Godfather Alert!


#1

at least I assume this Thanksgiving weekend will be no different from the past several years. TMC–I think–maybe AMC but I think TMC–will show The Godfather I and II several times over the weekend. For Godfather buffs, its another chance to see how much of the script we can recite alongside the actors.

And it’s such a sweet and touching gesture to show it around the holidays!

here’s one of many favorite scenes of mine:

[video=youtube_share;voNs3aHZmQM]http://youtu.be/voNs3aHZmQM[/video]


#2

I always smile when that scene appears.

The suave Fratricide-committing Kin Of Cain has come for his bride, Kay.

He announces to Kay that he is going to be working for his father, Vito C.

Kay: But you’re not like him, Michael. I thought you were not going to become a man like your father. You told me.

Kin Of Cain: My father is no different than any other powerful man …

Kay: Uhh

Kin Of Cain: … any man who is responsible for other people … like a Senator or President.

Kay: You know how naïve you sound?

Kin Of Cain: Why?

Kay: Senators and Presidents don’t have men killed.

Kin Of Cain: Oh? … Who is being naïve, Kaye?

… lol …

Clearly Kin Of Cain’s position is that Senators and Presidents do
have men killed. So Vito C. is George W.? Reagan? Woodrow Wilson?
Nancy Peeloosie?
:freaked:


Well at least Kin Of Cain "did what I could to protect you from the horrors of this world"
heh heh, which meant a little ride on the lake and a bullet to the noggin for poor Fredo.
(I think its safe to assume that Kin Of Cain’s bulldog perpetrated a merciful murder and
put the bullet in Fredo’s brain pan … one can only hope.)

Add: Fredo was not a likable character anyway, for one reason he liked to take Kin Of Cain
and company to live porn shows down there in Cuba, very uncouth, uncalled for, and
unappreciated.


Unfortunately Kin Of Cain was not in a merciful mood when it came to dispatching his
sister Connie’s husband (I forgot the cat’s name) so Kin Of Cain’s bulldog used I think
it was either a thin rope or perhaps piano wire for a necktie for Connie’s husband who
was thrashing about in the front seat of that car looking in vain for a little air … lol …

I didn’t like Connie’s husband either because he “beat up on women” and it was Connie
his wife in particular that he beat upon … Connie who is also known as Talia Shire One
Of The Most Attractive Women On The Planet.

The Lovely Talia Shire

My view: Any punk that would beat up on Talia baby deserves to experience severe sustained
oxygen depravation. Hey I mean I took it personal when I saw those black bruises on Talia’s
face … /grin …

… and of course Sonny’s good strong brisk street thrashing of the “Punk” failed
to create a stoppage decision in the brain of the “punk” who beat her up again (this
beating counts even though the “punk” did it in order to “set up” Sonny for the
"Sonny-As-A-Sieve" Project and the Sonny-As-Hamburger" Project at the Toll Booth
Station.)

… lol …

The Godfather is an excellent study in Moral Relativism.

Such lovable murderers never before graced the big screen.


I own all 3 of the Godfathers, I’ll have to drag them out and go through them
all again and become re-acquainted with some of the most likeable cold-blooded
murderers in all of Hollywood …

:smile:

… of course, “It ain’t personal, its just business.”

… lol …


#3

I think “The Godfather” is the greatest movie ever made. As much as I dislike Marlon Brando, he was brilliant in it. I also think that “Godfather II” falls right underneath the first one. Robert Di Nero was also brilliant as the young Vito. When my grandfather saw the movie on TV, he would always cry at the scene of young Vito coming over on the boat and seeing the Statue of Liberty because that is how my grandfather came to this country–and in rags, too. I think FFC did an awesome job of directing these movies as he intertwined many of his own Italian upbringing and traditions into the movie. His own father played the piano when those guys were holed up with the “mattresses”. His daughter, Sophia, was “Michael” Rizzi being baptized in GFII. She would go on to star in GFIII. Martin Scorcese’s mother was in GFIII as one of the elderly ladies on the street.

I have probably seen GFI and GFII hundreds of times. I never miss either if they are on TV plus I have my own DVD copies.

Here are some interesting trivia about the movie:

  1. Al Pacino almost lost his job a number of times. He retained it once he made the transition from Michael Corleone the war hero to Michael Corleone the Don. The studio wanted other, more popular, actors to play this part, but FFC insisted on giving Al the part.

