The Godfather (1972) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

It is very fascinating to learn that when Godfather was being made the studio and Coppola did not actually think they were making such a classic. In fact Coppola considered making this first film as a compromise on his road to better and more artful films. Also, Al Pacino and Brando almost didn't make it into the cast. The studio found Marlon to be hazardous to the film and Pacino they thought was a too short nobody from New York. I've been reading on this in Biskin's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.

Watching Godfather is so easy. It has the perfect look and you don't notice that it takes three hours. What should I say about the subject matter then? That somehow it follows logically for Michael to take on the family business. There goes my unwillingness to understand the family values and the murdering. I'm nodding my head.

But my favorite part of Godfather I is the 15 minutes of Michael's life in Sicily. The thick Sicilian accent and the scenery somehow justify everything...The beautiful first wife (who used to make me really jealous somehow) is amazing. There is something so fragile and out of place about her.
Yet, she is very real and I wish there was an alternative version of the film available where Michael just stays in the barren hot country side with her and has many babies. Forget the honor and the Family and eat some more spaghetti with your red wine.

Oh, well. Luckily there is Diane Keaton in America. But what is wrong with her hair in this film?

Nick :
As my father came from Sicily anything Mafia related held a fascination ever since I was in my early teens. I have seen this film at least 30 times. At various times in the past I've just paid extra attention to Marlon Brando's performance. His various twitches and mannerisms round off his warm performance which draws us in. On one occasion I paid extra lip service to the chemistry between the brothers, played by a never better Al Pacino, James Cann, Robert Duvall and the late great John Cazale. How perfectly cast they were. Sometimes I'll just watch the amazing cinematography by Gordon Willis, who actually won a life time achievement award at the dreadful Oscars this year but amazingly was not nominated at the time of the Godfather's release. The brutal assassination has never looked so beautiful. Even when I watch this film and try to focus on a certain aspect, it still completely involves me, the storytelling is so rich.
The Godfather is arguably the point when the Mafia became mainstream. It made Puzo's book more popular, it gave Scorsese a reason to live. This film invented Robert De Niro (at least the sequel confirmed him). This film inspired the greatest ever TV series in The Sopranos. It's infiltrated our Western society unlike any film in recent history has. It's also an adult's film. Coppola used the Family as a conduit to tap into our basic emotions.

Watching The Godfather in 2010 it surprised me how well the film stood up. I know these scenes inside out, yet they seem so fresh. What I noticed this time was how this film has made us want to like pure evil. It has made the audience relate to mass crime and murder. We can muster sympathy for a cold monster like Michael Corleone. These bad men fuck, drink, cook pasta, have affairs, wear the coolest clothes, drive the best looking cars, are affluent, go to church, play with their grandchildren. Marlon Brando's Don Vito Corleone is a cuddly teddy bear by the end. This humanizes the bad guys. They are just like us. This film is glamor. I aspire to have hair like Al Pacino's in this movie. And this amazing film is still getting better.


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