A few years earlier, Paramount had flopped with the Kirk Douglas mob movie The Brotherhood, so execs were skittish. And he said, would you like a rug? And right in front of my eyes, he transformed himself into this character.
the godfather 2 game – The Godfather And Its Godchildren
As Don Corleone calmly explains his idea of friendship” to the undertaker Bonasera, the first nearly full-body shot of the don reveals an unexpected guest: a gray and white cat sitting in Marlon Brando’s lap. The studio wanted Robert Redford or Ryan ‘Neal to play Michael Corleone, but Coppola always wanted Al Pacino. Other actors, like Martin Sheen and James Caan (who would go on to play Sonny), screen tested for Michael. Al Pacino plays Michael Corleone with his mouth wired shut so well because he actually had his mouth wired shut during the filming of those scenes.
In fact, The Godfather almost seems incomprehensible without its food and its significance is emphasized throughout the film, beginning with the opening scene, the wedding of Connie Corleone (Coppola’s sister, Talia Shire), an extravagant event with plates of lasagna, antipasto salad, and a gigantic white wedding cake that’s carried through the crowd of guests.
BIANCULLI: Terry Gross interviewed Mario Puzo in 1996. He died in 1999 at the age of 78. We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mario Puzo’s novel “The Godfather,” which was published 50 years ago this weekend. After a short break, we’ll hear Terry’s interview with Francis Ford Coppola, the director of the Godfather films. This is FRESH AIR.
Mentioning comic books in the same paragraph as Coppola might be hazardous to one’s health , but there exists a period in the Godfather timeline between Mary’s murder and the fade to black at Don Tommasino’s villa that holds potential for one last chapter in the tale of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), one that could be particularly brutal and ruthless (and satisfying) if set against the New York City real estate boom. There were some terribly unsavory people working in that milieu; one of them became president of the United States.
Francis Ford Coppola (who got the job because of his previous movie, The Rain People) wasn’t the first director Paramount Pictures had in mind for The Godfather. Elia Kazan, Arthur Penn, Richard Brooks, and Costa-Gavras all turned the job down. And after filming began, executives didn’t like the brooding, talky drama that Coppola was shooting.
COPPOLA: I did. I had – they were twins, and they were both a little heavy set, and they were the least accomplished of all the boys. My grandfather’s sons were fine musicians and excellent engineers and the – but the twins, kind of, were not. But they were the youngest. And to us kids, we loved them because they – we could always get them to take us to the movies. We could always fool them into driving us somewhere, and they weren’t like Clemenza in that they were favorite uncles but also killers.
The precipitating event of The Godfather is the attempted assassination of Don Corleone by an up-and-comer named Virgil the Turk” Sollozzo, who was mad at the Don because the Don didn’t join him in the heroin business. Don Corleone’s wounding puts Sonny in charge and draws Michael into the family business. I don’t need to continue with a plot summary. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what happens next. If you just came out of a long hibernation, I don’t want to spoil anything.
Bonasera tries to maintain his posture as an upright member of the American community; he doesn’t even drink the whiskey that the criminals put in front of him. But an upright citizen is not what Bonasera wants to be. He wants revenge. He wants blood. And so he comes to seek it from the mobster that he’s been avoiding, the one he’d always thought he should stay away from because he didn’t want to get into trouble.” Don Vito Corleone understands. You found paradise in America,” he says. And then Corleone orders violence done.
Here director Francis Ford Coppola talks about the time the president of Paramount Pictures declared: Marlon Brando “will never appear in this motion picture” unless he works for free, does a screen test and “puts up a bond guaranteeing none of his shenanigans will cost us money.” Coppola tricked the film legend into the resulting “screen test” by describing it as a “makeup test.” Watch the screen test in the clip to your left.
Listen carefully the next time you watch The Godfather, and pay attention to the things you don’t hear. The words mafia,” mob,” and Cosa Botra” never once appear in the film’s dialogue. That’s an amazing accomplishment in a film that’s about organized crime, but there was a specific reason this was done: the filmmakers wanted to ensure the Italian-American Civil Rights League knew that they wouldn’t use these terms in the script.
MARLON BRANDO: (As Don Vito Corleone) We’ve known each other many years, but this is the first time you ever came to me for counsel or for help. I can’t remember the last time that you invited me to your house for a cup of coffee, even though my wife is godmother to your only child. But let’s be frank here. You never wanted my friendship, and you were afraid to be in my debt.
