Hanging for Django (Raro Video)

Director - Sergio Garrone

Cast - William Berger, Anthony Steffen

Country of Origin - Italy

Discs - 1

Distributor - Raro Video

Reviewer - Mike Kenny

Date - 01/16/14

The Film

 

The name Django has become synonymous with the spaghetti western genre since the character’s debut in 1966. Since Franco Nero breathed life into the role, nearly 100 unofficial sequels have followed in its wake.  In 1969, Director Sergio Garrone (Three Crosses Not to Die, SS Experiment Love Camp), unveiled one of his Django pictures on the public with very questionable differences.  RaroVideo proudly presents in a new HD transfer, Hanging for Django.  With such a rich cult history surrounding the character, let’s saddle up and see how one of his many offshoots fares…

 

Hanging for Django centers on the immoral but highly profitable business of illegal immigrant smuggling.  As poor Mexicans are quietly ushered across the Texas border, the ruthless Mr. Fargo is profiting immensely on this immoral practice.  Protected by a siege of ruthless outlaws, Mr. Fargo is practically untouchable. Johnny Brandon and Everett “Preacherman” Murdock, two very different bounty hunters, plan to put a stop to these heinous acts for two very different reasons. 

 

Since Quentin Tarantino made Django a household name in 2012, it’s easy to forget the multitude of imitators from decades past. Director Sergio Garrone helmed three Django inspired films from 1969 to 1971. While the title sounds promising, Hanging for Django quickly shatters any dreams of viewers hoping to see a character named Django.  To be even more blunt, there’s not even a hanging to be found in this film.  Grindhouse marketing at its finest! The idea of incorporating two bounty hunters on the hunt for wrongdoers appears to have more in common with Tarantino’s Django Unchained than the original Corbucci classic.  Unfortunately, any further connections to those superior films stops there. Hanging for Django is a rather boring addition in a very exciting subgenre of cinema.  The film lacks any solid chemistry between its characters making the viewing experience a shallow one.  While, Steffen manages to invoke a quiet but deadly aura about his character, the film never scratches deeper than the surface with him. Shootouts and action scenes are supplied in healthy doses but the majority, fail to excite or drag on longer than required. 

 

Hanging for Django had all the ingredients needed to make a respectable spaghetti western, but it all falls astray.  The film has been deemed one of the lesser available installments to locate and for good reason.  Hanging for Django is not a horrible film, it’s just a very boring flick that fails to amount to much. By the finale, the 97-minute runtime is really stretching its limits and ultimately leaves the viewer burned. If you’re jonesing for a spaghetti western that bears the name Django, stick to the Corbucci classic or Tarantino’s unique 2012 spin.  Hanging for Django is a forgettable thread in the vast realm of spaghetti westerns that doesn’t inject anything worthy to the genre.

RATING: 2/5

 

VIDEO:

Hanging for Django is presented in a new HD 1080i transfer (2.35:1) from a 35mm negative print.  While, the promises of a restoration and a new HD transfer are touted, the results are less than satisfactory.  The film possesses a softness that never allows solid detail to emerge. Colors appear washed out with black levels leaving little to write home about.  DNR use plays a major role in the film’s underwhelming appearance. In addition, during certain pan movements of the camera, an odd strobe effect occurs which is off-putting. Luckily, the film does have a clean presence to it with no specks or flakes found within the transfer.  Unfortunately, the cons far outweigh the pros for this “digitally restored” disappointment.

RATING: 2/5

 

AUDIO:

Hanging for Django comes equipped with a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix that fares only slightly better than its video presentation.  Dialogue is heard clearly with no noticeable instances of hiss.  The mix could have benefited from more impact in shootout sequences but it still suffices.  The film is presented in Italian or English with optional English subtitles.

RATING: 3/5

 

EXTRAS:

 

- Two Bounty Killers for a Massacre: Manlio Gomarasca is interviewed as he discusses Garrone’s directorial career in this 14-minute featurette. Presented in Italian with optional English subtitles.

 

- Booklet: Included is a write-up on Garrone’s credits as well as a biography and filmography.

 

RATING: 2/5

 

OVERALL:

Hanging for Django was a spaghetti western that held much promise but disappointed in nearly every department.  A lack of chemistry between the core cast, overlong action scenes that lose their steam and a finale that tests your patience as it drags itself to the end credits. RaroVideo’s presentation is an unfortunate one to behold with a softness and DNR overkill that plague this release for the worst. Hanging for Django was a film that I had hoped more for but ultimately, delivered me nothing but bullets of boredom.

RATING: 2.5/5