, , , , ,

The Curator of Schlock #380 by Jeff Shuster


Don’t bug the man dragging the coffin around. 

My friend Larry and I were trying to scale a Canadian prison wall using a rope made of used men’s briefs. I went first, inching my way ever so clumsily to the ground below. I was about halfway down when Larry decided to follow. The combined weight of us both proved too much for Larry’s amateur knot job. I was free-falling and the last thing I saw was Larry’s protruding butt cheeks before everything went dark.

— To be continued.

This week’s Arrow Home Video release is 1966’s Django from director Sergio Corbucci (who is referenced in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). Django is one of the more notable spaghetti westerns.

We don’t get Clint Eastwood in this motion picture, but does star the one and only Franco Nero in the title role. The movie begins with Django dragging a coffin through the muddy wasteland of the old west.

This behavior brings to mind questions like for what purpose does one drag a coffin around with him and who is in said coffin? One wonders if it’s some sort of fashionable affectation, or does the coffin give this man comfort like a baby blue blanket does for Linus?

A prostitute named Maria (Loredana Nusciak) gets whipped by a gang of evil Mexican bandits. Then the Mexican bandits are shot to death by an evil gang of ex-Confederate soldiers called the Red Shirts. Naturally, these Red Shirts want to kill Maria by tying her to a burning cross. Then Django shows up, shoots the Red Shirts dead with his six gun, and brings Maria with him to the nearest small town, complete with a brothel run by Nathanial the pimp (Ángel Álvarez).

Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo) is the leader of the Red Shirts and demands Nathanial give him his weekly cut of the brothel’s profits. Django sees this and shoots up the Major’s men, but tells the Major to go and to bring his whole army back with him next time. Well, the Major does just that. One would think that’s more than even Django can handle, but it’s at this point that we get to what’s in the coffin and it just happens to be a machine gun that Django uses to mow down every Red Shirt that enters town.

This gives him clout with the Mexican bandits and their leader, General Rodriguez (José Bódalo), who wants to start a revolution back in Mexico and take over as ruler of that country. He also has a penchant for slicing off the ears of those who cross him. So General Rodriguez wants ten of those new fangled machine guns, but those cost money so Django and General Rodriguez’s gang assault the Mexican Army at Fort Charribba. They steal a whole lot of gold, but the General doesn’t want to give Django his share just yet. They lock the gold away, but Django enacts an elaborate plan to steal it. He then makes a break for it with Maria.

I like this picture, which has the spirit of A Fistful of Dollars. We get a particularly nasty villain in Major Jackson, a man whose idea of sport is shooting poor Mexican farmers. And Django is especially cunning as our anti-hero. Deep down we know he won’t get away with his scheme, but we root for him all the same. Apparently, there was a whole slew of these Django movies made back in the day so I may return with another next week.

Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477, episode 491, episode 492, episode 493, episode 495, and episode 496) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.