  2. Talia Shire is Coppola’s sister.

  3. It was Brando’s idea to stuff paper in his mouth to sound muffled.

  4. James Caan was a Jew playing an Italian and Alex Rocco (“Moe Green”) was Italian playing a Jew.

  5. Gianni Russo (“Connie’s” husband, Carlo) is a cad in real life being quite a womanizer and using his “fame” on GFI to impress the ladies. He also had real ties to organized crime.

  6. Lenny Montana (“Luca Brassi”) was in real life as he portrayed Luca on the screen. In the scene where he stutters and stumbles his lines to Don Corleone at Connie’s wedding, was not acted. He was totally off his game having to say his lines in front of Marlon Brando.

  7. Ardell Sheridan (“Mrs. Clemenza”) was the real-life wife of Richard S. Castellano (“Clemenza”).

  8. Richard S. Castellano was the nephew of real-life mobster Paul Castellano.

  9. James Caan and Gianni Russo didn’t like each other and the animosity between them was real.

  10. Robert Duval’s only comment about his performance in the movie was that he wished they would have provided a better hairpiece for him.

  11. Michael Corleone’s first wife (“Appollonia”) played by Simonetta Stefanelli, was only 17 years old at the time.

  12. Paramount producer Robert Evans wanted Robert Redford for the “Michael” part, but Coppola said he was too “waspy”…and rightfully so! Then, Evans wanted Ryan O’Neal for the “Sonny” part…idiot.

  13. Both Marlon Brando and James Caan wore lifts during the filming.

There’s a lot more about the movie, but I’m tired of typing… “Sfortunato!”


#4

[quote=“Jack_Hectormann, post:2, topic:45343”]
I always smile when that scene appears.

The suave Fratricide-committing Kin Of Cain has come for his bride, Kay.

He announces to Kay that he is going to be working for his father, Vito C.

Kay: But you’re not like him, Michael. I thought you were not going to become a man like your father. You told me.

Kin Of Cain: My father is no different than any other powerful man …

Kay: Uhh

Kin Of Cain: … any man who is responsible for other people … like a Senator or President.

Kay: You know how naïve you sound?

Kin Of Cain: Why?

Kay: Senators and Presidents don’t have men killed.

Kin Of Cain: Oh? … Who is being naïve, Kaye?

… lol …

Clearly Kin Of Cain’s position is that Senators and Presidents do
have men killed. So Vito C. is George W.? Reagan? Woodrow Wilson?
Nancy Peeloosie?
:freaked:


Well at least Kin Of Cain "did what I could to protect you from the horrors of this world"
heh heh, which meant a little ride on the lake and a bullet to the noggin for poor Fredo.
(I think its safe to assume that Kin Of Cain’s bulldog perpetrated a merciful murder and
put the bullet in Fredo’s brain pan … one can only hope.)

Add: Fredo was not a likable character anyway, for one reason he liked to take Kin Of Cain
and company to live porn shows down there in Cuba, very uncouth, uncalled for, and
unappreciated.


Unfortunately Kin Of Cain was not in a merciful mood when it came to dispatching his
sister Connie’s husband (I forgot the cat’s name) so Kin Of Cain’s bulldog used I think
it was either a thin rope or perhaps piano wire for a necktie for Connie’s husband who
was thrashing about in the front seat of that car looking in vain for a little air … lol …

I didn’t like Connie’s husband either because he “beat up on women” and it was Connie
his wife in particular that he beat upon … Connie who is also known as Talia Shire One
Of The Most Attractive Women On The Planet.

The Lovely Talia Shire

My view: Any punk that would beat up on Talia baby deserves to experience severe sustained
oxygen depravation. Hey I mean I took it personal when I saw those black bruises on Talia’s
face … /grin …

… and of course Sonny’s good strong brisk street thrashing of the “Punk” failed
to create a stoppage decision in the brain of the “punk” who beat her up again (this
beating counts even though the “punk” did it in order to “set up” Sonny for the
"Sonny-As-A-Sieve" Project and the Sonny-As-Hamburger" Project at the Toll Booth
Station.)

… lol …

The Godfather is an excellent study in Moral Relativism.

Such lovable murderers never before graced the big screen.


I own all 3 of the Godfathers, I’ll have to drag them out and go through them
all again and become re-acquainted with some of the most likeable cold-blooded
murderers in all of Hollywood …

:smile:

… of course, “It ain’t personal, its just business.”

