Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Once Upon a Time in Italy Exhibit

Once Upon a Time in Italy: The Cinema of Sergio Leone
October 22, 2014 - January 6, 2015
Mole Antonelliana, Turin
Curated by Sir Christopher Frayling, Lorenzo Codelli
For the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the release of A Fistful of Dollars, the National Cinema Museum celebrates Sergio Leone, one of the great masters of Italian cinema, with a diversified tribute featuring a novel exhibition conceived by Sir Christopher Frayling which intends to retrace his career (from his first film The Colossus of Rhodes, to the “Dollar trilogy”, to the Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America blockbusters, to the projects that were never carried out), a showcase of his films at the Cinema Massimo, a meeting at the Library/Mediatheque and the release of a volume published by the Bologna Film Archive.
The Once Upon a Time in Italy. Sergio Leone’s cinema exhibition, including over 180 items, is a journey among photographs, objects, film excerpts, publicity material, memorabilia, sketches and posters which bring the sets of legendary films that changed the history of cinema back to life. It is a National Cinema Museum project, in collaboration with the Bologna Film Archive, by curator Sir Christopher Frayling with the collaboration of Lorenzo Codelli, organised for the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the A Fistful of Dollars film, which was recently restored by the Bologna Film Archive.

The exhibition winds throughout the interior of the Mole Antonelliana. A suggestive layout is featured under the large screens in the Temple Hall, which hosts costumes from the films A Fistful of Dollars, Duck You Sucker, My Name is Nobody, Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America with the original Winchester and the revolver used in the final duel of A Fistful of Dollars and a Sicilian puppet, testifying to the fact that Sergio Leone’s western stories were inspired by the tales recounted by popular songs of the chivalrous tradition.

The exhibition then continues onto the helicoid ramp, where the history of Sergio Leone’s cinema is told by alternating various materials and intervals with film sequences.
Twelve large format photographs on the outer railings of the Mole Antonelliana show life on set in Leone’s films. They are snapshots taken by photographer Angelo Novi, the loyal set photographer who was privileged to follow the great director’s entire career, conveying the atmosphere wafting throughout the set amongst the actors and the troupe, with a distinct attitude and care for detail.
Some of the most interesting materials exhibited include:
1. The original letter sent by the producers of FOD and Sergio to Akiro Kurosawa, dealing with the well-known Yojimbo "problem".
2. The original revolver and the Winchester used by Clint and Gian Maria Volontè in the final duel in FOD.
3. A few pages which Sergio himself wrote concerning Leningrad (probably a rough outline only), the movie he was about to start.
4. Norman Mailer's script for Once upon a time in America.
5. The original scripts of the 3 dollar trilogy movies + Once upon a time in the West.
6. Sergio's passport and other private items
7. Original movie costumes
8. A rich collection of behind the scenes photos by Angelo Novi.

The exhibition will be accompanied by the Once Upon a Time in Italy: Sergio Leone’s Cinema by Sir Christopher Frayling, in collaboration with Lorenzo Codelli, published by the Bologna Film Archive.
Rounding out this exhibition, the Cinema Massimo is offering a complete retrospective from November 1-4, while the “Mario Gromo” Library/Mediatheque is hosting the SERGIO LEONE Visionary and innovative filmmaker round-table on October 22 at 3.30 p.m., organized in collaboration with the chair of History of Italian Cinema, DAMS – Turin University. The panel will feature: Lorenzo Codelli (collaborator of the Christopher Frayling, exhibition), Alberto Pezzotta (film critic), Matteo Pollone, Gabriele Rigola (Turin University) and Christian Uva (Roma Tre University). Panel moderator: Franco Prono (Turin University).
Finally, for the occasion of this tribute to Sergio Leone, the National Cinema Museum Educational Services are offering guided tours at the exhibition, laboratories at the museum and at school and dedicated screenings at the Cinema Massimo.


  1. I ordered a copy of the book from Amazon Italy and will let you borrow it once I get it and get a chance to look through it.