The Godfather Thread

..and why not?
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Davey the Fat Boy
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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 02 Feb 2007, 21:29

Wolfie the Jackal wrote:...is anyone out there going to try and defend Part III?


I don't have the time to go into detail (you can all breathe a sigh of relief) - but I do think it gets a bad rap. It's a good film. It isn't on par with the other two...but how many films are?
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Postby Sneelock » 02 Feb 2007, 21:32

hell, I like RFK and the Yardbirds! what do I know?

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Postby Stirling Moss » 02 Feb 2007, 21:34

davey the fat boy wrote:
Wolfie the Jackal wrote:...is anyone out there going to try and defend Part III?


I do think it gets a bad rap. It's a good film.


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Hmmmm.

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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 02 Feb 2007, 21:49

Wolfie the Jackal wrote:
davey the fat boy wrote:
Wolfie the Jackal wrote:...is anyone out there going to try and defend Part III?


I do think it gets a bad rap. It's a good film.


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Hmmmm.


Obviously not a great actress. But not awful enough to deserve the drubbing she gets for it.
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Postby Sneelock » 02 Feb 2007, 22:28

I think I drub him more than her. I really felt like he should have known better. now, I'm not so sure I wouldn't have rolled my eyes nearly as much had it been Winona Ryder and I usually like her pretty much.

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Postby Stirling Moss » 02 Feb 2007, 23:10

Sneelock wrote:I think I drub him more than her. I really felt like he should have known better. now, I'm not so sure I wouldn't have rolled my eyes nearly as much had it been Winona Ryder and I usually like her pretty much.


If Winona and Bobby Duvall had stayed in the cast, it would've been interesting.

marios

Postby marios » 03 Feb 2007, 03:59

nathan wrote: It can be argued that most of the world problems are created by men.


Or God.

It's a vicious circle really.

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Postby James R » 03 Feb 2007, 05:49

Matt Wilson wrote:This is actually the first time I've ever read someone say either part one or two was too long.
Further consolidating my belief that the international attention span is getting lower all the time...


It's not a matter of attention span, it's a matter of being able to justify extending something to a certain length. One of my favourite films is Heat, from which I would cut about one scene from its 170-minute length. Conversely, I could take The Good Shepherd (which I saw the other day) and scissor about thirty or forty minutes from its similar length. It didn't, at least in my opinion, have enough material to justify running nearly three hours, and neither (again, in my opinion) does Godfather Part II have enough to really warrant being nearly three and a half hours long.

For what it's worth, another of my favourites is Abel Gance's Napoleon, which (in the 1981 American version sponsored, funnily enough, by Francis Ford Coppola) runs just under four hours, or about half an hour longer again than Godfather Part II.
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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 03 Feb 2007, 07:06

moleskin wrote:
davey the fat boy wrote:
Jeemo wrote:Michael has no heart to balance his actions. Vito looked after the local people, Michael ignored the problems that Frankie P and Willie Chi Chi were having in Godfather ll because it didnt tie in with his plans.

In fact Michael was a sell out to money and power. Although in 3 he did try to redeem himself


Hmmm... I imagine Vito could be pretty ruthless to get where he was. He advises Michael to do much of what happens. Besides - I think Michael has heart in his way. He is always motivated by the desire to protect those he loves and cleanse the family name. On the other hand, both you and the RGP made a similar observation about Vito helping the local people (or 'building his empire from the ground up") - this seems important. Vito built up a profound resevoir of loyalty around himself. He was part of a community. Michael was profoundly isolated.

In the opening scene, just after the monologue above - Vito refuses to take money from the guy. All he asks is friendship and the promise of a service he may never even collect on. Vito may have been a crook, but he likely stole from everyone but his community. He lived the ethos of "don't shit where you eat." Michael wasn't even part of his community. Just as most of us don't know our neighbors any more.

I'm not sure that "community" provides the entire answer, but it seems to be a huge part of it. The natural question that follows is: Could Michael have done things any different and survived, or was he forced into his isolation?


Don't forget, Michael was effectively born into the isolation. Sometime during his childhood the family moved into the compound. He probably never had the same links to the community his father did.


Excellent point. Michael didin't so much isolate himself. That was his father's will.

That brings us to a whole other major theme if the film - Michael's struggle for control of is own life. I think some of us talked about it once on another thread, but the final moments of part 2 seem to focus on this idea. After Fredo goes off on his fishing trip, we suddenly find ourselves in an extended flashback to what seems to be both the hours after Pearl Harbor and Vito's birthday. Sonny walks in and introduces Carlo for the first time, then Michael shocks everyone by announcing that he has enlisted - this enrages Sonny and Tom Hagen mentions that he and Vito have discussed Michael's future many times. Michael is contemptuous of the notion that his future should be a subject of conversation in his absence. Vito arrives and Michael is left alone at the kitchen table. The film flashes back yet again to a shot of Michael as a baby. He is in Vito's arms and they are pulling awy on a train. Vito is controlling Michael's hand, making him wave as if he were a puppet. Then a quick shot of Michael as an adult again in silent contemplation - and that's the ed of the film.

It should also be noted that throughout the film it is clear that Vito has "other" plans for Michael than to follow in his footsteps. As he puts it, "Governer Corleone, Senator Corleone...just wasn't enough time." Vito's disgust upon hearing that it was Michael who killed Saluzzo and McCluskey is yet another indication that his dream was to see Michael pull the family name into respectability. Therefore Michael's personal isolation as he pulls the family away from the streets and into the boardroom is a direct result of his acceptance of his father's ambiton for him and their family. In that sense, Vito has essentially left Michael effectively damned by his own desire to transcend his history.
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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 03 Feb 2007, 07:07

James R wrote:
Matt Wilson wrote:This is actually the first time I've ever read someone say either part one or two was too long.
Further consolidating my belief that the international attention span is getting lower all the time...


