Film Review: Unofficial ‘Django’ Sequels, Part I (1966, 1967, 1968)

The original Django was an enormous success in 1966. It opened a lot of doors for its star Franco Nero and its director Sergio Corbucci. The film also inspired unofficial sequels to be created by a multitude of studios because copyrights in Europe back then weren’t as strict as they are in the United States.

There are forty-six Django films listed on his character page on Wikipedia. Most of those are lost to time. A dozen and a half or so, are still out there on streaming services, DVD or VHS – if you can track them down. Some are free on YouTube. Anyway, I’m trying to see as many of them as I can.

Some actually feature the character of Django and some just use his name in the title due to its popularity, even though the character isn’t in the film.

As I watch these films, I will review a few at a time. They won’t necessarily be in chronological order, as that doesn’t matter anyway, as none of these films are really connected to each other apart from a word in their titles.

A Few Dollars For Django (1966):

Also known as: Pochi dollari per Django (Italy)
Release Date: September 9th, 1966 (Italy)
Directed by: Leon Klimovsky, Enzo G. Castellari
Written by: Manuel Sebares, Tito Capri
Music by: Carlo Savina
Cast: Anthony Steffen, Gloria Osuna, Thomas Moore, Frank Wolff

Marco Film, R.C. Pictures, R.M. Films, Italcid, 85 Minutes

few_dollars_for_djangoReview:

This was the first unofficial sequel to Django. It actually came out the same year, as did a half dozen other Django films. All of them were most likely made before the release of the original film and then altered their titles to jump on the success bandwagon.

The main character in this film isn’t even Django, it is a character named Regan. He has a Django-esque quality to his character though. The opening sequence is pretty cool and you do see similarities between Regan and the Django character in their style.

Anthony Steffen plays Regan and he would go on to be in other Django ripoffs.

For the most part though, this film is really mediocre. It is pretty average in its story, in its acting and in its style. It is more green than the real Django film, as it doesn’t take place in a desolate location. The setting within the film is supposed to be Montana.

It is happier in tone overall and the action is better than average but there just isn’t a lot to make it anywhere as worthwhile as the original film it steals its name from.

It is still a decent enough spaghetti western to enjoy for an hour and a half on a rainy day.

Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! (1967):

Also known as: Se sei vivo spara, lit. If You Live Shoot (Italy), Oro Hondo, Django Kill!
Release Date: May 3rd, 1967 (Italy)
Directed by: Giulio Questi
Written by: Franco Arcalli, Giulio Questi, Benedetto Benedetti, Maria del Carmen, Martinez Roman
Music by: Ivan Vandor
Cast: Tomas Milian, Marilu Tolo, Roberto Camardiel, Piero Lulli, Milo Quesada, Paco Sanz, Raymond Lovelock, Patrizia Valturri

GIA Societa Cinematografica, Hispamer Films, Trose Trading Film, Titanus Distribuzione, 117 Minutes

django_kill_if_you_live_shootReview:

This film is pretty damned good, even though Django is missing and the main character looks nothing like him. It is one of a few of these unofficial sequels to feature a main character called The Stranger – played by the awesome Tomas Milian in this one.

The film is full of awesome spaghetti western ultraviolence and trippy editing. It is fast paced, out of control and amazing.

It is an insanely gritty film that captures the best elements of the spaghetti western genre. It probably would have benefited more in not taking the Django name and instead, stood on its own two feet. It is a cult classic in its own right but it could’ve eclipsed cult status if it hadn’t sold itself as a generic rehash of things we’ve already seen.

This film is beautiful in its execution of violence. It may be the most violent spaghetti western I have seen. It isn’t offensive however, it is an artistic symphony of bullets and testosterone.

I absolutely love this movie.

Django, Prepare a Coffin (1968):

Also known as: Preparati la bara!, lit. Prepare the Coffin! (Italy), Viva Django
Release Date: January 27th, 1968 (Italy)
Directed by: Ferdinando Baldi
Written by: Franco Rossetti, Ferdinando Baldi
Music by: Gianfranco Reverberi, Giampiero Rverberi
Cast: Terence Hill, Horst Frank, George Eastman, Pinuccio Ardia, Lee Burton, Jose Torres

B.R.C. Produzione S.r.l., Titanus Distribuzione, 92 Minutes

django_prepare_a_coffinReview:

This is also commonly called Viva Django! but there is also another film called that as well.

This 1968 unofficial sequel at least attempts to be a sequel. Terence Hill plays Django and he looks eerily similar to Franco Nero. He has the stunning eyes, the chiseled jawline, the stubble and the same costume and big gun. It is also a fantastic film all on its own. While it is an unofficial sequel, this could have been official and no one would have batted an eye. Hill is just perfect in this picture.

This film has some good plot twists and wonderful action. It also features the return of Django’s big gun from the coffin in one of the best spaghetti western action climaxes I have ever seen. It is on par with the final graveyard battle of the original Django with the ante upped to a ridiculous level.

The film also has an amazing theme song on par with the classic tune that was featured in the original film.

Like the film I discussed before this one, I absolutely love this movie.

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