mike@projection-booth.com mike@projection-booth.com

January 6, 2015

Episode 200: Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Special Guest: Sir Christopher Frayling
Guest Co-Host: Josh Johnson

On our 200th episode we look at Sergio Leone's epic Western, Once Upon a Time in the West. Released in 1968, the film was a follow-up to his "dollars trilogy" and hailed as many as one of the best Westerns ever made. The film tells the story of four main characters: Harmonica, a man looking for Justice in the dying west, Frank, a gunfighter whose reign is ending, Cheyenne, a bandit, and Jill, a former prostitute who has come to the West with the promise of a new life.

Buy Once Upon a Time in the West on Blu-Ray
Buy Sergio Leone: Something to Do with Death by Christopher Frayling
Visit the Fistful of Leone fansite
Check out the Christopher Frayling coat of arms
Buy Rewind This! from Josh Johnson

Listen/Download Now:

"Man with Harmonic" - Funkware
"Duello Finale" - Ennio Morricone


Once Upon A Time in The West - Shooting a Masterpiece from Reel Art Press on Vimeo.


  1. One of the strange things I recall from Paramount's DVD supplements is that Alex Cox's interviews were filmed in an extreme long shot, compared to the other interviewees like Carpenter who were much closer to camera & more visible. Every time it cut to Alex Cox I recall squinting to make out his pin-sized face.

    Congrats on hitting 200! How many Rob episodes is this, 150? I became a regular listener in 2014, so I've become conditioned to hearing Rob as co-host the way I'm conditioned to hearing Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo. (I hope this reads as complimentary and not like an insult comparing the pre-Rob episodes to Season 1 of MST3K!)

    1. J.P.,

      Total compliment! HAHA! Love the comparison!

      As for the shows, my first was "Blood Sucking Freaks" (December 2011) as a guest. Full time, I think my first "official" episode was "Frankenhooker" Episode 52 (February 2012). I guess it's about 150. But, if you count all the extras, special shows, etc. - I think it's probably near 175 or so.

      I haven't seen the extras. Sadly, I only have the single disc version.

      Thanks for digging the show!

      All the best,


  2. Hello from England

    Im kinda new here. Sorry I only found you a few months back, im gutted I have not been here since the beginning but I am loving have the back catlog of podcasts to listen too. Lots to keep me busy. Great work guys

    1. No need to apologize! You found us and that's what's important. Hope you enjoy our back catalog. We've got 200+ episode to choose from and a new show dropping every week. Should keep you busy for a while. :)

  3. Cheers Mike. I need the time machine from Back to the future to catch up. But then again apparently I just read the Nike trainer boots from part 2 are actually going on sale this year. ;)

  4. Another great episode of the Projection Booth. Once Upon a Time in the West is a very significant film in my development as a cinephile. I left some comments about it for Egofest II.

    The interview with Sir Christopher Frayling is wonderful. His passion for Leone's films is palpable, and I admire that this passion does not impede his capacity to put the films into context. I looked at sections of Something To Do With Death when I came across it as a student worker shelving books in an academic library. I remember the book opening with the description of an auction at Cinecitta studios sometime in the 1990s, a striking commentary on the sad state of affairs in the Italian film industry.

    I read a lot about Italian genre cinema when I was in graduate school, actually. It is unfortunate that the graduate program I was in did not engage me at the same level.

    Have you ever seen The Big Gundown? It is easily my favorite western all'italiana outside of Leone's films. The political westerns, like this and A Bullet for the General, engage me more than the typical gunfight romps of the genre. I definitely need to catch up with Duck, You Sucker.

    1. Congratulations for reaching episode 200. Even after listening for more than a year, keeping up with current episodes and listening to back episodes, there is still a lot I have not had a chance to get to. The Projection Booth has also been a gateway to the wider world of film podcasting. There is definitely not enough time for it all.

  5. This is a great episode. Congrats on 200, gents. I've been enjoying playing catch up through your archives since discovering your show from a mention by The Cromcast. "Once Upon a Time in the West" is one of those films that gives me chills when I watch, just because it's that great. Hitting on the point made about this film being sort of a fairy tale or myth is where I generally see it as well. This film seems set in a world where the Hollywood wild west happened. I see all the references from past films and they don't feel like there were just added in to be cute. Instead I see the classic character types -- the gods of this genre -- playing out one last desperate struggle in an end of the world/Ragnarok situation. Much like in the Norse mythology, the old world will end, the gods will die, but then something new will take their place. Jill and the Train are the death knell to the old west and the origin of everything to come after. Leone (I think, at least in spirit) put the genre he loved in its grave with a fitting funeral march. I think Quentin Tarantino tried to capture this sort of same idea with the "Kill Bill" films to some degree. That world seems like the martial arts/exploitation movie world equivalent to the old west movie world Leone creates in "Once..."