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Django Unchained Is Navajo Joe; Just Like Inglourious…

Earlier I did a compare and contrast between Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” and one of his favorite Spaghetti Westerns ever,  “Navajo Joe.”

Title: ‘Inglourious Basterds’ Was ‘Navajo Joe??’

Well here I’ll do the same, essentially some raw notes after seeing ‘Django’ (the d is silent) twice and then sitting myself down and watching Navajo Joe again.

Navajo Joe callbacks to/from Django Unchained

by Marc Frucht

7:47 Tips over a horse with rider falling to the ground.

of course scalping, letter R on cheek for runaway slave

10:18  Wanted posters. Bounties. Scalps. Corpses

13:11   “no sale.”  Arresting you for murder.

15:10   “you won’t have to run around chasing stinking indians just for a few dollars…”

17:21 the music is very very similar, thank you Ennio Morricone

A lot more hand to hand combat in Navajo Joe than Django, but shooting and shooting into dynomite is similar.

21:35  Posse horseriding up over the crest of the hill has the same feel as the klan riders before they start their argument.

24:06  shoot em ups are much looser in Navajo Joe than anything Tarantino does. Everything seems more calculated and direct in Django Unchained

26:17  rosepetals in the wind. Note the blood spatterings on the cotton in the fields early in Django

Burt Reynolds is a one man vengeance machine killing everyone on his way to doing his nemesis Duncan in; whereas Django is helping a bounty hunter go after a new person each scene.  Although there is the focus on freeing Broomhilda for the entire back 2/3’s of Unchained.

29:30 whistling for the horse to follow a command. Kind of parallel to the victory dance at the end when all of Candyland was destroyed.

31:00 Estella interrupting something important. I’ve forgotten where there were interruptions of conversations throughout Django but I’m pretty sure there are some parallels there too. The womens’ characters are better developed in Navajo Joe than in Django I think. Tarantino kind of makes everyone besides Uma Thurman kind of “flat.”

34:55 I don’t think Navajo Joe has said a word yet, just killed and killed.

35:19 “I brought you a train.” He speaks simple words, but never in an accent making fun of NDNs perhaps because Burt Reynolds is part Cherokee and fought against that.

38:26 “plus the reward that’s posted for Duncan” there’s the bounty hunter.

44:57  “and one more thing. I’ll need some dynomite.”

49:50 “and his father before him, and his father before him… now which one’s American…”

55:07 No tricks Duncan. Don’t worry you’ll get your half. Safes. Remember the tooth at the top of the Dentist wagon?

56:12  Chester, the NDN has it all. He tricked you.

Dynomite thrown.

Empty rolls to look like sleeping people under the dental wagon?

57:16   Hostage. “I’m gonna kill this woman.” ‘Hilda? “she’s an NDN just like you

58:01 torturing Joe… parallel to the castration scene maybe. (close to the end of Django so I don’t want to give away too much there)

59:10 Spurrs on boots. again at 59:30 on Navajo Joe’s neck. I think in Django they were 5 pointed stars or something, and looked more for show than poking horses’ bodies.

59:47  horsewhip and something resembling eaglebone whistle sounds. very high pitched, maybe piccolo.

1:00:47  String him up by his feet.

1:05:22 gets out of the “string.” I don’t remember how Django gets out of his mask and shackles.

1:14:09 “my revenge” — Duncan.

1L17:05   “navajo joe” on the horse. foiled. it’s Jeffrey symbol carved in his forehead with a longknife.

1:18:10  Dynamite in the saddlebags.

1:25:29 “you won’t escape now, redskin”   — reminds me of “I count 6 shots, nigguh; I count two guns nigguh…”

1:27:32  “I know you’re a bounty killer, you want to have my bounty.”

this belonged to my woman. do you remember her?

OK, the tomahawk flying through the air into someone’s head has a similar feel to someone flying from one room to the next being shot. I’m avoiding two spoilers there, or I’d say more.

The horse delivering the town their money all by his/her self. Humanizing horses shows up in lots of westerns, not least of which is Django.

I’ll end this essay with a question that’s not rhetorical. I’d love an answer some day. Is Quentin Tarantino a guitarist? I know his stepdad played guitar and piano. But it doesn’t say he plays anywhere. But not only does he have writer credits in many of the songs to the Django soundtrack but I’m noticing that the whole soundtrack is very very guitar driven. Lots of Dm, Gm and Am pieces. 🙂

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