… lol …


[/quote]oh, Jack, here we go again. it seems you are saying that the Godfather is an evil movie because it includes characters who are simultaneously evil and charismatic? but that’s reality. that’s the way the world is. I don’t think the movie promotes moral relativism at all. I am as anti-relativist as they come. and I don’t get a message of relativism from this film. I think it recognizes and examines moral complexity. not the same thing as promoting moral relativism. might seem like a fine distinction but I think I can tell the difference.

and yes, presidents and senators do have men killed.

the horrendous (and brilliant) scene in which Michael becomes a godfather in two (almost, not quite) opposite senses of the word–and he actually does both at the exact same time–the juxtaposition of innocence and violence is harrowing, especially for a Catholic like me. (The discordant music alone is nerve-jangling.) Clearly Michael has not renounced the works of the devil as he says he has.

And yet one does have some–I say some sympathy for him. he never wanted to assume a role in the “family business”, let alone run it. He was sucked into it when his father, whom he loved, was shot and Michael was the only one that could step up to the plate. His father Vito in turn had been almost foreordained to become what he had become, by the brutal shooting in Sicily of his mother, father and brother. In this world, things like that really do work themselves out for better or worse over generations. We are shaped by our backgrounds and nourished by our roots, and we cannot totally escape that.

btw I share your admiration for Talia Shire. in the films, she goes from an innocent airhead, to a wronged (albeit spoiled) young wife, to a jaded roué, to finally a person who embraces responsibility and compassion. and yet she’s always Connie. great character development.


#5

Interesting take, Patricia. Yes, the line between moral relativism and moral weakness is very thin. My grandparents (mother’s side) both came from Italy (not Sicily) on the boats. When they found their way to Chicago, they lived in an area called “Little Italy” which was very similar to the NY area where young Vito grew up. It was a very poor, run-down area of Chicago near to the downtown area…“Taylor Street”. Now, the University of Chicago has improved the area. My grandmother lived right next door to Sam Giancana’s family. He was a thug and his nickname was “Moon or Moonie”. His gang used to hang out at the corner where my very attractive and young grandmother would walk home from school. Of course, they made a lot of noises and made comments to her as she walked by. My great-grandmother (my grandmother’s mother) who was as round as she was tall and spoke very little English came out in her handmade house-dress with an apron around her waist and a wooden rolling pin in her hand. She walked right up to these thugs and screamed at them in broken English, “You som-na beetches! You toucha my daughter and I break-a your face!” They never bothered my grandmother after that. When my grandmother married my grandfather, they were harassed in the neighborhood by other Italians because my grandfather refused to cooperate with the “Black Hands” (mafioso). My grandfather came here on the boat at age 9. He spoke no English and there weren’t any ESL classes available for him. He learned the hard way. He only got up to 5th grade in school and after he married, he went to night school (after working all day digging ditches) for 10 years to get his elementary diploma and high school diploma. He never received one penny from the government except during the depression in the form of “relief” and that was only for a short period. At the time, Chicago was dominated by the Irish (and still is somewhat) and the Irish and Italians have not liked each other for a very long time. My grandfather experienced lots of prejudice because of his Italian heritage. He was passed over for promotions at work many times. But, he never gave up. He had a family to raise and he raised them properly–in “the American fasion”.

Much of what is seen in “The Godfather” and in “The Godfather II” is very close to reality in Italian immigrant lives. One thing that I found very interesting was the difference in the wedding of Connie and the First Communion of Michael’s son. Italian wedding receptions were rarely done in halls or fancy restaurants. My own parents’ reception was in the hall of the Church catered by my mother’s aunts and uncles. Now, weddings and receptions put parents in the hole for thousands of dollars…more sometimes than buying a car. Thus, the sharp contrast of Michael’s son’s First Communion.

Some scenes, which would go unnoticed by most viewers, have significant meaning for Italians. The scene where Clemenza is cooking at the stove with Michael hanging up from talking with Kay. One of the writers of the screenplay used the sentence, “Clemenza browns sausage in a frying pan.” Coppola changed it because he said, “Italians never brown anything–they fry.” The scene where Sandra (Sonny’s wife who was not Italian) walks into the kitchen where Connie and her mother are cooking and makes some comment about too much bread and Connie remarks that she loves bread, and then Sandra saying, “But, how much bread can you eat?” Italians never eat anything without bread–and lots of it. They break pieces off and dunk them in gravy (spaghetti sauce), pour olive oil on bread as a snack, and even fry bread in olive oil with fresh garlic. There is an Italian comedian from Chicago who did a comedy act about going to his Jewish in-laws for some Jewish holiday and he was sitting at the table. He was waiting to eat. He said that they started reading things from little brochures in Hebrew. He said that he was starving and wanted to shout out, “WHERE’S THE BREAD?? I’M ITALIAN! WE NEED BREAD WHEN WE SIT DOWN!!” Of course, you had to hear him say this in a typical Chicago accent.

