Django, Prepare a Coffin Blu-ray Review

A Classic Spaghetti Western

Django the drifter returns in this classic Spaghetti Western starring Terence Hill (They Call Me Trinity) as the wandering gunslinger. Sergio Corbucci’s original Django was a Spaghetti Western sensation in its day, starring Franco Nero in the eponymous role. It spawned dozens of imitators. Few of those imitators made their mark on cinema history but Django, Prepare A Coffin is a clear exception. Django, Prepare A Coffin lays as much claim as any movie to being Django’s spiritual sequel, featuring the same writer and cinematographer.

Released in 1968, it’s a wildly entertaining Spaghetti Western due to Terence Hill’s impressively charismatic turn as Django. Cast for his physical resemblance to Franco Nero, Hill makes Django his own character in such a convincing manner that it’s a pivotal moment of the spaghetti western canon. Nero was meant for the starring role once again but left for Hollywood, allowing Terence Hill to step in as a replacement. Little did anyone know Hill would become an icon with his performance.

Supposedly acting as a prequel to Django, Ferdinando Baldi’s movie hits many of the same notes that made Django so successful. There are coffins galore, Django is subjected to torture, and a machine gun once again plays a key role in the plot. A memorable Spaghetti Western score by Gianfranco Reverberi and classic cinematography frame this Django entry as b-movie heaven.

Django is a thinking hero always one step ahead of the villains

The film begins with Django coming to the aid of a rising politician, David Barry (Horst Frank). Django turns down the job offer of enforcer in the new administration under Barry. Rebuffed, Barry orders his men to hijack the gold Django is safeguarding for delivery. Led by the merciless Lucas (George Eastman), the gang will murder Django’s wife and leave the gunslinger for dead.

Five years later, Django is now working as a hangman for several towns. It’s all part of Django’s plan to interfere with David Barry’s villainous scheme to frame innocent men and send them to the gallows for hanging. Faking their deaths, Django will gather up these “phantoms” to stop David Barry and clear their names.

Terence Hill cuts an impressive figure in black as a sublime Django, possibly second only to the Man With No Name in Spaghetti Western history. He’s the perfect protagonist for Django, Prepare A Coffin. A man of few words and only when absolutely necessary, Django is a thinking hero always one step ahead of the villains. The only thing hampering this Django is hubris, when one of his allies gets a little too greedy.

You really can’t go wrong with Django, Prepare a Coffin if you enjoy Spaghetti Westerns.

Video

Django, Prepare a Coffin receives a fine 1.66:1 film transfer from unmolested but secondary film elements. Sharpness and clarity are fairly great for a 1968 Spaghetti Western made in Italy. Some have questioned the yellow push of this transfer’s color-timing, though its contrast and color saturation are excellent for the era. Arrow Video encodes the 91-minute main feature in flawless AVC at very high bitrates on a BD-50.

Arrow Video included this note in the booklet:

Django, Prepare a Coffin was transferred at L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna, Italy. The film was transferred at 2K resolution with Arriscan from a 35mm interpositive. The film was digitally restored in high definition and then digitally color corrected with Film Master by Nucoda.

The film scan itself shows mild filtering in the higher frequencies, because it’s unlikely an interpositive could be this pristine without some digital massaging. The elements have absolutely no visible wear. Generally the 1080P video has a film-like sheen with tight colors. Fine-object detail could be better, especially in close-ups.

Fans should enjoy this solid catalog presentation with its decent definition and clean clarity. One wonders if the original negative could be found for a newer transfer.

Audio

The English and Italian mono dubs both come in excellent 1.0 PCM soundtracks. The rich, memorable spaghetti western score is heard in fine dynamic range with crisp highs and solid bass. Dialogue is slightly out of sync in a few scenes but that largely comes with the territory for this genre.

Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian audio and English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on the English audio are included. The optional subtitles play in a white font.

Extras

This is one of the lighter Arrow Video releases in terms of supplemental features. The Blu-ray and DVD combo comes with a 14-page illustrated collector’s booklet by Spaghetti Western expert Howard Hughes.

Django Explained (08:33 in HD) – An interview with Spaghetti Western expert and author Kevin Grant with clips from the film. He breaks down the general background and creation of Django in this light featurette.

Original Theatrical Trailer (03:05 in HD)

The unaltered images below are taken directly from the Blu-ray. For additional 10 Django screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 6,000+ already in our library), exclusive UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.