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A Man Called Django! / Django and Sartana's Showdown in the West / Django Kills Silently / Django's Cut Price Corpses


Double up on your Django! (And remember: The 'D' is silent.)

Rod Lott November 30th, 2012

Before Django gets Unchanged this Christmas via Quentin Tarantino, get schooled on the spaghetti-Western bounty hunter through a pair of double-feature discs from Timeless Media Group. (Spoiler: He's neither a slave nor African-American.) That's four films total for those of you who can't do math, and all but one are hitting DVD officially for the first time.

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The one that isn't is 1971's A Man Called Django! (aka Viva! Django), which finds our drifter hero rolling into town to look for the Four Leaf Clover Gang, whose members who murdered his wife. He carries with him her photo in a music box, many sticks of dynamite and his trusty gun. All are put to good use in this violent, but not particularly bloody outing with Anthony Steffen in the saddle as Django for the fifth and final ride.

It's paired with 1970's Django and Sartana's Showdown in the West, supposedly directed by a guy named — wait for it — Dick Spitfire! Here, Django (Franco Borelli) teams with another spag-flick icon, the gunslinger Sartana (Hunt Powers) to rescue a rancher's lovely daughter (Simone Blondell). She's been taken hostage by the Black Burt gang so it can get into Mexico. At stake is a load o' gold!

It's a trip to see Sartana and Django be besties, but I'll admit having a tough time keeping the two men straight. Borelli and Powers look equally rugged to me. Just repeat to yourself: "Django's in the black hat, Django's in the black hat …"



The other Django double feature kicks off with 1967's Django Kills Silently (aka Django Kills Softly), and that title is such a lie — gunshots ring like the bells of an ice cream truck, which is exactly the way I like it. With George Eastman (Keoma) taking the role this time, the story takes place in Santa Ana; there was no place safer until El Santo came to town — the Mexican bandit, not the masked wrestler. Django aids a widow (Liana Orfei, Hercules, Samson and Ulysses) in avenging the death of her husband. Having watched A Man Called Django!, we know he's really good at this sort of thing.

Eastman didn't impress me as a good Django — I dunno, it could just be the dubbing — but the film still sports plenty of action. There are several tumbles off cliffs that are pretty cool, as is the round of fisticuffs within the walls of a burning home in the climax. There's also a weird mute character for those into that sort of thing.

Finally, we have 1971's Django's Cut Price Corpses, easily the finest-titled entry in the entire loosely connected franchise. The trailer promises "an action picture which exalts the psychology of a man, Django." Don't worry: It's still plenty lowbrow like the others.

Here, Django (Jeff Cameron, who had played Sartana a couple times prior) is on the hunt for the brothers Cortez, who have a bounty on their heads worth $2,000 each. There's four of them. Having watched A Man Called Django!, we know he's really good at this sort of thing. So good, in fact, he confidently orders four coffins in advance: "Regular size. I'll make 'em fit."

Sacks of gold and hand slaps abound. All four are fun, B-level adventures, recommended to people who prefer their oaters made not by Americans, but Italians. —Rod Lott  

Hey! Read This:
Django, Kill! (If You Live Shoot!) Blu-ray review     
Hercules, Samson and Ulysses DVD review    
Keoma Blu-ray review    

 
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