This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double bill consisting of two very different kinds of westerns. In this case, it would be the spaghetti western and an anthology horror western.
I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to Italian director Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 iconic spaghetti western Django. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 1, 1993 (read here). As usual, Cox gives another eloquent introduction. Not unlike his intro to Corbucci’s The Great Silence (shown on Moviedrome back in 1990), it is fascinating to hear everything about how this spaghetti western was made to it’s release history. I too agree that Django tops all of the other Yojimbo imitations, which include fellow Italian director Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars from two years earlier in 1964. Though Cox does not outright say it, I too would rank Corbucci higher than Leone in the pantheon of the great directors of spaghetti westerns. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Sergio Corbucci films (read here).
Here is a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s intro to Django
Here is a youtube video link to what may be the US trailer for the film
Here is a youtube video link to what may be the film’s Italian trailer
Here is a youtube video link of British film critic Mark Kermode talking about it as one of his BFI player choices of the week
Here is a Spaghetti Western Database (SWDb) link to Alex Cox’s 20 favorite ones in the sub-genre (NOTE: I have seen most, but not all of these titles)
Here is an Amazon link to learn more about Alex Cox’s take on the spaghetti western in his 2009 book 10,000 Ways to Die: A Director’s Take on the Spaghetti Western
Grim Prairie Tales (1990)
Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing director Wayne Coe’s 1990 independent cult horror western Grim Prairie Tales, readers will have to rely on Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 1, 1993 (read here). Once again, I nod in agreement with Cox. While far from a great or very good anthology horror film, it is nevertheless a good one overall. As Cox so eloquently implies though, it is Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography and the presence of it’s two lead actors (James Earl Jones and Brad Dourif) that really stand out. Aside from VHS, Grim Prairie Tales has (to the best of my knowledge) never been given a Blu-Ray/DVD release (or at least here in the US), nevertheless, I did watch it on youtube awhile back (click here).
Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer
21 thoughts on “Moviedrome Mondays: Django (1966) and Grim Prairie Tales (1990)”
Django is a fantastic film, a classic and it’s one of the best films shown on Alex Cox’s run of Moviedrome. Alex’s intro is perfect too.
I haven’t seen Grim Praire Tales. I might watch it on youtube at some point.
I have seen and enjoyed both of these films. I was lucky enough to catch Django on the big screen at The Cornerhouse Cinema in Manchester, not long after the ban on the film was lifted. It is a bleak and brutal film, and I give credit to Corbucci for not cutting away from the ear cutting sequence, unlike Tarantino in Reservoir Dogs.
Grim Prairie Tales is a gem, the sort of film I used to watch late at night with a few beers. You wouldn’t think two guys sitting around a camp fire talking could be so entertaining, but Brad Dourif and James Earl Jones are two of the best. I do like Cox’s observation that James looks like a refugee from The Big Silence. A nice nod to Corbucci!
I never got into Spaghetti westerns at all. Everyone was raving about them at the time, but they left me cold. I preferred to go to the NFT in London and watch European films that had subtitles and more original stories. I went with a friend to see ‘Django’. He loved it, I didn’t.
I have never seen ‘Grim Prarie Tales’, though that does sound more interesting.
Best wishes, Pete.
I totally agree with you Steve regarding Django and Alex Cox’s introduction to it 🙂 Btw, I finally saw Je t’aime moi non plus and I loved it 🙂 Truly poetic 🙂
Speaking of which, I know you mentioned weeks ago that Joe Dallesandro guest starred once on Miami Vice and I know we talked a bit about music last week. I know you know that Phil Collins sang the theme to the show (In the Air Tonight) and it had me wondering, have you ever seen the music video that the band Genesis (which he was a part of) did of this song called “Land of Confusion”? I ask because I personally believe that it is one of the most awesome music videos ever 🙂 If you have not, here is a youtube video link to it below 🙂
Interesting story Paul S 🙂 It must have been awesome to see one of (If not) the greatest spaghetti western ever made on a big screen 🙂 I too give credit to Sergio Corbucci for showing the whole ear cutting scene as opposed to implying it because it showed that he was not kidding around when it came to getting truly gritty.