It's not a matter of attention span, it's a matter of being able to justify extending something to a certain length. One of my favourite films is Heat, from which I would cut about one scene from its 170-minute length. Conversely, I could take The Good Shepherd (which I saw the other day) and scissor about thirty or forty minutes from its similar length. It didn't, at least in my opinion, have enough material to justify running nearly three hours, and neither (again, in my opinion) does Godfather Part II have enough to really warrant being nearly three and a half hours long.


I think it says enough to justify 20 hours.
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Postby Sneelock » 03 Feb 2007, 07:50

I could lose Val Kilmer from "Heat" entirely and not miss him in the least.

The Modernist

Postby The Modernist » 05 Feb 2007, 06:53

davey the fat boy wrote:
To my mind, Michael's isolation is a pretty good metaphor for what became of America in general. His family built up success by earning the loyalty of their community, but at a certain point the community stopped mattering. It probably barely existed anymore as people moved to the suburbs, stopped using public transportation, and became more and more fragmented. After that the only thing that mattered anymore was "the family" or "corporation." It's a colder world all around now that we don't know our neighbors, or even live in the same state as much of our family.


The Godfather is certainly in part about American Capitalism. This is most obviously displayed in the "boardroom" scene where the heads of the families meet ("we are not communists after all...") which is almost a parody of an AGM. Then there are the constant references to them as businessmen ( "it's not personal, it's just business").
The greed and ruthless acquisitiveness of the family are meant to be a mirror image of how 'legitimate' business works.

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Postby geoffcowgill » 06 Feb 2007, 01:03

How much of what makes Michael different from Vito, and by possible extension the whole family, can be chalked up to his military experience? Vito and his ilk are immigrants who "believe in America", but Michael is an American who's been indoctrinated into the melting pot of the Army and has even been fighting against his people's countrymen. Vito dreams of Michael being a politician, but he doesn't anticipate the soullessness that a complete immersion in the mainstream American culture, complete with WASP wife, creates. Michael's idyll in Sicily, where the fantasy of his father's culture is literally blown up in front of his eyes, only sends him running to that cold blue of America in the 1950s.

I'm not sure any of that made sense, but I thought I knew what I was talking about when I started.

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Postby Matt Wilson » 06 Feb 2007, 16:02

davey the fat boy wrote:
James R wrote:
Matt Wilson wrote:This is actually the first time I've ever read someone say either part one or two was too long.
Further consolidating my belief that the international attention span is getting lower all the time...


It's not a matter of attention span, it's a matter of being able to justify extending something to a certain length. One of my favourite films is Heat, from which I would cut about one scene from its 170-minute length. Conversely, I could take The Good Shepherd (which I saw the other day) and scissor about thirty or forty minutes from its similar length. It didn't, at least in my opinion, have enough material to justify running nearly three hours, and neither (again, in my opinion) does Godfather Part II have enough to really warrant being nearly three and a half hours long.


I think it says enough to justify 20 hours.


Forget it, Davey.
You're talking to a man who prefers Heat to The Godfather 2.

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Postby Carl's Son » 09 Apr 2007, 19:38

I just watched The Godfather for the first time ever.

It's a good film, although for me, despite the famous 'day of my daughters wedding' speech and the horses head scene, it doesn't really get going until Vito gets shot about 25 minutes in.

My favourite bit is when Michael visits his father in hospital. The whole sequence is great, from Michael listening to the footsteps echoing on the stairs, then waiting on the hospital steps, pretending to have guns, the other guy's hand to shakey to light his cigarette, then the brilliantly sleazy cop slugging him round the face.

It's a brilliant, empathetic five minutes so that even when he becomes more ruthless later on the audience can't turn against Michael because they've seen that, and the famous restaurant scene of course. The other good scene is Vito's death.

The bomb in the car took me completely by suprise. I didn't know Diane Keaton was in it either.
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Postby Zong » 09 Apr 2007, 20:16

Chris Chopping wrote:
The bomb in the car took me completely by suprise. I didn't know Diane Keaton was in it either.


She wasn't. It was Michael's Siciallian wife who got blown up.

Diane Keaton played Kay Adams his american wife.
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Postby marios » 09 Apr 2007, 20:39

Zong wrote:
Chris Chopping wrote:
The bomb in the car took me completely by suprise. I didn't know Diane Keaton was in it either.


She wasn't. It was Michael's Siciallian wife who got blown up.

Diane Keaton played Kay Adams his american wife.


I think he meant "in" the film, not "in" the car.

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Postby Carl's Son » 09 Apr 2007, 21:03

Yes, sorry, two seperate, unrelated statements, put too close together. I didn't realise Keaton was in the film.
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Postby Zong » 10 Apr 2007, 08:25

Chris Chopping wrote:Yes, sorry, two seperate, unrelated statements, put too close together. I didn't realise Keaton was in the film.


Now one of us looks stupid! :x
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Postby sensi » 10 Apr 2007, 11:54

Sneelock wrote: my turn: how would Vito or Sonny have dealt with Fredo? the same as michael or differently?


Sonny valued family above everything...he would have knocked Fredo about a bit personally (not getting someone else to hit him)...but he wouldn't have killed him...I can't believe Vito would have killed his own son...not with all his family being killed in Sicily.

Vito would have been devastated by what Fredo had done but I seriously don't believe he would have killed him...I believe he would have disowned him or banished him and left it at that...not like Michael making him appear to feel safe...I don't believe for a minute Fredo felt that Michael had forgiven him.