5:58 pm - 06/08/2012

'Django Unchained': 12 weird details from Quentin Tarantino's vengeance Western

Newsflash: Quentin Tarantino is a twisted dude.

That’s why we love the guy, of course. He breathes new life into the genres he touches by infusing them not just with a movie lover’s passion, but with the demented sensibility of someone who’s spent too much time alone in the dark.

When the trailer for Django Unchained debuted yesterday, it did not disappoint, delivering us 2 minutes and 36 seconds of antebellum peculiarity. Here are a few offbeat moments that jumped out.

Django meets Django

“What’s your name?” asks the stranger in the white hat and purple ascot.

“Django,” replies Jamie Foxx’s character, blowing smoke. “The D is silent.”

We never get an introduction from the stranger, who is hanging out in the parlor overseen by Leonardo DiCaprio’s menacing Calvin Candie, but the actor is Franco Nero (Vanessa Redgrave’s long-lost love in Letters to Juliet — and also her real life husband), who made his breakthrough starring in a 1966 spaghetti western titled, you guessed it, Django.

Tarantino is a well-known aficionado of obscure cult films, which often serve as his greatest inspiration, as director Sergio Corbucci’s Django clearly did for Django Unchained. Another Italian film from around this corner of the video store, 1978′s The Inglorious Bastards, served as a similar muse for QT.

Beware the Dentist

It’s only there for a second, but raises a “What the –?” reaction.

Christoph Waltz’s bounty hunter has a giant tooth wobbling around on top of his wagon. It isn’t until a few shots later that we see the side of his cart, emblazoned with “The Amazing Painless Surgeon Dentist Dr. King Schultz.”

Strange choice, but maybe he needs a cover story, or maybe that work helps pay the bills between human take downs. It’s kind of poetic, really. A dentist and surgeon goes into the body and extracts bad elements, which is apparently what Dr. King (a symbolic name if ever there was one) does to the denizens of the Deep South.

As EW commenter Daisyifyoudo points out, dentistry is also where we got the “doc” in Doc Holliday, which is nice allusion to a historic gunfighter by Tarantino.

Finally, I love the Christopher Walken-y way Waltz says: “Amongst your inventory, I’ve been led to believe, is a specimen I’m keen to acquire,” which comes out ah-KWHY!-er with over-the-top emphasis on that accented syllable.

Since this is Tarantino, maybe Schultz is an ancestor of Pulp Fiction‘s Captain Koons and helps Django escape by hiding him up his you-know-where?

Battle Scars

The first shot of the trailer is of shirtless black slaves marching together through a desert landscape in a chain gang, and each back has its shares of gouges and scars. Then we see Django’s and it’s slashed to bits. Although he seems like a beaten man, something he did seriously enraged his previous owners.

When we see that back again, shedding the meager cloak he was wearing after Dr. King’s rescue, we see the scars again — only this time the muscles beneath them are flexing. This dude is ready for a rematch.

The Condemned Man

Whatever dangerous dealings Dr. King Schultz chooses to pursue, he is afforded protection by virtue of his skin color that Django is not. As they ride into this backwater town, danger looks down at them from every angle, but it is Django whose head is going straight into the noose.

A foreigner like Dr. King may be unwelcome around these parts too, but at least he can hope to pass among these huckleberries without drawing undue attention. There’s no way for Django to hide who he is, and it’s clear from just a glance that he doesn’t belong. The two partners are aware of this, and eventually Django begins to pose as Shultz’s valet.

It may be less dignified, but it’s sure a lot easier than explaining why a freed black man is riding by his side.

The Silent D

I’m not sure where Django gets that very cool (and very phallic) D emblem on his saddle, but it’s a nice touch.

It calls to mind Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules in Pulp Fiction, asking for his wallet.

“Hey, Django! Which saddle is yours?”

“It’s the one that says ‘Bad Mother F–ker’.”

A Fight or Sex?

