Godfather Alert!


#21

Yes, in that situation, I agree.


#22

It doesn’t surprise me because his movies were largely ignored after “The Passion of the Christ” because the lefties in follywood were basically “black-balling” him. If Ron Howard had directed this movie, you can bet he would have been nominated as well as the movie for an Academy Award and likely would have won. I think it is one of the best movies I’ve seen. You really have to watch it more than once.


#23

At the risk of pissing off some of my brethren, I’m going to give my strong opinion on the overall portrayal of Mafia people in the GF series.

While CT has a much better handle on some of the nuances of Italian heritage than I could EVER have, and how some of these little details come through in those movies, I am pretty confident that I have a good handle on the larger scale Mafia personalities myself . . . from having worked along side some of them in South Philadelphia, and in fact “befriending” (no, not respecting, more like knowing in depth) an actual Mafia “soldier” while I was in the Marine Corps.

THEY ARE NOT AS PORTRAYED IN THOSE MOVIES. That portrayal was a huge and fantasy-filled glorification of these people. They are NOT honorable. They do NOT have a “moral code”. They are NOT sympathetic to the downtrodden. They are NOT loyal.

Charismatic? Maybe. Sharp dressers? Maybe. Charming? Like a rattlesnake and much more lethal. Trustworthy? Definitely NOT.

They are ruthless thieves and murderers that would murder their own mother if they saw an advantage to it. It was just about money and survival, NOTHING else. Any Mafia member that trusted another member was just an accident waiting to happen . . . a cement shoes accident.

A wise and long-lived Mafia member constantly looks over his shoulder 24/7/365 and does not trust ANY boss, underling, or “associate”.

What FFC and Mario Puzo did was interspersed some truth with a lot of fantasy (Puzo BTW was a simple bank teller, who wrote the book at his kitchen table based on SOME of his childhood and adolescent experiences).

I DID like the movies, but only as “entertainment”, and NOT an accurate portrayal of how those people were.

Again, there was some truth in it (like some of the nuances that CT talked about), but by and large it was a romantic fantasy depiction of the lifestyle.


#24

I’m pissed all right! might be time to bring back Queen Sourpuss (as if anyone cared…)

ok, so basically you are saying, “no honor among thieves…”

that is important if true, because GF does portray a number of main characters as having some “compartments” in their lives in which they behave honorably. If the movie didn’t do that, audiences would not be able to identify with or care about the characters. (Jack’s point, and I presume yours, is that there is some moral hazard in that.)

Do you have the same feelings about “The Sopranos”? I never watched it, but I imagine the same criticism could be leveled at that series.

I still like GF for many reasons, one being that it illustrates Lord Acton’s epigram, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” When Vito first begins to rise to power in his neighborhood, he is** helping the poor widow who has nowhere else to turn. And he remains a faithful husband and loving father. But as time goes on and he becomes more powerful, his life gets more and more “dirty.” Even then, he tries to draw the line at drug dealing, but the pressures put on him are enormous.

Michael, too, is an honorable man at the beginning of the film, and even when he is sucked into the family business it is for honorable reasons–his love of his father and desire to protect his family. but the more powerful he becomes, the more paranoid and ruthless he becomes.

the music in GF is perfectly “attuned” to what’s on the screen. When Michael shoots Sollozzo and McCluskey, there is just a brief burst of music right after–but the music expresses horror. More than in any aspect of the scene where Sonny is killed. At first I thot, “Sonny’s death was more tragic, the music should have expressed that.” Eventually I realized that the horror creeps into the Sollozzo-McCluskey murder scene because that is the point at which Michael takes an irreversible step. There is no turning back after that. A soul may have been lost to God.

I will still watch GF next weekend with your and Jack’s caveats in mind. I still consider it one of the all time great movies. The theme of it and also The Road to Perdition–which seems to be the Irish mafia–howcum they’re always Catholic?!–is summed up in a scene wherein Sullivan’s crime boss says to him, “There are only murderers in this room! Michael! Open your eyes! This is the life we chose. The only guarantee is that none of us will see heaven.”


#25

Nailed it, BobJam.

Let us take for example the characters of Vito Corelone and his son Michael Corelone.

Michael Corelone was an un-repentant brother-murderer and un-repentant murderer of
his sister Connie’s husband and father of her children. Regarding the murder of his
brother Fredo, Michael replied to the priest who was trying to get him to confess in
GF III, “What good does it do to confess if I don’t repent?”
[Note: With the money-power and political-power of the Corelone family, and Michael
had control of all that, Michael could have found another way besides murder to protect
the family from his brother Fredo and Connie’s husband.)