Anyway, much of what is in the “Godfather I and II” comes from Coppola’s own upbringing.


#6

… lol … “again”?

Do you find that opposing points of view make you emotionally and intellectually uncomfortable?

The issue of animals being self-aware or not self-aware is certainly not a major issue on
the Really Important Matters Of Life List, and neither is a Hollywood movie like
the Godfather series.

I love the movie The Parent Trap, but I have no objections to anyone badmouthing it to
their heart’s content, if they want to do that. Because as Stella’s boyfriend told her when
she leaned over screaming and bit his shoulder while they were watching one of the horror
movies, “Relax Stella, its only a movie!”

… lol …

it seems you are saying that the Godfather is an evil movie because it includes characters who are simultaneously evil and charismatic?

Actually they are characters who are cold-bloodied murderers who made a moral decision
to become cold-bloodied murderers using murder when necessary to protect their crime
operation which as Vito explained in the first Godfather was gambling and whoring (which
means these cold-bloodied murderers were also pimps too) … therefore we have cold-blooded
murderers who were also pimps who were also charismatic lovable characters … lol …

I was just humorously pointing that out in my post 2 up there and its the absolute truth too.


Re the Godfather movies being evil:

  • The Godfather movies certainly did not generally present the Catholic Church in a favorable light.
  • The Godfather movies reinforced the notion that the Catholic Church and the mafia are closely associated
  • The Godfather movies left room for the viewer to conclude that the Catholic Church did not take the hugeness
    and immoral vileness of the Vito Corelone crime empire all that serious
  • Not a single soul left the movie house saying to themselves, "Wow, that movie sure did present the Catholic Church as taking a strong
    clear bold stand against sin, immorality, and organized crime.
  • Rather the Godfather movies left room for one to conclude just the opposite.
  • The Godfather movies did not add a single iota of build-up to the Person of the Lord Christ. Total zero.
    But again, they did manage to cast the Catholic Church in far less than a favorable light.

Yet I have no strong feeling against the Godfather movies anymore than I do (say) 94% of
everything Hollywood produces. Its certainly no secret that Hollywood has contempt (and
possibly even hatred) for Christianity and the Catholic Church in particular. Hollywood rarely
misses an opportunity to paint the Catholic Church in a bad light. I don’t know if you’d call
them doing that evil or not? When they made the Godfather movies they did not present the
Catholic Church as the Catholic leaders would have preferred their church be presented.
I think we can be certain of that much. Is them doing that evil?

but that’s reality. that’s the way the world is.

/Big Grin … That’s true, but that is also true of the post I wrote … lol …
I mean its reality that people do write posts poking fun at (even strongly
criticizing) movies.

Nonetheless I have no serious axe to grind with the Godfather movies
that’s why, in my post 2 up there, I said this:

"I own all 3 of the Godfathers, I’ll have to drag them out and go through them
all again and become re-acquainted with some of the most likeable cold-blooded
murderers in all of Hollywood.__Jack H.

My wife likes to watch them too.

I don’t think the movie promotes moral relativism at all.

The heros of the movie, whom we are subtly led to admire as characters having some good qualities,
are cold-bloodied murderers who will murder their own brother and close friends in order to protect
their crime organization.

They also “run whores” and are therefore pimps with large scale prostitution operations going on. They used
one of their whorehouses to "get blackmail stuff on a U.S. Senator who tried to “shake down” Kin Of Cain
(Michael who murdered Fredo his brother). We are led to believe that the Corelone’s considered the dead
whore killed by the Senator to be worthless seeing as how she was unknown with no known family or friends.
We correctly conclude that the Corelone’s took the dead female and dumped her body in the river or buried
her in an empty field somewhere … lol … these are NOT good people here, these Corelone’s.

and yes, presidents and senators do have men killed.

If so, hopefully not to protect their whore houses and illegal gambling dives and their illegal drugs operations,
which is exactly what the Corelone’s did. Sonny to his father Vito: "Lotta money in that white powder."
Vito’s lawyer, the adopted son, immediately supported Sonny’s pro-drug view and encouraged Vito to
add the selling of hard drugs to their crime organization.

the horrendous (and brilliant) scene in which Michael becomes a godfather in two (almost, not quite) opposite senses of the word–and he actually does both at the exact same time–the juxtaposition of innocence and violence is harrowing, especially for a Catholic like me. (The discordant music alone is nerve-jangling.) Clearly Michael has not renounced the works of the devil as he says he has.

