Article published on March 28, 2016.
Now you’re talking. When I first saw The Godfather I was about twenty, and from memory I immediately devoured Part II, on the same day. Obviously I wasn’t part of the generation that got to experience them as cinematic events, but I can still remember that whole day clearly.
In part, I found the films so engaging because, like Guy says, each actor is perfect for the role. An old biography of Brando I read pointed out that he’d starred in 14 turkeys prior to being cast – at Coppola’s insistence. Were it not already assured by Streetcar, The Wild One and On The Waterfront, immortality followed, as Brando put in an utterly spellbinding performance. Witness the heartbreak in his voice as he beholds his eldest son’s body – “look how they massacred my boy;” or the volcanic tirade as Johnny Fontane needs whipping into shape “you can act like a man!” The character and actor are iconic.
There’s a deleted scene in which former consiglieri Genco Abbandando, receiving a visit from the Don on his daughter’s wedding day, asks him to stay at Genco’s bedside. Genco’s logic is that if Death himself comes, he will see Don Corleone and be scared into fleeing. I think that about covers it.
I think Al Pacino had starred in little screen stuff other than Panic in Needle Park when cast as Michael, but there’s another iconic turn. That slow moment as he outlines his plan to kill McClusky and Sollozzo – that’s the moment at which Michael’s fate is ultimately sealed, for me (although I always thought that in the deservedly maligned third outing, the remembered dances with each of the three women – Appollonia, Kay and Mary – represented three opportunities to get out).
Guy recaps and throws in a spanner (The Godfather pt 6)
Reg refreshes his memory of the Lansky book and related matters (The Godfather pt 8)
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