Archive for July 9th, 2009

godfather 1

by Allan Fish

(USA 1972 175m) DVD1/2

Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes

p  Albert S.Ruddy  d  Francis Ford Coppola  w  Francis Ford Coppola, Mario Puzo  novel  Mario Puzo  ph  Gordon Willis  ed  William Reynolds, Peter Zinner, Marc Laub, Murray Solomon  m  Nino Rota  art  Dean Tavoularis, Warren Clymer 

Marlon Brando (Don Vito Corleone), Al Pacino (Michael Corleone), Diane Keaton (Kay Adams), Robert Duvall (Tom Hagan), John Cazale (Fredo Corleone), Talia Shire (Connie Corleone), James Caan (Sonny Corleone), Richard Castelleno (Clemenza), Sterling Hayden (McCluskey), Richard Conte (Barzini), John Marley (Jack Woltz), Al Lettieri (Sollozzo), Abe Vigoda (Tessio), Morgana King (Mama Corleone), Franco Citti (Calo),

The Godfather is truly one of the great movie experiences.  It’s more than just a movie milestone, it’s a watershed, a film that changed cinema forever.  Maybe not entirely for the good as it lead to so many inferior imitations, but for three hours it draws you into its dark world and, despite the evil that drips off the screen like mozzarella cheese off a pizza, you are sad to leave it behind.  You have grown to love these characters, or at least to know them, and the reason for this is that, at its heart, beneath the deception, the murders, the corruption and the poison of the underbelly of the American dream, it’s a good old-fashioned family saga. One is reminded of Mankiewicz’s House of Strangers with Edward G.Robinson waiting around, Lear like, while his contrasting sons screw up his Italian-American banking empire while he tries to listen to Rossini.  Indeed, Richard Conte, Paul Valentine and Luther Adler so resemble Pacino, Caan and Duvall here (Duvall may not have been the other son, but the similarity is there) that it’s uncanny.  It could be argued that The Godfather is rather like King Lear, but this Lear knows which of his sons he loves best and which one he wants to keep his hands clean.  In the end, however, like Macbeth upon catching sight of the witches, he knows he’s just a pawn and so is Michael.  And for those who didn’t see the link to House of Strangers, check out the name of Richard Conte, esq., in the cast as Barzini, principal rival family head.  (more…)

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