Exactly! But nonetheless even though he has not renounced the works of Satan,
Michael is the lovable brother-murderer throughout the film … he murdered his
brother Fredo and his sister Connie’s husband and he did it "for the family"
to protect them all “from the horrors of this world” … lol …

And yet one does have some–I say some sympathy for him.

Exhibit A ↑

… lol …

See what I mean?

Francis Ford Coppola was successful. He wanted you to feel sympathy for Kin Of Cain because Coppola
presented your mind with “good reasons enough” to like this lovable cold-blooded murderer and to
gradually come to understand him and his motives.

he never wanted to assume a role in the “family business”, let alone run it.

That does not mean he had to murder his brother and his sister’s husband. He could have found a
non-murderous solution. Michael Corelone is not a good man.

He was sucked into it when his father, whom he loved, was shot and Michael was the only one that could step up to the plate.

Same reply. That does not mean he had to murder his brother and his sister’s husband. He could have found a
non-murderous solution.

His father Vito in turn had been almost foreordained to become what he had become, by the brutal shooting in Sicily of his mother, father and brother. (emphasis by Jack)

No.

Vito Corelone made an immoral decision to become a murderer and went on to establish
a huge crime organization. As a young boy he fled to America but later made the decision
to return to Sicily and gut the old man like a fish. I mean he did not have to do that.
It was pure revenge and had nothing to do with protecting himself or his family now safe in
America.

In this world, things like that really do work themselves out for better or worse over generations. We are shaped by our backgrounds and nourished by our roots, and we cannot totally escape that.

… lol … Francis Ford Coppola and probably all of liberal Hollywood would like
for you (and everybody else) to believe that, but that’s not true, no human
being ever has to choose to become a murderer and the father of a crime
organization.

btw I share your admiration for Talia Shire. in the films, she goes from an innocent airhead, to a wronged (albeit spoiled) young wife, to a jaded roué, to finally a person who embraces responsibility and compassion. and yet she’s always Connie. great character development.

Yeah I loved her in the Rocky films.

Cheers.

♫ ♪ ♫ ♪


#7

[quote=Jack Hectormann]Re the Godfather movies being evil:

  • The Godfather movies certainly did not generally present the Catholic Church in a favorable light.
  • The Godfather movies reinforced the notion that the Catholic Church and the mafia are closely associated
  • The Godfather movies left room for the viewer to conclude that the Catholic Church did not take the hugeness
    and immoral vileness of the Vito Corelone crime empire all that serious
  • Not a single soul left the movie house saying to themselves, "Wow, that movie sure did present the Catholic Church as taking a strong
    clear bold stand against sin, immorality, and organized crime.
  • Rather the Godfather movies left room for one to conclude just the opposite.
  • The Godfather movies did not add a single iota of build-up to the Person of the Lord Christ. Total zero.
    But again, they did manage to cast the Catholic Church in far less than a favorable light.[/quote]

This is all true, but only in GFIII. There was a rumor going around at that time that the Catholic Church was involved in some kind of financial mess (I don’t remember exactly what those entailed) and I think Coppola decided to exploit that as part of the trilogy. It certainly did not help the Church at the time, and even provided “credence” to the accusations. He even played into the false conspiracy theory that John Paul I was murdered (he was only pope for 32 days) in order to replace him with John Paul II. Total nonsense.

Coppola did not want to make a GFIII and was more or less forced into it. And, GFIII is considered a flop even now. It was an insult to the greatness of GFI and GFII.

There is no question that the “Godfather” serves to show gangsters as both cruel and human. It shows what can happen when a human being becomes his own god. I think one of Coppola’s genius was the juxtaposition in the scenes of Connie’s baby’s Baptism in the Church with Michael’s capo regimes murdering the “heads of the five families”. Not only does it show the stark psychopathy of the life of crime, but of the hardness of Michael’s heart. Al Pacino played the part brilliantly as his portrayal of Michael showed very little emotion (with the exception of rage) after his transformation when he killed Sollozzo.

I think it was Coppola’s intention to show both sides of the mafioso. The fact that there is two sides is credible because we all have two sides. Thankfully, only some of us employ the darker side.


