In pre-Civil War southern America, an escaped slave returns to the plantation to free his wife.
Jamie Foxx: Django, the slave looking for his wife Broomhilda
Kerry Washington: Broomhilda
Christoph Waltz: Dr King Schultz, a bounty hunter
Leonardo DiCaprio: Calvin Candie, Broomhilda’s current owner
Samuel L. Jackson: Stephen, Candie’s senior house slave
In September 2012, Tarantino wrote in The New York Times: “Sergio Corbucci dealt with racism all the time; in his Django, the bad guys aren’t the Ku Klux Klan, but a surreal stand-in for them. They’re killing Mexicans, but it’s a secret organisation where they wear red hoods — it’s all about their racism toward the Mexican people in this town…. When I actually put pen to paper for the script, I thought, what will push the characters to their extremes? I thought the closest equivalent to Corbucci’s brutal landscapes would be the antebellum South. When you learn of the rules and practices of slavery, it was as violent as anything I could do — and absurd and bizarre. You can’t believe it’s happening, which is the nature of true surrealism.”
The pictures tell the story, QT!
in django season, t2 looks back at the quick and the dead
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The New York Times called it “pallid, pretentious” but today it is considered a classic. Based on Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954), Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and Horst Buchholz turned in brilliant acts as a group of seven gunmen hired by a Mexican village to protect it from bandits.... And then there was Sholay!
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
There’s entertainment, violence and a story of revenge. The Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood), Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) and Tuco (Eli Wallach) highlight one of the cornerstones of the genre –– every man is an island… he is both good and ugly. In pursuit of loot, the three are guided only by their brutal instincts. Clint smoulders as the cigar-chomping angry young man. And let us not forget Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack.
This iconic Sergio Corbucci spaghetti western has given birth to more than 30 unofficial sequels and remains a classic, thanks to the coffin-dragging hero, brilliantly played by Franco Nero. Corbucci went overboard while shooting the title sequence. He made Franco walk and walk, dragging a coffin. And he didn’t even shout “cut”! What makes Django a cult figure? Franco once said: “The world is made up of workers and workers would love to be Django.”
Dances With Wolves (1990)
A mini epic. Director Kevin Costner collected seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, denying Martin Scorsese for GoodFellas. Set during the American Civil War, Costner as Lt. Dunbar befriends native Americans to win the respect of a white woman who they had adopted at birth. He is soon caught between two worlds –– his army life and a group of people that his army is set on defeating or rather destroying.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
One of the best buddy movies of all time, director George Roy Hill’s four-Oscar winner comes with action and humour. Butch (Paul Newman) is the mind and Sundance (Robert Redford) is the muscle of their Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. Late 1890s Wyoming is civilised and outlaws are not welcome. So Butch comes up with a brilliant idea: “Let’s go to Bolivia”! The climax is a classic.
Rio Bravo (1959)
John Wayne saddled up time and again but one of his finest performances was in Howard Hawks’s Rio Bravo. Bullseye? The way nicknames were used. His drunk deputy, played by crooner Dean Martin, is Dude. Popular 1960s teen sensation Ricky Nelson is the young gunslinger Colorado Ryan. Walter Brennan is the disabled man Stumpy and Angie Dickinson is Feathers, a young woman on the run.
Clint Eastwood was 62 years old when Unforgiven released. So, when he faced the camera we didn’t see the star of TV’s Rawhide or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. There was only a grizzled pig farmer –– William “Will” Munny, looking for one last bounty. He is engaged by a group of prostitutes in Big Whiskey, Wyoming, to kill Quick Mike and “Davey-Boy” Bunting for killing one of their own. He is joined by Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman), another retired gunfighter. It won the Oscar for Best Picture.
True Grit (2010)
The 1969 version was obviously better for diehard John Wayne fans but the Coen Brothers paid a brilliant tribute to the original, with Jeff Bridges playing the washed-up US Marshal Rooster Cogburn. This is not a remake of the film that won Wayne an Oscar as the one-eyed bounty hunter but a different version of Charles Portis’s novel. Nominated for 10 Oscars, it took home none.
The Mercenary (1968)
After Django, Sergio Corbucci delivered another brilliant spaghetti western. With Franco Nero in the lead, the story revolves around a group of exploited miners with a ruthless mine owner (Eduardo Fajardo) and his henchman (Jack Palance). Trying to win them freedom is Tony Musante who convinces the mercenary to join them.
Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)
In this “poetic” spaghetti western Sergio Leone moves away from his Dollars storylines to bring out Henry Fonda’s dark side in an epic revolving around the battle over natural resources in the West with an encroaching railroad and Charles Bronson’s search for his brother’s killer.
High Noon (1952)
One of Bill Clinton’s favourite films (he screened it 20 times during his White House stay), High Noon reflects the simplicity of the genre. Gary Cooper as the about-to-retire sheriff Will Kane has to take down a criminal who is set to arrive in his town at high noon. The bad man has got a pardon but not from Will Kane.
Which is your favourite Western? Tell [email protected]