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Distributor: Arrow Video

Release Date: April 25, 2017

Region: Region Free

Length: 01:31:56

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: 2.0 Italian Linear PCM Audio

Alternate Audio: 2.0 English Linear PCM Audio

Subtitles: English, English SDH

Ratio: 1.66:1

Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Notes: This package also includes a DVD copy of the film.

Title

There are probably those of us who hear the name Django and immediately picture Jamie Fox in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. What these individuals may not realize is that in 1966, a very different Django was released upon the world. Sergio Corbucci’s Django (which featured Franco Nero in the title role) told the story of an ex-soldier in the Union army who becomes involved in a war between a group of racist militants and a gang of Mexican bandits. The racist militants happen to be led by Major Jackson—the same man who killed Django’s wife sometime before the story begins. Django plays each group against the other in his bid for revenge against Jackson.

The film was an enormous success at the box office and as a result, the character appeared in many completely unrelated films during the late sixties and early seventies. One of the better films to cash in on the character’s popularity is Preparati la bara!—or Django, Prepare a Coffin. The film was directed by Ferdinando Baldi and stars Terence Hill as the titular character. One shouldn’t be confused by Hill’s resemblance to Franco Nero (or by the fact that Nero was originally offered the role). This film is best experienced as a stand-alone film as it completely ignores the backstory established in Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 film.

Django, Prepare a Coffin again finds Django out for revenge on the man responsible for the death of his wife, but the circumstances surrounding her death are completely different. In this film, Django is responsible for transporting gold between various depositories and he and his wife are carrying out these duties when they are ambushed on the orders of a crooked politician named David Barry. They are both left for dead, but Django survives to bury his wife—and eventually makes up his mind to bury the man responsible as well. Time passes and we learn that Django has been laying low while earning a living as a hangman—and this is when the film becomes really interesting… I hate spoilers. Don’t you? You should simply watch the film if the set-up sounds at all appealing. It’s a surprisingly fun ride.

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The Presentation:

4 of 5 Stars

Arrow Video houses both discs in a sturdy clear Blu-ray case with a reversible sleeve. One side features original cover artwork that is reasonably attractive but some fans will probably prefer to utilize the side showcasing the film’s original one-sheet design. There is also an illustrated collector’s booklet with an admiring essay entitled “The Dead Are in Their Graves” by Howard Hughes (author of Spaghetti Westerns). This text examines the film’s production and celebrates its virtues.

The disc’s animated menu utilizes footage from the film and is easy to navigate.

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Picture Quality:

4 of 5 Stars

Arrow utilizes a 2K restoration transfer taken from a 35mm interpositive print and the film has never looked better on home video.  It isn’t going to take anyone’s breath away, but none of the issues are likely to trouble most viewers. First of all, there is the occasional scratch or speck to be found and the print has felt the ravages of time—but none of this ever becomes distracting. There are also moments in the film that are surprisingly soft for a 2K transfer. However, it should be stressed that these are simply moments. Most of the film is reasonably detailed and there are times when shots when the clarity of the image truly impresses. There may be a few contrast issues as the image can bloom at times, but this might have been inherent in the source. There is a filmic layer of well-resolved grain that never becomes unwieldy, and digital anomalies such as banding, edge enhancement, DNR, and aliasing aren’t noticeably present. Colors seem to represent the film accurately (if other spaghetti westerns from the era are any indication)—with a lot of orange and earthy tones. If the picture leans a bit to the yellow side of the wheel, this seems consistent with other films from the genre. One can only speculate as to what the original print looked like.

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Sound Quality:

4 of 5 Stars

Arrow gives viewers an option between two very different 2.0 mono linear PCM audio tracks—one in the film’s original Italian and the other dubbed in English. It should go without saying that the English mix contains some slight synch issues, but we are not here to criticize what couldn’t have been avoided here. The original Italian track was digitized from the original soundtrack negative and showcases more energy than one expects from a mono mix due to the film’s robust sound effects—which are rather exaggerated and unnatural. This is an issue that is inherent in many of the low-budget Italian films of the era. As a matter of fact, any legitimate complaint that one might register would be inherent in the film’s source. The transfer is a faithful reflection of the source sound and this is all anyone has a right to expect.

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Special Features:

2 of 5 Stars

Django Explained: Interview with Kevin Grant – (08:32)

Kevin Grant (author of “Any Gun Can Play: The Essential Guide to Euro-Westerns”) lends his expertise about the genre to this interesting discussion about the duality inherent in the character of Django while examining the reasons behind his popularity. It is an extremely engaging—albeit brief—interview that isn’t quite long enough to provide any sort of comprehensive examination. However, fans will certainly be happy that Arrow has seen fit to include it here as it is certainly worth their time.

Theatrical Trailer – (03:04)

Blu-ray discs somehow seem incomplete when their trailer isn’t included, so it is nice to see this included here. The marketing team chose to emphasize the action in this trailer without giving any real clue as to what the film’s plot might be. It rounds out the disc quite nicely.

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Final Words:

Django, Prepare a Coffin is a great example of those low-budget “grindhouse” spaghetti westerns that were so popular years ago, and Arrow Video offers viewers a solid transfer of the film that enhances the viewer’s enjoyment of the film significantly.

Review by: Devon Powell

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