Vito Corelone was an un-repentant cold-bloodied murderer and an unrepentant
heart-willing seller of hard drugs.

I use the word “un-repentant” because Puzo and Coppola who built these characters
do not have them repenting of their murders, their whoring and pimping and all their
other gross sins and crimes against God and society.


Vito.

Vito the unrepentant heart-willing seller of hard drugs who made it crystal clear
that he was morally willing to add the selling of hard drugs to his large scale illegal
pimp activities and his large scale illegal gambling crime organization. Here it is:

Sollozzo came to Vito to offer him a business proposition. In exchange for
Vito’s one million dollar investment in the selling of hard drugs, Sollozzo
would give Vito a generous cut of the profits.

Vito answered “No” to Sollozzo and then explained his answer. Said Vito
to Sollozzo the hard drug dealer: “It doesn’t make any difference to me
what a man does for a living you understand.”
Translation: I have no moral
problems with you or I selling hard drugs.

Vito then went on to explain what kind of problem he did have with the
selling of hard drugs. He explained that the judges and politicians that
he had bribed with money, viewed his large scale whoring operations
and his illegal gambling operations as a harmless vice, but that they
would look at drugs as a dirty business and he would no longer be
able to keep them bribed and contented if he was to enter the business
of selling hard drugs.


** Vito Corelone as an unrepentant cold-bloodied murderer: **

Vito was the kind of man that would murder another human being for the sole
purpose of advancing another man’s professional career.

Vito’s godson, Johnny Fontane, wanted to be released from his present
contractual obligations so that he could pursue more career-advancing
opportunities, but the existing contract holder refused to release him
from the contract. So Vito, after unsuccessful attempts at money-bribery,
visited Johnny Fontane’s contract holder, and Vito had his hit man Luca
Brasi with him, and in the words of Michael Corelone, “Luca Brasi held a
gun to his head and my father assured him that either his brains or his
signature would be on the contract.”

That’s a murderer’s heart and a murderer’s character. That’s pure Satanic
evil. That’s not justifiable in any sense. That was not to protect the life
or the safety of his godson Johnny. That was a willingness to commit
cold-blooded murder for the sole purpose of advancing Johnny Fontane’s
professional career.


And the only way to put any of that up there in any kind of a "good light"
is to resort to Denial coupled with Rationalization.

Vito Corelone is a presentation of the “beautiful side of evil” by Mario Puzo
and Francis Ford Coppola. Mario wrote the novel and they both together
wrote the screenplay. Much clearer to say, Vito Corelone is their presentation
of the “beautiful side of Satan.” The New Testament pictures Satan as crafty
and deceitful and a being that “masquerades as an angel of light.” (See that
verse at the very bottom of this post.)

Satan masquerading as an angel of light means that Satan has the appearance
of a beautiful side. Satan would make certain that you immediately “liked him”
(Puzo and Coppola make certain that you immediately like Vito and gradually
grow to like him more and more as the story unfolds.)

Satan would make certain that you understood “his side” of the story. We know
that God and Satan had a major “falling out” in Heaven and that Satan was
literally physically kicked out of Heaven. (I saw Satan fall like lighting from
Heaven."__Jesus … and then Revelation’s "There was war in Heaven"
and Satan was kicked out.)

So Satan who masquerades as an angel of light would appear to us as very
likeable, perhaps even lovable, and he would be sure that we heard “his side
of the story” and his purpose would be to get us to first come to "understand"
the decisions he made, and then gradually come to sympathize with them,
and finally to empathize with him. This is precisely what happens as one
watches the Godfather movies (especially GF I and GF II) , they gradually
come to first “understand” the evil murderous decisions made by Vito, then
they come to somewhat sympathize with him and finally to empathize with
him … lol … and at some point in all that Denial and Rationalization, they
want to make certain that you understand that of course we do believe
murder is really really a bad thing. … lol …


Here is that passage on Satan masquerading as an angel of light:

2 Cor. 11:13-15
13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as
apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as
an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade
as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.


“I DID like the movies, but only as “entertainment”, and NOT an accurate portrayal of how those people were.”__BobJam

Me too. I really enjoy watching all three of the GF movies, they are all top quality entertainment, and the acting, the casting,
the dialogue, the screenplay, etc etc are all top quality.

