Time to celebrate the home video release of my favorite film of 2012 – “Django Unchained”! I have been a huge fan of Tarantino from the day I interviewed him at the Cannes Film Festival in 1992, when he was a first-time Director promoting “Reservoir Dogs!”
Twenty years later, he releases what just might be his best movie ever!
Paris Goes “Django!”
“Django Unchained” was Quentin’s biggest hit, and nominated for a host of awards, including Best Picture of 2012. Months after its release, “Django Unchained” is STILL playing in Paris..I came across the theater on the Champs Elysee…the French LOVE Quentin!
“Django, Mike and Killer Joe!”
There were many brilliant films in 2012 – but in the end, “Django Unchained” overtook “Killer Joe” and “Magic Mike” as the best film of the year – but what a great year for movies!
If you haven’t seen it, here is my write up of runner up best pic “Killer Joe”:
And you can check out the third film on my list, “Magic Mike” here:
Back To “Django!”
“Django Unchained” is a brilliant take on spaghetti westerns, and Tarantino has never been better! Everything in the movie – from the acting, directing and music to the inventive use of the camera – screams spaghetti western – I mean, look at this classic “spaghetti western” version of the poster!
Bring “Django” Home!
While there hasn’t been a “special edition” or “Director’s Cut” announced yet, “Django Unchained” is out on blu-ray and DVD April 16.
Now that it’s out on home video, you can marvel at the brilliant film making, acting and dialogue – and be surprised by the intensity of the film’s approach to racism and slavery. The entire cast really stepped up to deliver a profane, funny, bloody – and important – look at the horror of slavery in our country…
And yes, on the picture above to the right is the “original” “Django”, Italian Actor Franco Nero, who played “Django” – albeit a much different character – in a series of spaghetti westerns in the 60’s! At this point in the movie, Jamie Foxx spells his name and says:
“The ‘D’ is silent”. To which Nero says softly, “I know.” What a great homage to this iconic Actor!
Of course, Hollywood has dealt with the issue of slavery before….but they were NOT contender’s for the best films of the year….no, they were of a different quality indeed:
The Worst, Most Vile Slavery Films Of The 70’s!
We’ll stick to my favorite decade for film – the 70’s, and start with this question: what’s the most offensive movie about race relations look like? Here’s a clue:
There is NO WAY to explain the offensive nature of this picture. Still, imagine all of that scene’s offensiveness now put onto a movie poster – with some added burning crosses – you know, to help sell it as ENTERTAINMENT!
What an offensive poster! And back to the previous picture, which shows a plantation owner using a slave as a foot rest – it just HAS to be a film that is racist, demeaning, offensive and just WRONG in every way! Welcome to the 70’s!
What in the DJANGO is going on here!?!?!?!
“Django Unchained” helped remind people about the real horror of slavery and racism – but in the 1970’s there were two movies that did the same thing – in the most offensive way possible!
Let’s start with this doozy! Here is the movie’s tagline:
“Welcome to scenic Atoka County. Pop 10,000. Cross burnings. Rape. Murder. Arson. Its a great place to live…… if THEY let you.”
Well, with that upbeat beginning, check out this provocative movie trailer!
Listen to this plot- just the description is sordid and offensive! A small southern town has just been rocked by a tragedy: a young woman has been violently raped.
The white town fathers immediately declare that the attacker had to be black, and place the blame on Garth, a young black man. Assuming that the men in white sheets aren’t intent on holding a fair and impartial trial, Garth takes to the woods as the Klansmen lynching party hunts him down.
Talk about an offensive movie, and a waste of great talent – this film was directed by Terence Young, who helmed the first three CLASSIC James Bond films: “Dr. NO”, “From Russia With Love” and “Goldfinger”!
“The Klansman” wasn’t a low budget exploitation film – no, this was a major Hollywood studio release, starring two big name Actors – Oscar winner Lee Marvin and Richard Burton!
Talk About Your Oscar Curse!
This film was just a few years after Lee Marvin won the Best Actor Oscar for “Cat Ballou”, and Burton had wowed critics for his powerful performance in “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolff?” They were popular stars who made the decision to take roles in THIS! Burton would NEVER get an Oscar – at one point holding the record for most times nominated without winning!
Now I know what you are thinking: a movie about the KKK, with big name stars, and gratuitous sex and violence – it just can’t get any worse, can it? Well, it can: “The Klansman” was the movie debut of OJ Simpson!
Needless to say, this film marked career lows for all involved! I wonder what the mood on the set was, considering that both Burton and Marvin were notorious drinkers!
Well, according to IMDB: Shortly after filming had ended, Richard Burton was hospitalized at an American clinic to be treated for his alcoholism. He later claimed doctors told him he would have died within a matter of weeks if he had continued drinking so heavily.