#8

[quote=“ClassicalTeacher, post:5, topic:45343”]
Interesting take, Patricia. Yes, the line between moral relativism and moral weakness is very thin. My grandparents (mother’s side) both came from Italy (not Sicily) on the boats. When they found their way to Chicago, they lived in an area called “Little Italy” which was very similar to the NY area where young Vito grew up. It was a very poor, run-down area of Chicago near to the downtown area…“Taylor Street”. Now, the University of Chicago has improved the area. My grandmother lived right next door to Sam Giancana’s family. He was a thug and his nickname was “Moon or Moonie”. His gang used to hang out at the corner where my very attractive and young grandmother would walk home from school. Of course, they made a lot of noises and made comments to her as she walked by. My great-grandmother (my grandmother’s mother) who was as round as she was tall and spoke very little English came out in her handmade house-dress with an apron around her waist and a wooden rolling pin in her hand. She walked right up to these thugs and screamed at them in broken English, “You som-na beetches! You toucha my daughter and I break-a your face!” They never bothered my grandmother after that. When my grandmother married my grandfather, they were harassed in the neighborhood by other Italians because my grandfather refused to cooperate with the “Black Hands” (mafioso). My grandfather came here on the boat at age 9. He spoke no English and there weren’t any ESL classes available for him. He learned the hard way. He only got up to 5th grade in school and after he married, he went to night school (after working all day digging ditches) for 10 years to get his elementary diploma and high school diploma. He never received one penny from the government except during the depression in the form of “relief” and that was only for a short period. At the time, Chicago was dominated by the Irish (and still is somewhat) and the Irish and Italians have not liked each other for a very long time. My grandfather experienced lots of prejudice because of his Italian heritage. He was passed over for promotions at work many times. But, he never gave up. He had a family to raise and he raised them properly–in “the American fasion”.

Much of what is seen in “The Godfather” and in “The Godfather II” is very close to reality in Italian immigrant lives. One thing that I found very interesting was the difference in the wedding of Connie and the First Communion of Michael’s son. Italian wedding receptions were rarely done in halls or fancy restaurants. My own parents’ reception was in the hall of the Church catered by my mother’s aunts and uncles. Now, weddings and receptions put parents in the hole for thousands of dollars…more sometimes than buying a car. Thus, the sharp contrast of Michael’s son’s First Communion.

Some scenes, which would go unnoticed by most viewers, have significant meaning for Italians. The scene where Clemenza is cooking at the stove with Michael hanging up from talking with Kay. One of the writers of the screenplay used the sentence, “Clemenza browns sausage in a frying pan.” Coppola changed it because he said, “Italians never brown anything–they fry.” The scene where Sandra (Sonny’s wife who was not Italian) walks into the kitchen where Connie and her mother are cooking and makes some comment about too much bread and Connie remarks that she loves bread, and then Sandra saying, “But, how much bread can you eat?” Italians never eat anything without bread–and lots of it. They break pieces off and dunk them in gravy (spaghetti sauce), pour olive oil on bread as a snack, and even fry bread in olive oil with fresh garlic. There is an Italian comedian from Chicago who did a comedy act about going to his Jewish in-laws for some Jewish holiday and he was sitting at the table. He was waiting to eat. He said that they started reading things from little brochures in Hebrew. He said that he was starving and wanted to shout out, “WHERE’S THE BREAD?? I’M ITALIAN! WE NEED BREAD WHEN WE SIT DOWN!!” Of course, you had to hear him say this in a typical Chicago accent.

Anyway, much of what is in the “Godfather I and II” comes from Coppola’s own upbringing.
[/quote] CT, if you don’t do a frontpage guest blog on your Italian forebears, you should be flogged with wet spaghetti! Wonderful, wonderful stories!


#9

I’m working on something, Patricia. It takes me awhile, but something should be finished in a few weeks.


#10

[QUOTE=Jack Hectormann;703448]… lol … “again”?

Do you find that opposing points of view make you emotionally and intellectually uncomfortable?
esp when I am at odds with someone I usually agree with. It seems like we are at odds at lot lately (sigh).

The issue of animals being self-aware or not self-aware is certainly not a major issue on
the Really Important Matters Of Life List, and neither is a Hollywood movie like
the Godfather series.

but it’s not just the Godfather we are wrestling with here. It’s
…can I as a Catholic approve a work of art that does not present the Church in a very favorable light?

…do I exhibit moral obtuseness when I sympathize to any extent at all with characters who seem to be more violent than they “need” to be? and who make their money from human vice?

and clearly you think the answers are “no, yes, yes”.

I guess to some extent I am just blown away by how well done Godfather I and II were. Everything was perfect to the last detail. The music is fantastic. The sense of time and place that you get is so real. The casting is ingenious. And the story is gripping. I was rooting for Michael to be able to “go straight” which he genuinely wanted to do for the sake of his children.

