Article published on April 1, 2016.
Inspired casting is not a reality simply because they look right, today there are well over 300 million residents in America, a few of them purport to be actors/actresses, reduce that number to those who look Italian, or at least Mediterranean and we still get a decent, thick dossier of potential casting. It is obviously helpful in some cases if they ‘speaka da lingo’, but there must have been stacks of possibles waiting at the auditioning rooms. A little phoney accenting and you are away, Eli Wallach was a well trained actor of course but he was very convincing in his role even after his parentage of Polish Jewish background, although he was born in New York. Pacino was perfect for the part, the right age, the right complexion, the right acting status and able to be aged convincingly as the films came and went. Other actors, including Brando, speak with a huskiness that beggars belief, thus getting away with a lot. There are a few actors that are not in the film at all but would do visually for roles in The Godfather, a bit of slap (makeup), clothing and a decent backdrop and away we go. Dare I mention kids doing the self same job in Bugsy Malone…. !!
A scene in which a humungous tureen of spaghetti is served up, with the menfolk in singlets and so on, automatically registers Italian to the average person on the street. Then the wedding scene in which a Tarantella is asked for and played, again a standard Italianate ploy to better set the scene. I say Italian but read Sicilian anyway.
Incidentally, this https://youtu.be/cDeDuoHaKR0 is taken from a jazz trumpeter named Chuck Mangione (check the name). He is celebrating his birthday some years ago, and is a live recording/show with other musical artistes. A great rendition of a Tarantella, we learnt for playing at dances and it always went down well, I expect people even then mentioned The Godfather in conversation, although that one was different.
Bouncy little thing isn’t it, kids love jumping around to it…… enjoy !!
Pacino and Brando – brave casting? (Godfather pt 10)