Well, it looks like Lee had the same idea! Drink up, boys! Still, “The Klansman” might not even be the most offensive film ever made – in fact, another film from the same time gave it a run for its money!
“Expect The Savage!”
Yes, there WAS a film called “Mandingo!” And it was released by a major studio – this movie has a title just as offensive as the plot!
James Mason’s Career Low!
Classy British Actor James Mason stars as slave owner Warren Maxwell – who insists that his son, Hammond, who is busy bedding the slaves he buys, marry a white woman and father him a son.
While in New Orleans, he picks up a wife, Blanche, a “bed wench,” Ellen, and a Mandingo slave, Mede, whom he trains to be a bare-knuckle fighting champion. Angered that Hammond is spending too much time with his slaves, Blanche beds down Mede. Well, how many taboos can you break in a single film?!?!?!
No, Champ, No!
That’s right, World Boxing Champ Ken Norton made his movie debut in “Mandingo!” – as a slave who was “well-regarded” by the whites…
Susan George, who had just starred in Sam Peckinpah’s provocative “Straw Dogs”, starred as the promiscuous young wife – who broke every taboo with her love of a hot young slave…
Folks, this was inflammatory stuff for the 70’s! So while “Django Unchained” showcased the horrors of slavery – this film used it as a cheap way to exploit everyone involved!
Can It Get Worse!
Well, look at some of this dialogue and decide for yourself!!
Hammond Maxwell: Cousin Charles, What the hell you doing, kissin on the mouth?
[Charles throws Katie to bed, removes his belt, and whips her with it]
Hammond Maxwell: What you doin that fer?
Charles: Makes a man feel good. She likes it too. Don’t you pretty wench?
Katie: [Crying] Yes, master.
Edwin W. Edwards (Governor of Louisiana at the time) was cast as a gambler and several scenes were filmed but excised before release. Upon the advice of public relations staff, Edwards decided the potential damage to his public image when the salacious content of the film was revealed would be too great. Um, DUH!!!!
What Did They Put In Hollywood’s Coffee In The 70’s???
In my opinion, these are two of the worst film ever made – crass, cheap attempts to capitalize on provocative topics. But you know, there was a lot of craziness in the films of the 70’s – and now there is a book that celebrates that wacky cinematic decade!
The Stewardess Is Flying The Plane!: American Films of the 1970s – published in 2005
Ron Hogan (Author), Peter Bogdanovich (Contributor)
Let’s get started with these words from actress Karen Black, courtesy of the classic film “Airport ’75!
“It’s Nancy Pryor… stewardess. Something hit us! All the flight crew is dead or badly injured! There’s no one left to fly the plane! Help us! Oh my God, help us!”
This book is a fantastic love letter to the movies of the 70’s…ALL OF THEM – yes, “Mandingo” is in here right alongside “The Godfather”. It was, as you know, the decade for classic movies such as “Star Wars”…
And it was ALSO the decade for classics such as “Caged Heat!”
Read All About It!
Here is what Publishers Weekly had to say about this great book: With films such as “The Godfather”, “Star Wars”, “The Sting”, “Rocky”, “Apocalypse Now”, “Jaws” and “M*A*S*H”, the 1970s is now considered the second Golden Age of Hollywood. There is renewed interest in some of the decade’s most durable genres, including disaster films and blaxsploitation flicks, allowing viewers to rediscover early performances from major stars such as Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton.
“The Stewardess is Flying the Plane!” is a lavishly illustrated, fun and informative look at more than 400 films of the decade – not just classics like The Godfather or Taxi Driver, but cult favorites like “Kansas City Bomber” and even spectacular flops like “Lost Horizon”.
With an introduction by Peter Bogdanovich, hundreds of never- before-published photographs and new interviews with key participants in the ’70s film industry, “The Stewardess is Flying the Plane!” is the most comprehensive overview of this fascinating era of American film.
It was a decade of films as varied as “A Clockwork Orange” above to “Cleopatra Jones” below:
This book puts the decade into perspective with categories like “Thrillers”, “Hard Crime” and “Horror”…and includes stories about some of the biggest debacles of the 70’s like this disaster starring Raquel Welch!
Yes, it was a decade of Raquel Welch in “Myra Breckinridge” – you know, where she wanted to get a sex change because she was only, after all, RAQUEL WELCH!
It was also the decade that had Diane Keaton “Looking For Mr. Goodbar” – with Richard Gere’s help…
It was a decade of some of the best – and worst – movies of all time – a decade of social upheaval, women’s liberation, blaxploitation and so much more – and yes, “Mandingo!”
Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Action Films, Awards, Blaxploitation!, Books / Media, Cannes Film Festival, Exploitation films, Film Noir, Golden Globes, Grindhouse, Movies, Obscure Movies, Politics, Revenge Movies, Sexploitation Movies, Steven Soderbergh, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Uncategorized
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