8 August 2008 | Bunuel1976
SON OF DJANGO (Osvaldo Civirani, 1967) *1/2
I know there were scores of films revolving around the character of Django (though, to be fair, many of these were considered as such merely in export versions), introduced in Sergio Corbucci's masterful Spaghetti Western with Franco Nero (and to which an official sequel was only made some 20 years later!). As far as I know, I'd previously come upon just one such effort DJANGO SHOOTS FIRST (1966), which was okay and two more DJANGO, KILL...IF YOU LIVE, SHOOT! (1967) and DEATH SENTENCE (1968), both excellent if unusual which are known as "Django" titles merely outside their native country.
This, then, is the third 'official' Django film I've watched: unfortunately, it turned out to be one of the least rewarding Spaghetti Westerns out there! As can be surmised, the narrative opens with the cowardly Jesse James-like assassination of the popular character, which leaves his kid son (who witnessed it) to avenge him as a grown-up now played by Gabriele Tinti (later spouse of Laura "Black Emanuelle" Gemser, an extensive collection of whose dubious work I should be laying my hands on in the near future!). Typically, the Western town involved is divided between two warring factions; conveniently, both had been former associates of Django
as is the current preacher (top-billed Guy Madison it was customary to engage the services of erstwhile American stars for this particular brand of "Euro" oater)!
The film features a reasonable amount of action throughout, but the execution is exceedingly inept (for instance, a number of shoot-outs occur during the first 10 minutes as if the director mistrusted the attention span of possible viewers but, given that we don't know who is getting shot by whom or why, it's all very confusing!). What, then, of his apparent need to have each and every bad guy make such a big moment of his death scene, irrespective of whether he had figured to some extent in the proceedings or not?! Also involved are a French card-sharp (with whom Tinti had shared a prison cell) and his gunfighter companion who subsequently join the ranks of one of the rival outfits, while the brooding Django Jr. prefers to keep to himself. Female presences of any consequence are limited to a saloon hostess and the wife of a landowner whom one of the clan leaders kills in a duel (she herself unwittingly falls victim to the same man soon after when confronted by her in his room).
For what it's worth, the film's climax strives to be meaningful but only manages to be muddled thus deeply unsatisfactory! Characteristically, then, Piero Umiliani's score also emerges as a sub-par effort overall (despite a catchy main theme).