Godfather

I was never a huge fan of any of the Godfather movies until I watched the entire trilogy over the period of a week. (The Godfather – Part III is the dud of the series, infamously diminished by the casting of Sofia Coppola as Michael Corleone’s daughter. She can’t act. That’s not the only problem with the film, just the most obvious. It might be best to pretend Part III doesn’t exist.) The Godfather (Parts 1 and 2) are so good, so rich in character and story, so masterfully acted and directed, there’s nothing I can say about the films that hasn’t been said with greater insight by hundreds of critics already.

Check out this one paragraph from the linked DVD Talk review: “Religion is important in The Godfather. In all of the films, sacred events are used as cover for the sin of murder, be it the christening in episode I or the street fair in the flashbacks in II, when young Vito (Robert De Niro) goes after Fanucci (Gastone Moschin). Notice, too, in that latter scene, Fanucci gets an orange on his way to the assassin’s bullet. Coppola often uses poetic imagery to tie together different events across this vast timeline. Oranges always foreshadow some kind of violence or death — older Vito (Marlon Brando) is getting oranges when he is shot, and later eating one when he eventually dies, in one of the most poignant death scenes in all of movie history. So, too, is Michael eating an orange when he is plotting various hits near the end of part II and again in the final scene of part III. Though not a recurring theme, one of my favorite images in the movie is in part I when Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana) is being strangled. Coppola steps out of the room and films the attack through a glass pane decorated with a fish pattern. Later, when Michael and Sonny (James Caan) and the others are informed of Luca’s death, it’s with one of the movie’s most quoted lines: ‘Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.'” That’s just a taste of what’s going on in The Godfather (Parts 1 and 2). Francis Ford Coppola was in the zone when he made these movies. The genius of the filmmaking reveals itself more with each viewing. Damn, I think I’ll watch them again right now. See ya!

About Phillip

Phillip Cairns is a beekeeper in St. John's, Newfoundland, who writes about beekeeping at mudsongs.org.

6 Replies to “Godfather”

  1. I love GF I and II. When III came out, I had a houseful of out-of-town guests. We rented I & II and cooked up a bunch of Italian food to eat while we watched. Then we went to see III and were more than sorely dissappointed.

    There is no way Michael Corleone would have worn his hair that way. There is no way Connie would have morphed from abused wife/frantic slut to the sly, controlling matriarch she is in III. But I do love the death scene where Michael is all alone, at the old family estate and the orange rolls off his lap. The scene is shot from such a distance that you can miss that detail if you aren’t careful, well at least if you’re watching at home on a smaller screen.

    Andy Garcia was equally lame. He’s lucky to have found more work. It’s too bad the shooting of Mary couldn’t have happened in the first 5 minutes. There were actually cheers in the theater when she bit the dust. Muted and covert, but cheers.

  2. AND I don’t believe for one second that Michael and Kay would have EVER been in the same room together without bloodshed.

  3. But I do love the death scene where Michael is all alone, at the old family estate and the orange rolls off his lap. The scene is shot from such a distance that you can miss that detail if you aren’t careful, well at least if you’re watching at home on a smaller screen.

    I have no intentions of watching Part III again. There are too many problems to overlook — glaring flaws (mostly involving Sofia Coppola). But the movie does have its moments.

    Andy Garcia was equally lame. He’s lucky to have found more work.

    Being paired with Sofia Coppola for a third of the movie doesn’t help. There might have been a chance he could have pulled off all the lovey-dovey scenes and made them passable, but not with her weighing him down. I like him more in “The Untouchables,” which isn’t a great movie, but I’d pick it over Part III any day.

    It’s too bad the shooting of Mary couldn’t have happened in the first 5 minutes. There were actually cheers in the theater when she bit the dust. Muted and covert, but cheers.

    I agree. They should have killed her right away. Most of the drama of the movie hangs on her death scene — and it’s a joke. I can see what Coppola was aiming for, but he missed the mark by about 10,000 miles. Too bad.

  4. There are only a few films I will watch over and over again and never tire of them. GF1 and 2 are in that category.

  5. I watched all three Godfather movies last weekend. Part 1 is flawless. Part 2 is excellent as well, though I think some of the Congregational hearing scenes could have been compressed. The Robert De Niro timeline is great. Part 3 is still the worst and always will be because Sofia Coopola kills every scene she’s in. We knew this going in, so we fast-forwarded through her scenes when we could, and it improved the movie. Part 3 could have been almost as excellent as parts 1 and 2. That’s too bad.

    We also watched “Mother and Child” last night. It’s better than all 10 movies that were nominated for an Academy Award this year. Annette Bening should have would have got the award for best actress in my book. Everyone in the whole movie would have got an award. It’s a beautiful movie.

  6. I liked garcia in steal big steal little…which I think I liked..but it was probably my liking of alan arkin who made me enjoy that film…I think he underated…

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