A lot of attention was paid to this Sergio Leone-style zoom in on DiCaprio’s sadistic plantation owner Calvin Candie the first time he appears in the trailer, but that obscured the weirdness happening right in front of him.

That may be intentional, because there are shirtless bodies writing around in front of that hearth. It’s impossible to tell who that is — at first, I thought it might be a topless woman scurrying away, having been rudely interrupted while servicing the delightful Mr. Candie.

Though it’s hard to determine skin tone, I now think that we’re witnessing him watch two black male slaves fight each other. You can see flailing limbs for an instant before the zoom in, so there is clearly more than one person there. Also, another man is on a couch off to the left, also watching the spectacle.

Foxx tells EW that Candie’s not-so-secret pleasure is watching slaves fight to the death. This may be a glimpse of that.

Sticky Red Cotton

Given all the concern about how Tarantino will handle the issue of slavery, the colors that most fascinated me in the trailer were not white and black, but red and white — with this startling shot of a white man’s blood spraying all over unpicked cotton bolls.

It’s rare that you see this kind of blood in an MPAA-approved trailer, but the power of that shot is undeniable. Historians could argue that a lot of symbolic blood was spilled over the textiles these plantations helped produced, but Tarantino goes straight at it with a visceral, literal version of that. Only this time it’s the slave master’s blood being spilled, not that of the slaves toiling for him.

“Kill white folks and they pay you for it?” Django says. “What’s not to like?”

Now, I’m pretty sure Tarantino plagiarized that one from Hallmark.

He puts the lime in the coconut

Seriously. Where does a guy in the Deep South in the mid-1800s get a coconut? And one he can sip through a nice little straw.

Candie must get them all the time. I mean, check out the cool little coconut-holding silver chalice he has.

“Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. But now you have my attention,” he tells Dr. King and Django.


Gentleman, start your Colonel Sanders jokes

One thing Django Unchained can unabashedly boast is: See Miami Vice star Don Johnson as you’ve never seen him before!

Yes, that’s Crockett (or Nash Bridges, if you prefer) sporting the Steve Martin suit, a string bowtie, and some very, very old-school facial hair. As if you couldn’t tell from his dandified appearance, the character is sort of a scumbag.

His name is Spencer Gordon Bennet (not-so-coincidentally the name of a filmmaker who made Superman and Red Ryder serials in the 1940s), and he’s a plantation owner as well as a reputed pimp who sells his female slaves as prostitutes.

Let’s guess he comes to a bad end.

Kind of Blue

When Django accompanies Dr. King on his mission to find and kill the Brittle Brothers, posing as the valet means wearing a far-less-intimidating outfit than his usual cowboy gear.

This silky, azure outfit — complete with frills — recalls Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy, with the exception of the double-barreled derringer popping out of the sleeve.

Of all the indignities Django must suffer, this isn’t the worst. But it may be the strangest. And the funniest.

"I like the way you die, boy."

This seems like a major spoiler, but the trailer lays it right out there. When Django wastes this fellow (one of the aforementioned Brittle Brothers, played by Lost actor M.C. Gainey) we see that he has some pages pinned to his shirt. It’s impossible to tell, but they look a lot like Bible pages, with two columns of verses on each sheet.

“I like the way you die, boy,” Django says as he pulls the trigger, dropping Big John Brittle to the ground in a heap. A female slave lashed to a tree behind him has apparently been rescued from one hell of a beating.

The bullet went right through the Bible page pinned over his heart. Let’s hope it is Leviticus 25:44: “It is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves.”

Smile, Leo

One of the weirdest moments is saved for the end.

“He is a rambunctious sort, ain’t he?” says DiCaprio’s Candie with a cackle.

A cackle. One that reveals a set of the vilest teeth imaginable. DiCaprio has always been an actor who tried to subvert his heartthrob good looks (at least, ever since he used them inTitanic to become a global star). Here, he accomplishes that with gusto.

