• Django! Double Feature: Django Kills Silently/Django's Cut Price Corpses



    Released by:
    Timeless Media Group/Shout! Factory
    Released on: December 11, 2012.

    Director: Massimo Pupillo/Luigi Batzella

    Cast: George Eastman, Luciano Rossi, Liana Orfei/
    Jeff Cameron, John Desmont, Esmeralda Barros
    Year: 1968/1971

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    The Movies:


    With Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained on its way to theaters soon, we’re seeing a resurgence in Spaghetti Western releases on DVD, particularly those with the name ‘Django’ in the title (of which there are many). Shout! Factory, through their recently acquired Timeless Media Group, has offered up two Django double features, here’s a look at the first (the second one, for those keeping score, includes A Man Called Django and Django And Sartana’s Showdown In The West).


    Django Kills Silently (1968):


    Massimo Pupillo’s film stars George Eastman in the title role in this film also known as Django Kills Softly – which is an odd title, because most of the time when Django kills people he does so with a pretty loud gun. At any rate, Django shows up at a homestead shortly after a bandit named El Santo's (Mimmo Maggio) cuts everyone down. Hot on their trail, he makes it to town and takes up in a hotel where El Santo and his crew show up with lecherous intent, hoping to get their rape on with Linda (Liana Orfei). Allan, the hotel owner, has promised to help Linda try to escape to Mexico but before you know it Allan is dead too.


    So what happened to Linda? A weird guy named Dr. Thompson (Luciano Rossi) has kidnapped her and taken her off to Santa Anna. Django gives chase and Thompon’s gang do what they can to get rid of him, even killing his pal, Sanders, who refused to pay El Santo for ‘protection.’ Understandably angered by all of this, Django teams up with a gunfighter named McGill and a mute man named Pedro to take down Thompson and El Santo before they can cause anyone any more harm.


    Written by Renato Polselli (better known for weird horror movies like Black Magic Rites), this one moves at a pretty good pace and if it’s a bit derivative of films that came before it, at least it’s entertaining. Eastman makes for a likeable enough antihero in the lead role and he plays the part with the right amount of tough guy charm to pull it off even if he occasionally looks way too big for his horse. He’s not Franco Nero and he’s not Clint Eastwood but he tries and frequently succeeds. Luciano Rossi and Mimmo Maggio make for pretty cool bad guys while Liana Orfei more or less shows up and looks good – she’s not given nearly as much to do here, but to her credit she does it with some style.


    Pupillo, directing under the alias of Max Hunter (!) keep things moving at a good pace and the camera work does a nice job of helping to build some atmosphere and tension – there’s lots of dramatic close ups, zooms and quirky camera angles. A solid score compliments the action nicely and if nobody is reinventing the wheel here, solid storytelling saves the day.


    Django's Cut Price Corpses (1971):


    Up next, Luigi Batzella’s 1971 picture starring Jeff Cameron in the title role. When the movie begins, Django is in Mexico on the hunt for the Cortez Brothers at the behest of a foxy redhead named Bonnie's (Dominique Badou) who claims the four men murdered her parents, owners of a profitable gold mine. When Bonnie herself winds up kidnapped, Django teams up with a man named Pickwick (John Desmont) who wants the Cortez brothers for reasons of his own. Throw in an officer of the law named Fulton (Gengher Gatti) who wants to bring in the Cortez’s for bank robbery and you’ve got yourself a posse.


    As the three men search for the bandits, Django falls in with a beautiful woman named Donna Dolores (Angela Portaluri), but her secret lover, Pedro (Gianfranco Clerici) has just killed an army man and is now wanted for the crime. The posse winds up tracking the Cortez brothers to a cave where things are about to end violently…


    Luigi Batzella, whose name will sound familiar to Italian horror films for his directorial credit on Nude For Satan, doesn’t invest much in this cheap Spaghetti Western. The story has some pretty big logic gaps in it and the cast don’t seem particularly concerned with giving much of an effort here. There’s a modicum of style and a decent score but the film falls victim to stretches of boredom where not a whole lot really happens. Cameron lacks any serious charisma even if he looks the part while the supporting cast phone in their work.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Django Kills Silently is presented in 1.66.1 anamorphic widescreen with Django's Cut Price Corpses presented in 1.81.1 anamorphic widescreen. Both transfers are of decent quality if a bit on the soft side. Colors generally look good even if reds sometimes bleed just a little bit and black levels are sometimes a dark grey. There are no obvious compression artifacts nor is there much in the way of edge enhancement or filtering to note. These aren’t super awesome high quality restorations but the movies look alright.


    Both films are presented in Dolby Digital Mono in English with no alternate language options or subtitles provided. Levels are well balanced and dialogue is easy enough to understand. Things tend to be a bit flat but for older mono mixes, there’s nothing to complain about here, the audio is perfectly satisfactory.


    Extras are slim, limited to trailers for both features, one sheet images for both features, static menus and chapter selection.


    The Final Word:


    One really good Spaghetti Western and one not so good Spaghetti Western both presented in decent shape and at a killer price? Yeah, you could do worse than this. Cut Price Corpses isn’t nearly as cool as the title implies but Django Kills Silently is well made and plenty entertaining and the disc is worth getting for that title, consider the second feature a bonus.

























    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Andrew Monroe's Avatar
      Andrew Monroe -
      Cool review. Isn't DJANGO KILLS SILENTLY/SOFTLY the one with a twitchy baddie gunman? Haven't watched it in a while. These look pretty good, better than I expected.