Blu-ray Review: DJANGO THE BASTARD

DJANGO THE BASTARD (aka The Strangers Gundown) was directed by Sergio Garrone from a screenplay he co-wrote with Anthony Steffen and stars Anthony Steffen, Rada Rassimov, Paolo Gozlino and Luciano Rossi. The music is composed by Elsio Mancuso and Vasili Kojucharov.

Anthony Steffen stars as the mysterious stranger named Django, a ghost-like figure who walks into a dusty western town with vengeance on his mind. As he finds the men he’s looking for, he places a cross with the person’s name and death date in the middle of the street before enacting violent revenge! Is Django truly an unstoppable human army-of-one, or an avenging immortal angel of death?

The haunting story for this 1969 Italian spaghetti western centers around Django (Anthony Steffen), a mysterious gunslinger who arrives in town and starts killing off certain men. But why? The warning sign that you’re next is if he makes a cross with your name and date on it and delivers it to you in person. Django quickly becomes a legend in the small town because nobody knows if he’s supernatural or simply a man who is hellbent on revenge. One thing they do know is that he has a really good aim and he can’t be stopped.

One by one, Django makes his way to Major Rod Mmurdock (Paolo Gozlino) and his extremely unstable brother Jack (Lu Kamante) but the mysterious stranger discovers that taking these two sinister figures out is going to be a difficult task. We also find out through a flashback scene that these three men have a past together. Django ends up getting a little help from Alida (Rada Rassimov), the opportunistic wife of the psychological menace Jack. What happens is, Jack is the one who finds out first hand that Django is a man after all after he wounds him during a surprise attack. The thing is, this slows down but doesn’t stop Django from completing his mission. In the end, Django is able to exact vengeance on Rod and Jack who were a part of the massacre and betrayal that left him for dead years earlier.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc also features some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate.Django the Bastard has been remastered in high-definition widescreen from a beautiful original 35mm negative element. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio for this Blu-ray release.

Bottom line is, Django the Bastard ended up being a fun revenge thriller that’s one part spaghetti western, one part gothic horror, and all parts entertaining. The character driven story about this mysterious man who’s driven by vengeance after he’s left for dead was interesting even though we’ve gotten a lot of plots simliar to this over the years. It’s still interesting though! One thing about these Italian movies is that they go all out when they create their own style of American cinema (horror, scifi and even westerns) and I enjoyed this haunting tale even though it has some cheese to it. One thing about it, Django the Bastard features striking similarities to Clint Eastwood’s classic western High Plains Drifter that was released four years later. This is also where the cheese comes in. The Italians are also extremely good and ripping off other properties. Job well done! The movie is a fast-paced rollercoaster ride with bullets flying everywhere. Oh yeah, Django is a great aim! This version of Django the Bastard is the alternate English language U.S. version titled The Strangers Gundown. Django the Bastard will be available on Blu-ray on August 13th.

Distributor: Synapse Films

Run Rime: 99 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.40:1) / Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The Blu-ray extras include some Audio Commentary from Film Historian and Author Troy Howarth.

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