You say the Mafiosos killed more than they needed to. They would not see it that way because they were still living in an archaic moral code–yes, there was a moral code albeit a mightily flawed one. but a man who did not settle scores would be viewed as fatally weak and his entire “family,” his little empire, would be at risk. It was definitely old testament “eye for an eye” and sometimes then some. They did not kill for the sake of killing, however; someone who was bloodthirsty or even hot-tempered (like Sonny) would just be a loose cannon, a risk to everyone in his Family. that’s why Vito always wanted Michael to be his successor and not Sonny. And that’s why one of the recurring ironic motifs of the Godfather, and of course the subject of much Godfather humor, is lines like, “Tell Michael it was nothing personal. I always liked Michael.”

one thing that I thought was probably very true to actual history was the way Vito Corleone originally rose to power by protecting the weak from exploitation, in a dog eat dog urban environment where the police themselves were often too corrupt to protect the weak, the mafia filled a social void.

no, the Church was not presented in a particularly positive light–or a particularly negative light (except in Godfather III). but again, as a Catholic I recognize that the Church as a very human institution, even with divine inspiration, has often made compromises with power and perhaps at times even supped with the devil–trying of course to use the proverbial long spoon, not always with success. That’s reality. It doesn’t change the enormous force for good that I see the Church as being overall. no, the Godfather wasn’t that movie–the movie about the church doing the right thing. On the Waterfront was that movie! (Ironically the writer of On the Waterfront was Jewish–Budd Schulberg.) The Godfather was another, different movie.

darn it Jack, now next weekend I will keep thinking as I watch I and II, “Shouldn’t I be feeling guilty?” Thanks, Jack! (smile)


#11

I like movies that make me think. That is one reason why I can’t get into “chick flicks” or most comedies. I especially like movies that depict real events like “The Pianist” and “The Longest Day” (of course, I love just about anything regarding WWII). If a movie description uses any of these adjectives: cute, mad-cap, touching, romantic, etc., I generally won’t bother with it. And, the only musical I ever watched and enjoyed was “The Wizard of Oz”. The rest of them I just can’t watch. I don’t like sci-fi, romantic-comedies, horror (with the exception of “Silence of the Lambs”), or anything with Julia Roberts, Tom Honks, Jennifer Garner, or Alec Baldwin. (There’s a much longer list, but I won’t bore you with it.)

That is the reason I enjoy the GF movies. There is a lot there to digest–and not just the story, but the things you mentioned as well. As I said, there are a lot of little things that Italians will notice that others will not. I like picking that kind of stuff out. I like entering into the mindset of a complex human being. I guess that’s why I like shows like “The First 48”, “Intervention” and many crime shows that can be found on the “I.D.” channel. I find the psychosis of the criminal mind quite fascinating.

One interesting note about the end of (I think) GFII is the scene where Coppola takes us back to before Michael enlisted, and they’re all sitting around the dining room table waiting for Vito to get home to surprise him for his birthday. In this scene, Sonny goes off on Michael when he discovers that Michael has enlisted. He is incensed because he sees this as a betrayal because for them, the only loyalty was to the family. Conversely, most Italians are fiercely patriotic and loyal to this country. Neither of my grandparents ever desired to go back to Italy–even for a visit. They had become AMERICANS. My great-grandmother made one trip back and when she returned she said she never wanted to return to Italy again. All of my uncles and great uncles served in WWII. Yes, they were drafted, but they went willingly and with great honor. A few of them received medals for their service. To not serve would have brought great disgrace to the family. So, in this respect, GF shows the disparity between a typical Italian family and that of the mafioso. And, the other thing that this scene shows is how different they all were back then–especially Michael. Michael had made this metamorphosis into the opposite of what he once was. There’s just so much to dig your “teeth” into in this movie.


#12

Uh-oh…the gremlins are back…


#13

Hey Patricia: Have you ever seen Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto”? If you have, what do you think of it?


#14

[video=youtube_share;2u1RrWj4RDk]http://youtu.be/2u1RrWj4RDk[/video]

this is the quintessential film about the church doing what it should always do–standing up against the bullies. The great, unforgettable “On the Waterfront.”

interestingly, in this scene “Father Barry” (Karl Malden) quotes from Matthew 25:31-46… which happened to be the scriptural reading in Catholic churches across the country today, including mine.


#15

Haven’t even heard of it!