In the 1999 film Analyse This , which starred Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal, many references are made both directly and indirectly to The Godfather. One dream scene is almost a shot by shot replica of the attempted assassination of Vito Corleone (Crystal playing the Don and De Niro playing Fredo). In the 1990 comedy The Freshman , Marlon Brando plays a role reminiscent of Don Corleone. And one of those most unlikely homages to this film came in 2004, when the PG-rated, animated family film Shark Tale was released with a storyline that nodded at this and other movies about the Mafia. Similarly, Rugrats in Paris, based on a Nickelodeon children’s show, began with an extended parody of The Godfather.
Marlon Brando in character as Don Vito Corleone. Factinate is a fact website that is dedicated to finding and sharing fun facts about science, history, animals, films, people, and much more. PACINO: (As Michael Corleone) All right. This one time – this one time, I’ll let you ask me about my affairs.
setting (time) The action spans the twentieth century. The Godfather takes places in the years after World War II. The action of Part II is set in two periods: the 1950s and the early twentieth century. There is also one scene set on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, December 7, 1941. Part III is set in 1979.
You have to remember that they were at this time during the film’s development very seriously considering if they had the right director, and I brought up Marlon Brando … I was told by one of the executives – I shouldn’t say which one probably the Studio President Stanley Jaffe – “Francis, Marlon Brando will never appear in this picture, and I instruct you never to bring him up again.” At which point I fainted onto the floor … My “epileptic fit” was obviously a gag and they got the point. Finally, they recanted and told me that they would consider Brando if I could meet three criteria: one was that he would do the film for “nothing,” one was that he would personally post a bond to insure them against any of his shenanigans causing overages, and the third was that he would agree to a screen test. And I agreed, even though I didn’t even know Brando.
The Godfather stars some big-name actors such as Marlon Brando , Al Pacino , James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton. Made in 1972, the movie was based on a novel by Mario Puzo Together, Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola , and Robert Towne created the screenplay. Francis Ford Coppola went on to direct the movie.
Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Mario Puzo’s bestseller remains the great American epic of the immigrant dream turned family business. These are the real-life mobsters and events that inspired the books and movies. Brando parodied his portrayal of Vito Corleone in The Freshman , a 1990 comedy film.
BG: I watched the Just when I thought I was out” clip earlier, because I’m not re-watching Part III in its entirety any time soon, but it’s so overblown and rapturous in all the wrong ways. For one thing, all I could see was Silvio on The Sopranos doing that scene like the dork he was. Also, it ends with Michael, older Michael, having something resembling a heart attack or a spasm, out of nowhere, in what looks likes desperate melodrama, not the graceful stuff of past chapters. If there’s a silver lining, it’s Sofia Coppola finding directing, doing it damn well, and nearly obliterating collective memories of her performance.
Puzo’s most famous work, The Godfather, was first published in 1969 after he had heard anecdotes about Mafia organizations during his time in pulp journalism. He later said in an interview with Larry King that his principal motivation was to make money. He had already, after all, written two books that had received great reviews, yet had not amounted to much. As a government clerk with five children, he was looking to write something that would appeal to the masses. With a number one bestseller for months on the New York Times Best Seller List, Mario Puzo had found his target audience. The book was later developed into the film The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The movie received 11 Academy Award nominations, winning three, including an Oscar for Puzo for Best Adapted Screenplay. Coppola and Puzo collaborated then to work on sequels to the original film, The Godfather Part II and The Godfather Part III.
Paramount had to feel grateful for the film, as during its production they were in serious financial trouble. Not sure if the movie would be a hit or not, they specifically asked Francis Ford Coppola to add in more explicit violence, so that it would sell better.
There’s a scene in The Godfather where Sonny Corleone is shot and killed by a barrage of Tommy guns at a tollbooth. The scene lasts for less than one minute, but it took three days total to film in order to get it completed. James Caan wore a suit with 127 fake blood pouches inside, and there were more than 400 explosive squibs to get the desired effect of the killing.
The whole arc of Fredo Corleone, the ineffectual middle brother, has become a sort of cultural shorthand; if you’re the Fredo in a family, you’re the useless one, the one who fucks things up for everyone else. This past summer, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo exploded on camera upon being called Fredo,” calling the term an Italian aspersion” and like the N-word for us.” But Fredo isn’t the most evil Corleone; he’s just the least competent one. It’s pretty telling that we’ve all agreed the worst Godfather character is the one who’s just not that good at committing crimes.
