DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN.

Released on Kronos records 2014 (september).

K53

In 1966 director Sergio Corbucci brought to the screen the character of Django, his movie which is now considered an iconic film from the spaghetti western genre set the scene and also laid down a blueprint of sorts for many other westerns that were to be produced by Italian filmmakers within the quirky, violent and above all entertaining genre of the western All’Italiana. In fact many films that were produced within the genre were re-titled in Germany to incorporate the name of Django because the character and the original movie proved to be so popular. Plus it also spawned a number of sequels which had very little in common with the Corbucci movie apart from the name of Django. In 1987, director Nello Rossatti under the alias of Ted Archer resurrected the central character for his film DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN, and also managed to persuade Franco Nero reprise his role as the central character. However DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN is something of an oddity within the genre of the spaghetti western, and in fact I for one am not sure if it at all belongs within this category. It is a very different Django that we meet in this movie. After all the original character was something of an anti hero and never really took sides but instead watched his own back and protected certain individuals that assisted him. This Django is more of a gun ho hero who pits himself against the forces of evil and fights for the downtrodden and enslaved. Although there are a number of flaws within the movie and it does not really start where the original finished it is still a fairly entertaining and fast paced film that has its fair share of gunfights and pitch battles at some points, if I told you that Django manages to dispatch 78 adversaries in the film you will probably get the idea. Set in Mexico but actually filmed on location in Columbia the story takes place some twenty years after the original and begins with a gunfight scenario between two ageing gunman, who after facing each other in the time honoured Spaghetti western fashion find that they are not as sure of hand or sight as they used to be and end up shooting a weather vein to pieces before retiring to the saloon to talk over old times, the name of Django comes up in the conversation but their reminiscing is soon cut short when they are blown to bits by naval guns that are on the vessel named The Mariposa Negra, which is under the command of a Hungarian aristocrat Orlowsky (Christopher Connely) who has been dubbed EL DIABLO-THE DEVIL by locals. Orlowsky and his troops were originally in Mexico to assist the Emperor Maximillian but after a disagreement with the Mexican government have taken to being slavers and terrorising the peasants and them forcing them to work in silver mine.

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Django has given up the ways of violence and has entered a monastery in San Domingo, calling himself Brother Ignatius and is intent on becoming a Monk. One day a woman visits the monastery and tells Django that she is dying, she wants him to take care of her daughter he initially refuses her request but she then tells him that she is also his daughter. He travels to the village where his daughter lives but finds that it has been attacked by The Devil and his men, many of the occupant’s dead others taken prisoner and held on Orlowsky’s ship. Django goes to the ship and asks Orlowsky to give him his daughter but his request is denied and Django is thrown in irons tortured and set to work in the mine. It is here that Django meets Gunn (Donald Pleasence) and with his new found allies help Django makes his escape retrieves his machine gun and returns to unleash his vengeance upon The Devil and his cohorts. DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN although entertaining in places contains a fairly complicated and implausible plot but maybe that is what the attraction is for many admirers of the movie.

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The musical score for this spaghetti sagebrush saga is by Gianfranco Plenzio, this Italian born Maestro was particularly active within film scoring during the 1960,s through to the early 1990,s and has also continued to compose music for both film and television during the 21st century. He wrote numerous scores for westerns, sex-ploitation movies, comedies and cop thrillers as well as conducting and orchestrating many soundtracks for composers such as Guido and Maurizio De Angelis, Armando Trovajoli, Franco Micalizzi and Carlo Rustichelli, he also performed piano on a number of film scores. His music for DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN is in many ways typical of an Italian western score, but there are certain features within the soundtrack that are associated with the 1980,s that do deviate a little from the sound that we normally associate with the genre, synthesised drums for example are present throughout and Plenzio also makes effective use of various other electronic sounds to create a score that is original and interesting. The composer employs a strong trumpet theme for the gunfight scene that takes place at the beginning of the movie that is reminiscent of the style of composers such as Morricone, Micalizzi and Francesco De Masi. Plenzio also effectively employs a wordless female soprano voice on a number of cues again evoking the style of Morricone when he turned to Edda dell Orso on so many of his western scores. The music for DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN has a strong South American influence with pan pipes at times being introduced into the proceedings adding some ethnic authenticity plus Plenzio from time to time includes an ominous sounding tolling church bell that punctuates and augments the events.

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The composer wrote a multi-themed score for the movie and opens the compact disc with the Mexican flavoured DURANGO which is a vibrant and infectious central motif that is performed by brass and strings that are driven along by trotting percussion and strumming guitars. The score has never been issued on Compact disc before and this release includes numerous cues that have never been released on any format. A truly entertaining work that will be at home in any soundtrack collection.

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