He could really use a dentist. Know any good ones?

This looks good, idgaf. Can't wait to see it, and especially to see Leo.


Page 1 of 3
<<[1] [2] [3] >>
brucelynn 8th-Jun-2012 10:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah I'm pretty excited to see this

actxappalledx 8th-Jun-2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
I'm excited for December/awards season in general, tbh. This, Gatsby, The Master, Les Miserables, etc. I think I will actually really enjoy awards season this year
mots_inutiles 9th-Jun-2012 12:50 am (UTC)
It's about time we had some GOOD films to watch during awards season.
kafkaesque 8th-Jun-2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
so a list of things that were obvious in the trailer? lol
itscomicrelief 8th-Jun-2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
It's from EW.
abbie 8th-Jun-2012 10:12 pm (UTC)
I didn't notice the giant tooth, bible pages or the slave fight/orgy
misscrystal 9th-Jun-2012 06:36 am (UTC)
I wouldn't say these things were obvious. It's stuff you wouldn't really catch or think about just casually watching the trailer.
It's really interesting to see it all laid out like this.
hermione_vader 8th-Jun-2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
"Django" is probably a shout-out to the mid-20th-century Belgian/Romany jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt, who spelled his nickname with a silent "D", too he also played the guitar with his thumb because his fingers were damaged in a fire, but that's not relevant here. Tarantino is all about obscure references, so that's probably why the protagonist is named Django.
zeldafitzgerald 8th-Jun-2012 10:21 pm (UTC)
He probably is just taking it from the spaghetti western Django, which is considered one of the most violent of the drama.
ztrellitaa 8th-Jun-2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
As much as I adore QT movies, I'm not excited for this one. IDK why.
actxappalledx 8th-Jun-2012 10:12 pm (UTC)
pinkfunraven 8th-Jun-2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
Your icon just made my legs quiver! Basically put, Leo is looking fine in that shot.
fashionbabylon 8th-Jun-2012 10:15 pm (UTC)
lol read QT as "cutie"
minyquai 8th-Jun-2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
it doesn't look very.... tarantino
black_swan87 9th-Jun-2012 01:12 am (UTC)
i'm really worried about how he's going t handle slavery
oh7 8th-Jun-2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
I'm still not sure if I'll pay to go see this.
chrislola 8th-Jun-2012 10:12 pm (UTC)
It's likely that I'll end up downloading it from a torrent when it leaks.
chantonii 9th-Jun-2012 04:14 am (UTC)
bodylikemind 8th-Jun-2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
lol this post but i am so excited for this movie
actxappalledx 8th-Jun-2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
lol i really just am excited about this movie, tbh, which is why I posted it. the only thing i hadn't actually noticed in the trailer was the people in the background when they zoomed in on Leo, but I was distracted for obv reasons
bodylikemind 8th-Jun-2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
i ain't even mad i'm excited for it too so any post about it gets my attention but i'm just laughing at some of the stuff they pointed it HIS BELT really EW but i didn't notice the people either
snappple 8th-Jun-2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
Somehow slavery movies make uncomfortable. I know I wont be seeing this one.
randominatrix 8th-Jun-2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
At least this one looks like it isn't a straight up white savior movie? IDK, reserving my judgment.
hershelwalker 8th-Jun-2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
maybe not straight up but that's definitely a huge element. django is badass in his own right but schultz is kind of the epitome of a white savior
mots_inutiles 9th-Jun-2012 12:51 am (UTC)
I think they're supposed to make people uncomfortable.
sapitacherry 9th-Jun-2012 02:08 am (UTC)
i think slavery movies should
lovelyeli 8th-Jun-2012 10:12 pm (UTC)
Christmas day will be Magical this year

two leo movies...idk how im gonna do it, but i will see them both on opening day.
actxappalledx 8th-Jun-2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
lol, MTE! I will probably pay for one and sneak into the other =/ lol. I am poor and movies are $14 a pop, I can't afford to see them both in one day!! But I feel like Gatsby, if it's as visually stunning as I expect (and if the movie is as good as I hope), will be one I see twice, so I'll prob pay for Django and sneak into Gatsby, and then see Gatsby again another day during a matinee or something
chrislola 8th-Jun-2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
$14? where do you live?
lovelyeli 8th-Jun-2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
damn 14??..I hope thy good Lord Godcaprio blesses you for this offering bb.

