The Curator of Schlock #381 by Jeff Shuster

Django, Prepare a Coffin

Does lightning strike twice for the Django series? Yes, it does!

I woke up to the sound of Larry slapping my face.

“I thought you were a goner,” he said, pulling me upright. I gradually got to my feet, feeling like I had been kicked in the tailbone. The two of us were still on the premises of a prison in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.The only thing separating us from freedom was a barbed wire fence. Larry handed me a gardener’s trowel and told me to start digging. — To be continued.

This week’s Arrow Home Video release is 1968’s Django, Prepare a Coffin from director Ferdinando Baldi. Let me just say that this movie has one of the best title sequences I’ve ever seen. You’ve got cowboys riding horses and gunslingers duking it out in a rotoscoped silhouette. This is all done to the sound of a rousing chorus composed by Gianfranco and Giampiero Reverberi. I’m pumped! I even bought the soundtrack from a seller on Ebay.

Our movie begins with Django’s good friend David Barry (Horst Frank) getting elected as state senator or some public office to that effect. David Barry makes grandiose proclamations about a new day for freedom and democracy. Some rabble-rousers pick a fight with David Barry accusing him of being a dirty politician who only cares about getting rich, but Django makes short work of them. After all, Django is good friends with David Barry and knows he doesn’t have a crooked bone in his body.

I should mention that Franco Nero doesn’t reprise the role of Django in this sequel. He was off in Hollywood, cast as Lancelot in 1967’s Camelot from Joshua Logan. So for this Django, we get Terence Hill in the lead role. Terence Hill played Guido Falcone in Mr. Billion, a movie I’d never heard of before, but that director Jonathan Kaplan called the biggest failure of his career. I’ll have to check that out one day, but in the meantime, Terrence Hill makes a suitable Django as he looks a bit like Nero.

Django tells his good friend David Barry that he’s supervising the transport of bags of gold. Django’s wife is also traveling with him. Guess what? They get ambushed by a gang of bandits. Everyone gets shot up including Django’s wife. Django takes some bullets in the back and looks up to see who’s leading this gang and it’s none other than his good friend David Barry. Django is left for dead, but survives his multiple gunshot wounds. And then he plans his revenge.

Django gets a job as a hangman for several western towns. It seems that David Barry has been getting his political enemies falsely accused and convicted of heinous crimes and sentenced to death by hanging. Django then uses trickery to fake hang each man and fake bury him. Each man he rescues from the gallows becomes part of the “ghost army” set to right the wrongs of David Barry and his cohorts. This is an engaging followup to the original Django and almost serves as an origin story for the character. That’s it for Django movies this month as I’ll be returning with Texas, Adios next week. I’m sure I’ll cover more Django movies some day. They only made about fifty of them.

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.