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Hanging for Django (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 13, 2013 by  



While “Hanging for Django” is not the best Spaghetti western film, it’s definitely one of the better looking ones to arrive on Blu-ray thanks to Raro Video.  Also, with the release of this enjoyable film, one can hope for more of Sergio Garrone’s films to be released on Blu-ray.  For fans of the Spaghetti western genre, “Hanging for Django” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © Rarovideo 2013. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Hanging for Django (Una lunga fila di croci)

FILM RELEASE: 1969

DURATION: 97 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:35:1, Italian and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Raro Video

RATED: Not Rated

Release Date: October 29, 2013

Directed by Sergio Garrone

Written by Sergio Garrone

Produced by Gabriele Crisanti

Executive Produced by Giuliano Simonetti

Music by Vasili Kojucharov, Elsio Mancuso

Cinematography by Franco Villa

Edited by Cesare Bianchini, Marcello Malvestito

Art Direction by Pietro Liberati

Set Decoration by Emilio Zago

Starring:

Anthony Steffen as Johnny Brandon

William Berger as Everett Murdock

Mario Brega as Brandon’s Partner

Riccardo Garrone as Mr. Fargo

Nicoletta Machiavelli as Maya

Mariangela Giordano as Jose’s Wife

Giancarlo Sisti as Buck Sullivan

Franco Ukmar as Cpt. Stofer

In this classic spaghetti western from Sergio Garrone (Django the Bastard, Three Crosses Not To Die) making its home video debut, an evangelical bounty hunter teams up with another to bring an outlaw gang that has been sneaking illegal immigrants over the border to sell as slaves to justice. In Italian with English Subtitles.

In the 1960’s, Spaghetti westerns made in Italy were a box office success internationally.

Primarily popular due to the films of Sergio Leone, many other filmmakers began making Spaghetti westerns and one character that would be featured in quite a number of films is Django.  The first which starred in the 1966 film “Django” by Sergio Corbucci.  And the character has long since appeared in films, most recently in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” film in 2012.

In 2013, Raro Video will be releasing the film “Hanging for Django” (Una Lunga Fila di Croci) in Oct. 2013 on Blu-ray. The film features a new transfer from a 35 mm negative and was digitally restored.

The film is directed by Sergio Garrone, probably better known today for his horror or Nazi exploitation films such as “SS Experiment Camp”, “The Hand That Feeds the Dead”, “Lover of the Monster”.

But from 1968-1971, Garrone had directed several Spaghetti westerns and films featuring the character of Django.

For “Hanging for Django” revolves around a bounty hunter named Johnny Brandon (portrayed by Anthony Steffen).  A man known for his quick use of a gun and so far, he has done well in capturing the wanted criminals.

But the same can be said for bounty hunter, Everett “Preacherman” Murdock (portrayed by William Berger).  A preacher who carries along a bible and a seven barrel shotgun and several pistols.

With news that wanted criminals are near the Texan border smuggling poor Mexicans for a crime boss, Mr. Fargo (portrayed by Riccardo Garrone). A person who takes their money and have them killed by pushing them over a cliff as they fall into a ravine.  And while, Mr. Fargo can have anything he want, he is unable to get the woman… Maya (portrayed by Nicoletta Machiavelli).  A strong-willed individual who is helpful towards the immigrants.

With news reaching to Johnny Brandon, he knows he may need some help, so he tries to entice Everett Murdock to join him in taking out the outlaws for a major split on the cash reward.

But both men are different.  As Johnny is in it to help the immigrants, Murdock is in it for the money.

What happens when both bounty hunters arrive in area and what kind of hospitality will Mr. Fargo give them?

VIDEO:

“Hanging for Django” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio).  While I was watching this film, the first thing that came into my mind was how clean it was and had to do a double-take on the case to make sure the film was a 1969 film because it looked like a film that was not made long ago.  The new HD transfer from a 35 mm negative print and the digital restoration has given this film amazing new life.  The details are amazing, especially the closeup of Anthony Steffen’s glance.

But I was quite pleased with the way the film looked on Blu-ray.  It looked clean and for a film that is over 40-years-old, it doesn’t have that look of an aged film.   I was impressed!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Hanging for Django” is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo.  I admit that I had to boost the volume quite a bit as some of the dialogue was not easy to hear at my usual normal setting on my receiver.  I actually had to experiment on settings to get audio that I was comfortable with and loud enough.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Hanging for Django” comes with the following special features:

  • Bounty Killer for a Massacre – (14:33) A documentary on the work of Sergio Garrone.

EXTRAS:

“Hanging for Django” comes with an 8-page booklet on Sergio Garrone and his biography.  Also, a slipcover case is included.

For fans of Spaghetti westerns, the release of “Hanging for Django” should make fans of the genre happy because the film is among the best looking transfers I have seen for a Spaghetti western on Blu-ray so far, next to the Sergio Leone Blu-ray releases.

As for Sergio Garrone’s film, I found it to be exciting and fascinating because of the use of two bounty hunters and its twist towards the end of the film.

One must remember that these films were made with a low-budget, acting was never a strongsuit for some of these Spaghetti westerns and while created in Italian and English, the films are usually post-dubbed.  So, those new to the genre that questions why the voices don’t match the mouth movements, should know.

But what I enjoyed about “Hanging for Django” is what one typically enjoys in a western.  A vile antagonist and a protagonist with quick shooting skills and gets the job done.  Anthony Steffen does a great job of playing the stoic Johnny Brandon and even his side glance from the corner of his eye is reminiscent of Clint Eastwood in the “Dollars Trilogy”.

But add in another bounty hunter with William Berger as Everett Murdock, who unlike the character of Johnny Brandon, is decked out in a preacher’s outfit, carries a bible and a seven barrel rifle.  Granted, I always was intrigued by this because I thought that Nock volley guns and tremendous kick and were hard to control, but of course, this is not a film about trying to achieve real accuracy but in the case of Murdock, his precision with the rifle was uncanny.

But the storyline of these two men are quite fascinating and throw in the unusual twist at the end and you got yourself one heck of an enjoyable western!

As for the Blu-ray release, the new transfer from the original 35 mm negative and the digital restoration made this film look recent rather than aged.  I was impressed.  While the lossless audio track was a bit low and hand to turn it up quite a bit, that was no problem for my receiver.  And you also get a 14-minute documentary titled “Bounty Killer for  a Massacre” on the career of Sergio Garrone.

While “Hanging for Django” is not the best Spaghetti western film, it’s definitely one of the better looking ones to arrive on Blu-ray thanks to Raro Video.  Also, with the release of this enjoyable film, one can hope for more of Sergio Garrone’s films to be released on Blu-ray.  For fans of the Spaghetti western genre, “Hanging for Django” is recommended!

 






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