Leconfield Lecture 2021 | ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST: SHOOTING A MASTERPIECE, a talk by Sir Christopher Frayling



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Please note: due to social distancing restrictions and limited space, this event is reserved to members only
Sergio Leone’s film Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) was intended to be the “ultimate Western”- a celebration of the power of classic Hollywood movies, a meditation on the making of America, and a lament over the decline of one of the most cherished film genres – in the form of a “dance of death” memorably scored by Ennio Morricone.  It was also an exploration of the relationship between myth (Once Upon…)  and history (…in the West) and of Leone’s own memories as an avid filmgoer who in his youth in Trastevere loved Westerns. Since the film was first released (to lukewarm reviews), its reputation – among film-makers, critics and cineastes alike – has grown and grown, to the point where it is now considered one of the great Italian films. One celebrated example: Quentin Tarantino recently recalled “This was the movie that made me consider film-making…but more, how to make an impact as a film-maker”.
Illustrated with rare one-set photographs, production designs, and discoveries from the Italian archives, this lecture will share new perspectives on the film and will discuss its changing reputation.


Sir Christopher Frayling is an award-winning broadcaster, writer, educationalist and perhaps the most wide-ranging cultural historian of our times: the author of numerous publications on subjects ranging from vampires to Westerns; the writer and presenter of successful television series, whether on advertising, the Middle Ages or Tutankhamun. He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, and was Rector of the Royal College of Art, London, from 1996 to 2009, where he remains Professor Emeritus of Cultural History. His many public appointments have included Chairman of Arts Council England; Chairman of the Design Council; and the longest-serving Trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum.



Tuesday 23 November 2021