i'll prob pay for gatsby and watch it around 12-2 then go to lunch..maybe make Django a late movie night (my movie theater is attached to the mall..so i can always use shopping as an excuse as well to stay lol)
kowswithgunz 8th-Jun-2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
Try pay $18 for a normal movie, more for 3D.
Stupid Australia =S
chrislola 8th-Jun-2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
December will be magnificent. Lots of potentially good movies are coming out.
hershelwalker 8th-Jun-2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
I loved that blood spatter shot.
zeldafitzgerald 8th-Jun-2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't say I loved it but I immediately got it and thought it was terrific. Blood makes me a tad squeamish.
queensabo 8th-Jun-2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
same here.
tuesdayfternoon 9th-Jun-2012 01:22 am (UTC)
YES. As my parents and their parents picked cotton for a living, that image took my breath away.
julialonso 8th-Jun-2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
This trailer didn't do anything on me but I'll give it a try as it is a Quentin Tarantino's movie.
cammiec 8th-Jun-2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
I'll watch anything by Tarantino.
champagnexdream 9th-Jun-2012 12:01 am (UTC)
Same. :p
saltireflower 8th-Jun-2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
Lol I didn't notice the giant tooth.
genbu_no_miko24 8th-Jun-2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
Get that oscar Leo!

I am so ready for him Christmas Day :D!
chrislola 8th-Jun-2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
He's certainly trying!
genbu_no_miko24 8th-Jun-2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
it annoyed me before cause it was sooooo obvious, but I wouldn't him winning for this one!!

Its def different from anything he's ever played before. He's all cray and looks he's having fun :333
ztrellitaa 8th-Jun-2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
And this is why I'm not that excited for the movie. I'm tired of thinking that everything he does is Oscar bait. It makes me not want to see them.
pimpmytardis 8th-Jun-2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
Where does a guy in the Deep South in the mid-1800s get a coconut?

Most places along the Gulf of Mexico- Florida, or parts of Southern Texas. Not common, but not impossible.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to this.
actxappalledx 8th-Jun-2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
lol I love that you gave an actual answer to that :D
fuchsiagroan 8th-Jun-2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
This. And it's obviously merely intended as a testament to how rich/powerful this character is, that he has access to things that are uncommon for someone in this time period/region.
cricketgrl 8th-Jun-2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
I have a feeling that Tarantino will go a bit overboard with the racism in this film. Mostly to the point it will be completely offensive to the black community.

The tweets about Leo enjoying using the N-word gave me a lot of pause.
minyquai 8th-Jun-2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
...............r u kidding me
phillymademe 8th-Jun-2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
The tweets about Leo enjoying using the N-word gave me a lot of pause.

where are these tweets?
onesilkstocking 8th-Jun-2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
lol did you read the script. he used the N-word in scene descriptions, like "the room is hot, crowed and full of N------" so I don't think Leo is the only one who is enjoying using the N word tbh
nene718 8th-Jun-2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
yeah that's why i'm not excited about this film. we already know that he loves the n word and thinks that he's some honorary member of the black community. this is gonna be one huge circle jerk.
nanachic 9th-Jun-2012 01:39 am (UTC)
the script leaked a while ago and my film student friend who is OBSESSED with Q.T. said they use the word maybe 50 times on the first 2 pages.

That alone makes me want to not see it.
Page 1 of 3
<<[1] [2] [3] >>
This page was loaded Dec 25th 2014, 1:37 pm GMT.