I plan to “go through them again” since this thread has stimulated my mind, and because its been awhile since I have
viewed them. I have lost count of the times I have sat through them all. I amaze my wife because I often speak the exact
words of the coming dialogue before the actors do. My wife always asks, “How can you remember all that stuff?” I reply,
“I have watched this movie one time to many.”

Btw, just because I am aware that Vito is an unrepentant murderer and one of Satan’s goats, does not mean I cannot enjoy
watching GF I and II.

I have never emotionalized these characters and I do not employ Denial and Rationalization in their defense, and I do not
sympathize or empathize with them. GF I, II, and III are studies in the “beautiful side of evil” or I prefer to say studies in
the “beautiful side of Satan” (as explained in 2 Cor. 11:14 up there).

Actually I have ended up with more than just one DVD copy. I often see extra copies of GF I and GF II when I am
rummaging through my stacks of movies looking for a film for the wife and I to watch at our daily evening gathering
in our Living Room.

:diamonds:


#26

All very true, Jack. But, look at the wonderful and intellectual discussion that this movie trilogy has wrought! That’s precisely why I like the GF movies and others that stimulate the intellect. The characters are not just 3 dimensional, but multi-layered and multi-dimensional! Through their characterizations, we learn about ourselves and the human condition. How easy it is to fall into sin! And, how easy it is to rationalize such choices! Hopefully, most of us recoil at watching what can happen when human beings become their own gods. Again, the dichotomy of what the characters presented on the outside and the reality of what was in the inside (the juxtaposition of the baptism at the Church and the murders of the heads of the five families). This discussion is just fascinating!


#27

Patricia,

Amen to all that and very well stated and much appreciated too.


#28

Um…I’m “CT”, not Patricia…sorry.


#29

… lol … I was deeply involved working on a piece, and had to come back to RO to
look up something and glanced at the side bar, saw the post listing, quickly clicked
on it, and in a hurry did not pay careful enough attention to who wrote the post I
was responding to. My error.

CT,

Regarding your post: Amen to all that and very well stated and much
appreciated too.

:smile:

♫ ♪ ♫ ♪

`


#30

yeepers! I issued my “Godfather Alert!” as just a brief PSA (public service announcement). never dreamed it would set off such a firestorm. But, as CT has noted, “it’s been stimulating!”


#31

It just goes to show that most people here at RO can have very differing viewpoints on topics, but still be able to discuss them intelligently and respectfully. I’ve enjoyed this one!


#32

[quote=“patriciareed, post:24, topic:45343”]
ok, so basically you are saying, “no honor among thieves…”
[/quote]Yes, that’s EXACTLY what I’m saying.

[quote=“patriciareed, post:24, topic:45343”]
Jack’s point, and I presume yours, is that there is some moral hazard in that
[/quote]Yes, and I think Jack explained the moral hazard of thinking there is some good in these people very well and I agree with his position. There is NOT (in REAL WORLD, that is) ANY good in the REAL people, no matter how Hollywood portrays them.

[quote=“patriciareed, post:24, topic:45343”]
Do you have the same feelings about “The Sopranos”?
[/quote]Yes, the portrayal is PURE FANTASY.

[quote=“patriciareed, post:24, topic:45343”]
I still like GF
[/quote]So do I, but ONLY as fantasy entertainment that bears NO resemblance to how these people actually are.

[quote=“patriciareed, post:24, topic:45343”]
When Vito first begins to rise to power in his neighborhood, he is helping the poor widow who has nowhere else to turn. And he remains a faithful husband and loving father . . . Michael, too, is an honorable man at the beginning of the film, and even when he is sucked into the family business it is for honorable reasons–his love of his father and desire to protect his family.
[/quote]You don’t actually believe these people are really like that, do you?

All these wise guys have mistresses. They couldn’t care less about their wives or families feelings.

[quote=“patriciareed, post:24, topic:45343”]
I will still watch GF next weekend
[/quote]And so will I, realizing full well that the portrayal is a fantasy glorification of what some have come to believe is actually what these people are like.

[quote=“patriciareed, post:24, topic:45343”]
I still consider it one of the all time great movies
[/quote]You’ll get no argument from me on that one.

[quote=“patriciareed, post:24, topic:45343”]
a scene wherein Sullivan’s crime boss says to him, “There are only murderers in this room! Michael! Open your eyes! This is the life we chose. The only guarantee is that none of us will see heaven.”
[/quote]Do you really think these kinds of people would say something like that? Hollywood screenwriters, yes. But mob people couldn’t care less about religious concepts.


