Cinematic Taste Buds

Three Interesting Tidbits about 'Django Unchained' Plus a New Trailer

Cameos lost, cameos found and a piece of connective tissue

Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained
Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained
Photo: The Weinstein Co.

What's that? The first 20 trailers for Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained weren't able to convince you to see the movie? Well, never fear, yet another international trailer for the film has arrived and this one is going to be the one to do it. But before you give it a watch, how about a few interesting tidbits that have surfaced recently.

First, a reader recently pointed me in the direction of an episode of the late '60s, early '70s television show "The High Chaparral" you see to the right. The episode is "The Doctor from Dodge" and it would appear to have had something of an influence on Django, just check out the synopsis:

A dentist rescues Blue from Apaches and bandits. With no money to be made at the ranch, he decides to go after the bandits who have a $1000 bounty on them. When the bandits kidnap him and Blue, he tries to take advantage of it.

Outside of the revenge story at the center, a visual influence is quite specific if you take note of the image at the top of this article and watch the opening moments of the show you'll notice the dentist in the episode is driving a horse-drawn wagon with a giant tooth attached to it, a distinct feature of the carriage Christoph Waltz is driving in the film.

I wasn't able to find any quotes from Tarantino mentioning "The High Chaparral" as a favorite of his, but it is one of the television shows name checked by Kurt Russell's stuntman character in Tarantino's Grindhouse segment, Death Proof.

However, one tie I was able to find is that of Cameron Mitchell, one of the stars of "The High Chaparral" who also starred in Sergio Corbucci's Minnesota Clay -- Corbucci, remember, directed the original Django. Clay is one of Tarantino's favorite Spaghetti Western's and you can actually watch it in full right here for free, and when you do, be on the lookout as this specific scene from Django Unchained as it's a clear a visual nod to the 1964 Western.

RZA in The Man with the Iron FistsSecond, RZA had to drop out of a part in Django Unchained as the writer-director-actor's schedule wouldn't allow as he was working on his upcoming film, The Man with the Iron Fists. Well, ironically enough, his character from that film was to make a cameo appearance in Django in a way of connecting the two cinematic universes.

RZA tells, Movies.com, "There was a tie [between The Man with the Iron Fists and Django Unchained]! And because of the schedule for Iron Fists, I had to let another character do it. I didn't make it into the film. The idea was that Thaddeus [his blacksmith character in Iron Fists] would be on the auction block. You've seen the trailer, when the camera passes by all the guys? So Thaddeus is supposed to be on that line."

Quentin TarantinoAnd third, one cameo that will be in the film belongs to Tarantino himself. Cast member Rex Linn (who plays a character known as Tennessee Harry) told News Ok Tarantino wrote himself into a scene and "Quentin told me that he liked the scene so much he wanted to be in it too, and that he would also be taking some of my lines. So, you'll know the scenes when you see them. We'll be on the screen with Don Johnson and Jonah Hill. The scenes may not be long, but you will remember them."

And those are your small cinematic nuggets for the day... Now here's that new trailer followed by the film's synopsis.

Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained features Jamie Foxx as the recently freed slave Django who teams with the German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) to hunt down a trio of lowlifes eventually leading them on a mission to rescue Django's wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), from the clutches of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), an evil plantation owner.

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  • jay bob

    Hope you didn't think Tarantino had any original ideas or his own.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      I actually like what Tarantino does with films and stories he loves. He's able to put his own spin on them while also acknowledging his love. He's a film fan and I love the fact that I can find movies I otherwise wouldn't have seen through watching and reading about his movies.

      I know some people hate him for it, but I actually love his films for the same reasons others hate him.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jaybob/ jaybob

        Well that's where I differ. I don't feel he puts any unique spin on anything at all. Very few times did I few he put a clever twist on some shot or scene. Most of the time I feel like I've seen his movies before. Like they're a box of cliches or something. He has no voice of his own. At least he once did with Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. The Coen Brothers do what he does immeasurably better.

        I appreciate the fact that he's drawn attention to some films or genre, but wouldn't it better to just watch those films instead? I've never really understood this whole thing about making a movie to celebrate some other bunch of films in the past. What good does it do those if no one watches them any how? I had the same problem with The Artist as well.

        Lastly, his form of filmmaking goes against my belief on art. I believe artists should be striving for something new and innovative. He's a traditionalist. A man rooted down by nostalgia. And imitator.

        I don't have a problem with people enjoying his films, I kind of do. I'm just kind of hate how he's being put up as some kind of great filmmaker that other filmmakers should to be like.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

          "I'm just kind of hate how he's being put up as some kind of great filmmaker that other filmmakers should to be like."

          I really don't think many hold that view, especially considering any time someone has tried to emulate Tarantino they sort of get railed for it.

          As for "wouldn't it better to just watch those films instead", I personally like to do both. I loved watching Kiss Me Deadly and seeing the glowing briefcase and finding that connection to Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. It made me want to see what other movies inspired his films. I never would have seen the original Inglorious Bastards or Lady Snowblood had Tarantino not been inspired by them. I made sure to watch Django almost as soon as this latest project was announced.

        • http://nktkomarov.livejournal.com/ Nick

          To quote Di Caprio in the Django trailer, I only have one question.

          How many films out there are like Tarantino's films, not in stand-alone, out-of-context scenes and details, but overall?

          To me, Tarantino is as unique as they come, as far as his characters and stories are concerned.

  • Winchester

    I have to agree with the above comment. While I don't strongly dislike Tarantino or his films (apart from maybe Inglourious Basterds) I absolutely do not love them either.

    It feels like every time he has a new project what automatically comes with it is a slew of reveals about everything that he's taken from long forgotten works by other people and mashed into his films. I'm not at all surprised that Django is more of this but I just always feel with Tarantino he's still that video store clerk desperately trying to show off just how much obscure knowledge he has about cinema. Generally that seems to work for him I guess.

    Some of his films are perfectly enjoyable, sure, but I don't feel he's as great as others do. Death Proof is quite bad (not in the Grindhouse way it was concieved as, but just kinda bad) actually a few years down the line, and I liked it originally. Although that's probably his weakest film anyway. So, I'll likely catch Django at some point but I'm not at all swayed towards seeing it more at this time.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      I think "long forgotten works" is a major key here. No one is talking about a lot of these films, but by Tarantino paying homage to them we are once again. His films take nothing away from the originals that inspired him, but merely bring new attention to them. I don't see that as a bad thing. Oh, and I disagree entirely on Death Proof.

      Clearly, however, I love Tarantino's films and the films they encourage me to seek out.

      • Winchester

        Sure, I understand where you're coming from in respect of looking for other films as a result. I'm in the minority on him probably.

        For example, I'll concede watching 'Death Proof' reminded me to check out 'Vanishing Point' in it's wake. Although I wasn't unaware of that film at all prior. It just reminded me I wanted to check it out after watching DP. And I found 'Vanishing Point' to be a much more interesting as a film.

  • gary james

    I dont have any issue with him borrowing bits and pieces from other movies,plenty of directors just go for generic storylines themselves without a shred of originality. For me Tarantinos great gift is in his scripts,i dont believe there's a screenwriter out there who even comes close to what he can do with a pen and paper.

  • Jane

    I'd rather just watch THE HIGH CHAPARRAL now that it's back on TV again!!!! Go INSP!