I also agree with you Grim Prairie Tales – the whole film played out like what you get If you blended an acid western with a horror film. You are also right about Brad Dourif and James Earl Jones and I too loved Cox’s nod to The Great Silence/The Big Silence 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂
Well that’s okay Pete 🙂 The memories of watching European films at the NFT in London must be a joy to remember 🙂 I too love European cinema as well 🙂 But then again, I love all kinds of cinema 🙂
Grim Prairie Tales is at the very least, worth a look. Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂
Another excellent Corbucci western is Sonny and Jed (1972) starring Tomas Milian, Susan George and Telly Savalas. I recommend that. It’s on youtube. I also saw Corbucci’s western Companeros which I also thought was excellent. It has Franco Nero, Tomas Milian and Jack Palance which is a brilliant cast and it’s a very well done film. Django is iconic though and I think it’s Corbucci’s best although The Great Silence is a great film too.
I’m really pleased that you liked Je T’aime Moi Non Plus. It’s one of my favourite films. It’s such a beautiful film with so many beautiful scenes. I especially love the scene where Joe and Jane are floating on the tube on the lake. It’s a gorgeous combination of music and imagery. So many scenes in the film are. Did you have any favourite scenes yourself?
The music video of Land of Confusion is truly great.Brilliant stuff. I think another great music video is Billy Idol’s Dancing With Myself which was directed by Tobe Hooper.
Joe was actually in two Miami Vice episodes. The first was One Eyed Jacks in season one. He played a different character to the character he played in the season three episode. Miami Vice did that a lot where they’d have the same actors playing different characters. The show did have an amazing number of guest stars though. Many were future stars early in their careers before they became famous such as Bruce Willis.
I saw you mention Miami Vice in your reply to Steve, like a lot of aspiring actors Brad Dourif made a guest appearance there. Frank Zappa who you featured here last week also popped up too… amongst many others.
Django is, of course, a Spaghetti Western Classic. BUT I’ve never been able to catch this on TV. TCM periodically shows it according to their site.
Thanks for recommending Sonny and Jed, I will check that one out 🙂 I know it was one of Sergio Corbucci’s post-Companeroes westerns and they never really tend to get as much attention, but your praise of it, is prompting me to watch it on youtube as soon as I can 🙂 I too have seen Companeroes and I love that one as well 🙂 As for the ranking of Sergio Corbucci films go, I would place The Great Silence at number one, but Django would be number two, but I love them equally 🙂
Je T’aime Moi Non Plus is a masterpiece as you say 🙂 As for some of my favorite scenes, I would go with not only the lake scene (your choice), but also when Joe Dallesandro first enters the diner that Jane Birkin’s character works in. I do not know what it is, but like the rest of the film, there is something both poetic and existential about it 🙂
An interesting bit of trivia regarding the Genesis music video of Land of Confusion – the puppets were supplied by the crew of the popular British satirical puppet TV series Spitting Image 🙂 Of course, you probably knew that already 🙂 Tobe Hooper directed some great horror films in his career and I am always interested in his work, so I will check out that Billy Idol music video Dancing With Myself as well 🙂
You are right – Joe Dallesandro was in another episode of Miami Vice playing another character – in this case, it was as a gangster in Down for the Count (Part II) in season 3 🙂 Bruce Willis was indeed on Miami Vice – in fact, he was also co-starring in the television series Moonlighting during that same time 🙂
Hopefully it will be on again 🙂 If you can’t catch it that way, it may be available to watch somewhere online 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂
“I saw you mention Miami Vice in your reply to Steve, like a lot of aspiring actors Brad Dourif made a guest appearance there. Frank Zappa who you featured here last week also popped up too… amongst many others.”
To Paul S: Frank Zappa appeared in the season 2 episode entitled Payback 🙂
I totally agree with you that Je T’aime Moi Non Plus is a masterpiece. It truly is. Francois Truffaut was right. It is a work of art and a fantastic film. Joe is interviewed on the Kino Lorber release. It’s a good interview but a bit short.
Tomas Milian was also in Miami Vice in the episode Bought and Paid For in season two.
I haven’t seen either film, but Django is on my list.
Django sounds like a good one. Of course when I first saw the title, I thought of Tarantino. Since he’s “inspired” by so many things, NOW I know where he got the ear cutting scene from!
Please do check out Django – As much as I love the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, for my money, I rank Sergio Corbucci higher. In addition, Corbucci’s use of graphic violence would make Leone blush. Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂
Aside from Django, also check out The Great Silence also directed by Sergio Corbucci. As much as I love the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, I personally rank Sergio Corbucci higher. In addition, his use of graphic violence would make Leone blush. Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂
Correct you are Steve 🙂
Will do. I’m not a big fan of gratuitous violence, but I like some directors that favor it.