"Once Upon a Time in the West was the movie that made me consider filmmaking."–Quentin Tarantino
Sergio Leone's film Once Upon a Time in the Westset out to be the ultimate Western—a celebration of the power of classic Hollywood cinema, a meditation on the making of America and a lament for the decline of one of the most cherished film genres in the form of a "dance of death." With this film, Leone said a fond farewell to the noisy and flamboyant world of the Italian Western, which he had created with A Fistful of Dollars and sequels , and aimed for something much more ambitious—an exploration of the relationship between myth ("Once Upon a Time..."), history ("...in the West") and his own autobiography as an avid film-goer. This would be a horse opera in which the arias aren't sung, they are stared. Once Upon a Time has since inspired several generations of filmmakers worldwide. Its combination of "film about film" with an angry historical epic, told with great style, has resonated for half a century, and its reputation has steadily grown. This book, by the world-renowned authority on Sergio Leone, Christopher Frayling, includes revealing personal interviews with all the key players involved in the movie (in front of the camera and behind it) a wealth of never-before-published documents, designs and photographs, and the latest research into the making of a masterpiece, shot by shot. It is introduced with a foreword by Quentin Tarantino. This year is the 50th anniversary of Once Upon a Time in the West and this richly illustrated book is a suitably spectacular birthday tribute.
Christopher Frayling (born 1946) was rector of the Royal College of Art in London. In addition, he is the longest-serving trustee of the V&A, and chairman of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, which selects the designs for new coins. Frayling is well known as a historian, critic and a award-winning broadcaster. He has published 17 books and numerous articles on contemporary art, design, film and the history of ideas, most recently Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years.