look great. So this BluRay has surely not the best image quality of an old film, but it is watchable! (Despite what some guys say in some forums.) I mean, I bought shitty Marketing DVDs and my eyes hurt so much watching the film, but I wanted to see the film - if you get my point.
There are two DTS 2.0 HD Mono audio tracks, english and italian. Both are very good and have strength and clear voices. The english one is a bit better and louder. It sounds more modern than the italian. This may because of the dubbing which is pretty crap. First of all, it does not fit the subtitles (both normal and for the hard of hearing). The dubbing actors are not very ambitious. I prefer the italian track with subtitles - also due to the nice voices of the italian guys.
- Exclusive in-depth presentation by acclaimed filmmaker Alex Cox: Alex Cox gives a very good overview of the history of Django in Europe and the UK. You get to know background information which is very interesting.
- Exclusive interview with star Franco Nero: This is a very interesting and entertaining piece of interview. Nero talks gossip about the funny Corbucci and things that happened on set.
- Theatrical trailers: Here you get the international trailer and the italian trailer. The international seems restored, the italion is of worse quality. The italian trailer has english subtlitles.
- Argent Trailer Park: There are the trailers of the other Argent releases. But you also find information about the sister lables Nouveaux and Shameless.
- Alternative Opening Sequence: This is simple the opening scene with english titles. The film opening is italian.
- Reversible Sleeve with original Poster Artwork: This one is very appreciated by me. I love the original poster/artwork and am very happy to have it as the cover
As I said, the film is a must see. Nowadays, when you have the chance of watching a film remastered, restored and put on a high definition 1080p disc I'd recommend everyone: go and buy the high def stuff. Django has never looked any better (except on 35mm, apparently, back in 1966 and maybe on the Blue Underground BluRay) and for people living on the Region B side of the world this is a must buy. It looks better than every DVD. A "no" is not accepted. Folks, go out and buy the BluRay. I want to see more western released by Argent - and you can decide whether they are motivated or not to do so. -- Marc Biskup 30, Januar 2013
The BluRay has been provided by Argent Films. // Buy now: From Amazon.co.uk