Apologies again for those that have already seen my thoughts on this film elsewhere, but here goes…
"Whilst Viva Django is one of many Spaghetti Westerns to steal the “Django” moniker following the success of Corbucci’s classic, this particular outing is a rarity in that it both captures the mood and effect of the original and actually contains the same character.
The story presumably acts as a prequel to the Corbucci movie, with Django (on this occasion played by Terence Hill) hellbent on revenge following the murder of his wife at the hands of Lucas (George Eastman) and his gang. Django was sold-out by his former friend and politician David Barry (Horst Frank).
Years have passed and Django is acting as the local hangman, whose job is to execute ‘innocent’ locals who have been framed by Barry for the thefts carried out on his behalf by the Lucas gang. Both are unaware that Django is faking the executions, and recruiting the condemned for his act of revenge.
Few of these men can be trusted however, and whilst Django’s back is turned (during the rescue of the innocent wife of one of the group members from the hangman’s noose) a number sabotage Django’s plot and beat Lucas’ gang to a proposed ambush of a cash shipment. I shall ruin the plot no more…
This is perhaps Terence Hill’s greatest role (albeit in effect playing Franco Nero playing Django) as I personally often find his slapstick styling of later movies difficult to grasp. Here however he oozes class, clad all in black and convincingly playing the character second only to the Man With No Name for pure charisma. The rest of the cast is also a real treat - with both Eastman and Frank as brilliant as ever. Eastman’s characters alway manage to be quite likable regardless of their bad morals and actions, whilst Frank just oozes with evil. Two of the great great supporting actors of the genre.
Ferdinando Baldi’s direction also merits much credit, managing to both keep the feel of Corbucci’s original whilst also firmly stamping the movie with his own “comic book action” trademark. The final scene in the graveyard deserves particular mention - a real “fist in the air” moment of excitement, with some great dialogue also.
Gianfranco Reverbi provides a really recognisable score, and the title theme track “You’d Better Smile” will stick in the head for days. And quite rightly so! Whilst not all the Django films are worthy of much mention at all, this particular Django is one that should most definitely be viewed. Great entertainment".
Feel free to cast your own vote at the poll at http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/spaghettiwesterns/reviews/vivadjango.html