Cox’s Orange Pippins: A Fistful of Djangos

DJANGO & DJANGO is a documentary about Sergio Corbucci by Luca Rea. You can see it on Netflix.

It’s not bad. It chooses to examine only Corbucci’s westerns, which is wrong — at least giving the viewer more of an inkling that he made other kinds of films, some of them successful, would have been good. But it has a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage and decent amount of archive interviews with SC. The clips from the westerns are well selected.

The three main talking heads are Franco Nero, who is affable but doesn’t have a huge amount to tell us, Ruggero Deodato, former AD to Corbucci, who is invaluable in giving us first hand accounts of the man’s character and strong insights into his films, and Quentin Tarantino, who gets the lion’s share of the screen time. The movie begins with Corbucci’s role as an offscreen character in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (and his expanded role in QT’s novelisation) and ends with his influence on DJANGO UNCHAINED. So it’s very much a film about Tarantino too.

QT is enthusiastic as ever — on his new podcast, The Video Archives, this enthusiasm reaches exuberant heights as he’s joined by old pal Roger Avary, and the fanboying becomes quite tolerable, even adorable, as it’s a way for these two eternal adolescents to express their affection for one another. Hearing Tarantino hold forth alone — with the “awright?” tic adding to the hectoring effect — can be wearing.

As autodidact, Tarantino’s tendency to mispronounce names and words should be forgiven, though there’s a CREW, somebody could tell him it’s not “Doosio” Tessari, or “Caliglia” — though stepping in the path of QT’s gush could be perilous. The weirdest one is “tenter tantrums” or possibly “tenner tantrums,” which is spoken so many times there can be little doubt that Tarantino really believes that’s the expression. He’s known to be a very bad speller — I think that’s the secret behind INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS’ title — possibly dyslexic, so having seen the phrase written down wouldn’t necessarily disabuse him of his misconception.

But we do get evidence of a critical mind. It’s not just sadism and fannish worship. While Alex Cox sees SONNY AND JED as horrible and problematic, symptomatic of Corbucci’s increasing misogyny, Tarantino performs a mental flip on it, recasting the protags as the bad guys — Charlie Manson and Squeaky Fromme — and Telly Savalas’ relentless, maimed hunter as another of Corbucci’s martyred heroes. That seems workable. Of course both interpretations are very much in character, with Cox being concerned about sexism and Tarantino welcoming in the darkness. So there are insights, if you can take it.

13 Responses to “Cox’s Orange Pippins: A Fistful of Djangos”

  1. Tony Williams Says:

    No, I will not “take it”. “Eternal adolescent”, “fanboying”, “gush”, and hogging the limelight says it all. Also, the appalling tendency not to example the director’s other work in peplum and allied genres. Does QT treat SC’s comments on hippies in THE SPECIALIST which again show that his remarks on SONNY AND JED reflect his derivative unoriginality. It is a shame that any book or DVD release needs his promotional seal of approval since there are so many other good and reliable people around like archivist Tom Betts, Roberto Curti, and the Webmaster of THE SPAGHETTI WESTERN DATABASE along with many others who are far more reliable

  2. Tarantino and Cox both seem to be aware of Corbucci’s dislike of hippies, but only QT makes the leap towards seeing Sonny & Jed in this light.

    Yes, it’s disappointing that the film is so built around Tarantino’s presence. Understandable that the filmmaker would see him as a prize, but there are other collaborators as well as critics he could have sought out.

  3. Tony Williams Says:

    Exactly. It is so sad these directors have to include such celebrities who lack expertise except in the realm of verbal diarrhea!

  4. But from his other choices, I think director Rea may not know more than Tarantino. If he did, he’d surely try to find a way to incorporate that into his film. It feels like he believes Tarantino is not only the way for him to reach an audience, but also the world’s greatest movie expert.

  5. Tony Williams Says:

    Yes, “the blind leading the blind.” I remember the erudition displayed by The Master when he appeared on a US Talk Show promoting KILL BILL 2 and stated he visited the studios in China where 60s/70s martial arts films were shot during the Cultural Revolution!

  6. I still say you guys are caught in irrelevant polemics, shaking your impotent fist at a genius, who exhibits the same politics you adore in Scorsese’s work. But… Carry on if it makes you feel powerful.

  7. Tony Williams Says:

    “A drum! A drum! The Chiseler doth come!” Or as the actress said to the bishop, “I thought that would get a rise out of you.” Thankfully not all of us are seduced by a hack and plagiarist who has not sense of either creativity or originality, so “Carry on, Chiseler.”

  8. Daniel Riccuito Says:

    You need new material.

  9. Daniel Riccuito Says:

    Oh, Cairns! We’re climbing the Google rankings since we became a “.org”!

  10. I don’t particularly adore Scorsese’s politics, nor do I exactly know what they are. Vaguely liberal with both progressive and conservative tendencies, at a guess. I think he at least cares about that stuff, I haven’t seen much evidence that QT is engaged.

  11. Daniel Riccuito Says:

    Liar! Pants on fire! I recently put Nick Tosche’s suit in a spirit photograph.

  12. Daniel Riccuito Says:

    Gotta chisel. Yeah, dewd, it like totally DOTH come.

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