#16

I think the Godfather portrays a scenario where there was no justice for certain groups of people at the time and this created a vacuum and a receptive population to a vigilante type force in these neighborhoods. Vito became the person who “the people” went to see when they were being taken advantage of, Vito became powerful enough to demand respect from the political class and the police who saw these immigrants as unworthy scum before he punched his way to relevance.

It was crony capitalism that kept the Italians locked out of most economic opportunity in New York at this time, markets were “protected” by political graft and corrupt law enforcement that in many ways parallels our condition in the United States right now. As in everything, the power that Vito amassed became a much more corrupting force for his “family” over time but I am absolutely sympathetic to the Mafia in it’s original incarnation.

At some point all corrupt political structures get challenged, if the people are the ones who challenge the structure a better structure can take place but when the people cannot or will not challenge the corrupt political structure then a Mafia type opposition will fill that void.

I have often said in an absolutely serious tone that if I had the choice today of trading the corrupt government in my State for a Mafia family even at their worst I would take the yoke of the Mafia over what I endure now. When the Mafia comes knocking they want money, they have no desire to eradicate your ability to support yourself because their prosperity depends on your capacity to prosper. Corrupt political structures have no such concern or reliable motives, the stupid can amass great power in politics.

While I agree that the Mafia are murderers, pimps and thieves I also am absolutely certain that they were then and are now far, far tamer murderers, pimps and thieves than the current political class and far more likely to embrace a coherent concept of Justice.

In fact I would probably not choose"sympathetic" as the word to describe my position regarding the Mafia in the early 1900’s New York, I would have been an advocate for them as I would be today if the alternative is MILLIONS of innocents slaughtered every year, MILLIONS of children deprived of an education and placed on drugs for made up “syndromes”, MILLIONS of honest, hard working taxpayers being driven out of work for a religious agenda and the eradication of all property Rights for EVERYONE.

That said I do not believe that the Mafia is the only “alternative” to what we have today, the best alternative is an engaged, moral electorate who decides that enough is enough but if I had to place a bet on what “alternative” was more likely to manifest I would have to bet on the Mafia.

I like the Godfather movies (not 3 of course) for the same reason I liked “Far and Away” with Cruise and Kidman, I think both captured the reality of living under a state of near hopeless corruption in early American cities and finding a way to overcome anyway.

I rooted for the Corleone’s and I loved watching the corrupt police and politicians who spit on them when they were just “filthy Dago’s” come back crawling once they earned enough power to be feared.

Corruption has a steep price tag, it never stops with the first group who decides to oppress. Movies who manage to capture this (sometimes unintentionally) are prophetic as well as historic, this pattern will repeat.


#17

RET: Interesting points! Even more to digest that I hadn’t discovered! That’s why I like movies like this because it allows the viewer to look at every angle of the story–to sort of have an opportunity to probe the mindset of the characters…to see the world through their eyes. I do not think, however, that I would want to live under their thumbs.


#18

OMGosh!! I would think someone like yourself (anthropologist, etc.) would have seen this movie! I think it is a great movie and have it on DVD, plus I watch it every time it’s on TV. It plays a lot on IFC (Independent Film Channel). Mel made it right after the completion of “The Passion of the Christ”. It is a story about how the Mayan Empire may have disappeared. Very, very interesting. The cinematography and costumes are stunning and all of the actors are unknowns. The guy who plays the main character, “Jaguar Paws” (Rudy Youngblood) is EXCELLENT. It was his first role and he just wanted to be an extra. Mel thought he would be perfect for the main character and he certainly was. If you manage to see it, check out the little girl prophet–amazing little girl. Gibson said that she was just a little girl from one of the villages. Here is a little snippet from it: (BTW, the language is done in ancient Mayan with English subtitles.)


#19

[QUOTE=ClassicalTeacher;703498]OMGosh!! I would think someone like yourself (anthropologist, etc.) would have seen this movie! I think it is a great movie and have it on DVD, plus I watch it every time it’s on TV. It plays a lot on IFC (Independent Film Channel). Mel made it right after the completion of “The Passion of the Christ”. It is a story about how the Mayan Empire may have disappeared. Very, very interesting. The cinematography is stunning and all of the actors are unknowns. The guy who plays the main character, “Jaguar Paws” is EXCELLENT. If you manage to see it, check out the little girl prophet–amazing little girl. Gibson said that she was just a little girl from one of the villages. Here is a little snippet from it: (BTW, the language is done in ancient Mayan with English subtitles.) will definitely check it out–don’t know how I missed it!


#20

Nor would I, but if a brutal tyranny was the only option I would choose the one that operated by predictable Principles.