Brando as Vito Corleone, don of a New York mob family, is a performance that’s briefer than you remember, but that haunts not just the rest of Coppola’s hugely successful trilogy, but the crime movie in general. Facing new competition and an uncertain passing-of-the-torch to his children Corleone is a representative of an older, simpler world, one that Brando himself had helped to put away, and there’s a deep melancholy at the way he visibly slips away” (IndieWire).
And so on that Saturday morning the friends of Don Corleone streamed out of New York City to do him honor. They bore cream-colored envelopes stuffed with cash as bridal gifts, no checks. Inside each envelope a card established the identity of the giver and the measure of his respect for the Godfather. A respect truly earned.
Mario Puzo’s The Godfather ” is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and writer-director Francis Ford Coppola has marked the occasion by writing the foreword to the novel’s special new edition. Coppola worked closely with Puzo to turn the The Godfather” into the landmark 1972 movie of the same name. The two remained close collaborators on The Godfather Part II” and The Godfather Part III.” Adapting Puzo’s novel with Puzo himself presented some minor challenges for Coppola, who writes in the forward about reservations the author had about scenes that would end up being some of the franchise’s most iconic.
While Sonny flirts with other women and is told to “watch (him)self” by his wife Sandra, one of Vito’s men, Salvatore Tessio (Abe Vigoda), dances with a little girl on his feet during the festivities. Connie collects gifts for her bridal purse (totalling $20,000 to $30,000 “in small bills – cash” according to Paulie Gatto (John Martino), Corleone’s chauffeur).
And right in front of my eyes, he transformed himself into this character. And I couldn’t believe it. And then he started picking up the sausage and eating it. And he just gravitated to the props and was using it to create a kind of Italian-ness the way he did it. And the whole time he was just going like this – he was going (imitating Marlon Brando). He wasn’t saying anything, which was funny because his phone rang. This was his home. His phone rang, and he picked up the phone and went (unintelligible). I said, my God, who was it who called? What are they going to think? But when it was all done, I had this tape and it was quite remarkable.
Almost fifty years ago, a classic was born. A searing portrayal of the Mafia underworld, The Godfather introduced readers to the first family of American crime fiction, the Corleones, and their powerful legacy of tradition, blood, and honor. The seduction of power, the pitfalls of greed, and The Godfather—the epic tale of crime and betrayal that became a global phenomenon.
All of these issues combined to compromise the movie in crucial ways. Michael’s pursuit of the Vatican’s controlling interest in Immobiliare is inelegantly interwoven with the street-level shit-stirring of his nephew, Vincent (Andy Garcia); Duvall’s presence is sorely missed (and George Hamilton possesses zero gravitas as the family’s new consigliere); and 19-year-old Sofia Coppola underplays the role of Mary to the point of somnambulance. But Pacino’s portrayal of a man finally waking up to the moral nightmare of having murdered his own brother is shattering and, despite the aforementioned missteps, Francis Ford Coppola manages to bring the film to a rousing, debt-settling finale. It feels like a Godfather movie. Part III reminds the viewer why these films hold such a prominent place in our popular culture.
PUZO: Oh, in those days – this is when I was a very little kid – that was thought of as nothing. You know, that was like – he was a neighbor, and he wanted you to do it. And you did it because you were afraid of him, because you hope, you know, to – that he would help you out. For instance, the business about the dog being permitted to stay in the apartment – that happened to my family. My mother didn’t want to get rid of the dog, so she went to the local guy of respect. I don’t even think they thought of them as criminals. They were people who had influence the way you would go down to your congressman, for instance.
The godfather trilogy is an exclusive set of movies that will continue to live with humanity, every generation will see them to say, “Oh that was 10 out of 10.” If you watch them you will know that the world that lives inside the underworld is same as the one we live in except that people in underworld are so smart, in fact smartness is the only thing that can keep them there. Don Vito Caroleone’s early life shown in part-II is very well done to show the Don in making, how a kid who couldn’t even tell his name went on becoming a underworld don who keep most senators, judges and lawyers in his pocket. Meeting of don with the so call five families are among most impressive scenes.
Also impressive are Coppola’s recreation of Little Italy in the late 1910s and his editing, juxtaposing the exhilarating rise of Vito Corleone with the depressing decline of Michael Corleone. The movie is preposterously entertaining, telling Puzo’s compendium of old-time Mafia anecdotes with all the gravity of Old Testament epic.