Django Kill... If you Live Shoot (1967)


a.k.a. - Se sei vivo Spara (ITA)

Tomas Milian and Ray Lovelock star in Giulio Questi's twisted and bizarre Spaghetti Western. Blue Underground R0 USA release.

The Film

Before 1965 the Italian Westerns outside of Sergio Leone's iconic productions were hardly distinguishable from their American counterparts. 1966 saw the Spaghetti Western take on a distinctive new tone with the dark anti-heroic Django (1966) which intentionally subverted most genre conventions. Within a couple of years the Italian film makers realised that they could subvert anything they chose and inject some pure European surreality into the genre, in light of this came Django Kill...

After raiding a US Cavalry convoy, a group of American and Mexican bandits head into the desert but the Americans lead by Oaks turns the tables on the Mexicans and kills them all. That night one of the Mexicans, the stranger (Tomas Milian), rises from the grave with the help of two Indian guides. Meanwhile the bandits head for the nearest town - a village known only as the 'unhappy place' - realising who they are, the townspeople massacre the bandits and string them up but Oaks evades them. The stranger arrives in town as the townspeople start to fall out over the gold that they have taken from the bandits.

The storyline takes a relatively simple Western story (a man returning to seek revenge on people who betrayed him) but twists it into a moral tale on the danger of greed - almost everyone who dies in the film was either trying to get the gold, or killed by someone who wanted it - along with a heavy dose of surrealism. From the strange atmosphere in the town to Mr. Sorrow and his band of homosexual S&M cowboys, the storyline is very strange and distinctive, building to a simply weird ending which leaves a lot of questions unanswered, but given the film's overall atmosphere is quite fitting. Pacing is incredibly slow and there are few action scenes so the film does drag in places, there is however plenty of characterisation and effective interplay between the various townspeople.

Giulio Questi and editor/co-writer Franco Arcalli give the film a very distinctive style that matches the unusual storyline - a few flashback sequences have some almost-strobe editing with clips just three frames long - fortunately, this trick is only used a couple of times, any more and it could be nauseating. The soundtrack, from Ivan Vandor (who also composed for The Passenger (1975)), is a minor and downbeat twist on the standard Spaghetti Western tracks and fits the film very well.

Tomas Milian founded his career in the Spaghetti Western with The Bounty Killer (1966) his first leading role and Sergio Sollima's politically themed The Big Gundown (1966) and Face to Face (1967) bringing him to a world-wide audience - Milian is very effective here as the dark and mysterious stranger in a very different part to his often semi-comic parts. Future Euro-cult regular Ray Lovelock, just seventeen here, makes his cinematic debut and looks pretty good in a relatively limited role. A number of familiar faces crop up in the rest of the cast including Roberto Camardiel (Sette donne per i MacGregor (1967)) and Piero Lulli (Il mio nome Shangai Joe (1972)).

Certainly one of the most unusual Spaghetti Westernss Django Kill has some good acting, fitting direction and acheives a wonderfully menacing atmosphere throughout, however the storyline does drag in places. Recommended to experienced fans of the Spaghetti Western who enjoy its more unusual entries, but certainly not a good one for newcomers.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Tomas Milian - a Cuban born actor, he debuted in the Spaghetti Western in Bounty Killer (1966)
Ray Lovelock - the star of cult euro-zombie favourite Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (1974)
Directed by anyone interesting? Giulio Questi - a very little known Italian director who also helmed the similarly weird Giallo Death Laid an Egg (1968)
Any gore or violence ? Some shootouts and a couple of very bloody scenes.
Any sex or nudity? Some implied but nothing seen.
Who is it for? Recommended for any Spaghetti Western fans who have 'seen it all', not for newcomers.


The DVD
Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1. Anamorphically Enhanced. Colour.
The image is very good with only occasional print damage and some grain. Night scenes look crystal clear.
The additional scenes, previously cut from the film, are not of a lower quality.
Audio Italian and English language tracks - Dolby digital mono. Both tracks sound fine, English is slighty better.
Note: the English track is missing in a couple of brief scenes, which play with the Italian track instead.
Subtitles English - complete translation of the Italian soundtrack.
English - translation for the brief scenes that have no English audio.
Extras This disc includes:
  • Django, Tell! Interesting interviews with Milian, Lovelock and director Giulio Questi. Part subtitled. (20m 37s)
  • Original Trailer, rotoscoped Western scenes, includes no footage from the film at all. (1m 22s)
  • Slideshow of stills and promotional artwork. Manual scrolling - 38 images.
  • Talent Bios - Milian and Questi: onscreen text, quite detailed.
  • Easter Egg: Trailers for other Blue Underground Spaghetti Westerns DVDs. (10m 41s)
  • Easter Egg: Additional part interview with Milian and Lovelock, about setting up a rock band. (4m 37s)
Region Region 0 (ALL) - NTSC
Other regions? British DVD - some different bonus features but no Italian audio. Some European discs, no additional English friendly special features
Cuts? The film is believed to be fully uncut and includes two scenes cut from the film for US distribution. The film is from the English language print, so titles and credits are in English.

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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 8th July 2006.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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