#33

[QUOTE=Jack Hectormann;703645]

Nailed it, BobJam
nailed what? or whom?

Let us take for example the characters of Vito Corelone and his son Michael Corelone.
example of what?

And the only way to put any of that up there in any kind of a "good light"
is to resort to Denial coupled with Rationalization.
I’m pretty sure Denial and Rationalization are not good things.

Vito Corelone is a presentation of the “beautiful side of evil” by Mario Puzo
I’m pretty sure that is not a good thing.

Satan would make certain that you immediately “liked him”
(Puzo and Coppola make certain that you immediately like Vito and gradually
grow to like him more and more as the story unfolds.)
I’m pretty sure that a movie that employs Satanic devices is not a good thing.


so… Jack’s point (correct me if I am wrong Jack) is that (a) the movies portray deeply evil people in a deceptively sympathetic light (“the beautiful side of evil”), and (b) that deceptive portrayal is a moral hazard that can be accommodated only by Denial and Rationalization. this seems a pretty serious indictment of any work of art or even any entertainment.

BobJam’s point is simply that, in his life experience and observation, gangsters do not actually the display the mixed motives and moments of goodness that they do display in the movie.

These are two different points (not unrelated but nonetheless different), to wit:
Jack: the movie shows the bad side of gangsters, but mixes in some good, which morally confuses people by casting a glamorous aura on evil. It is a case study in Moral Relativism. the movie is therefore a moral hazard to the point of being Satanic.
BobJam: the movie shows the bad side of gangsters, but mixes in some good, which is not reflective of reality in his experience. the movie is therefore simply not an accurate depiction of reality, and might mislead some people into expecting the gangsters of their acquaintance to be better than they are. since most of us don’t run into gangsters very often, this is probably not a huge moral hazard. (but we would be wise to heed BobJam’s cautionary observations just in case.)

{I continue to be respectfully curious as to whether shows like “The Sopranos” or any other gangster depictions elicit these same reactions.}

anyway, if I say, okay BobJam I will approach real-life gangsters with extreme caution, and Jack, these GF characters are absolutely terrible people with no redeeming qualities whatsoever and I have no sympathy for any of them in any imaginable circumstance, and probably these movies should never have been made, even though Bob says they are “entertaining” and Jack has seen them so often that (just like me) he can recite the lines–are we then all one big happy family (family, get it? ha! ha!) again? are we basically on the same page?

of course, I might be lying when I say that, but you don’t know that and should give me the benefit of the doubt.

so are we now happily on the same happy page? after all, to quote Jack Hectormann, “it’s just a movie.”


#34

[QUOTE=BobJam;703686]Yes, that’s EXACTLY what I’m saying.

Yes, and I think Jack explained the moral hazard of thinking there is some good in these people very well and I agree with his position. There is NOT (in REAL WORLD, that is) ANY good in the REAL people, no matter how Hollywood portrays them.

Yes, the portrayal is PURE FANTASY.

So do I, but ONLY as fantasy entertainment that bears NO resemblance to how these people actually are.


#35

[quote=“patriciareed, post:34, topic:45343”]

[QUOTE=BobJam;703686]Yes, that’s EXACTLY what I’m saying.

Yes, and I think Jack explained the moral hazard of thinking there is some good in these people very well and I agree with his position. There is NOT (in REAL WORLD, that is) ANY good in the REAL people, no matter how Hollywood portrays them.

Yes, the portrayal is PURE FANTASY.

So do I, but ONLY as fantasy entertainment that bears NO resemblance to how these people actually are.
[/quote] BobJam, for goodness sake what’s with all the CAPS?

it’s a long way from Arizona to the UP, but I have really good hearing. As far as I know, so do most of the folks on this forum. It hurts my ears when I am shouted at. And it hurts my heart too.


#36

The mafia began in Palermo, Sicily in the mid 1800’s. It was a crime syndicate from the get-go, victimizing innocent Sicilians using threats and violence. The beginnings are sketchy as to how it all began, but it is generally agreed that the fall of feudalism in the early 1800’s is what seeded the movement. It seems that part of the problem began because Sicilian authorities didn’t have the power to enforce property laws and contracts. Property owners then hired bandits to protect their properties. Eventually, these “bandits” became involved in other land owners and into the political arena as well.

It is generally accepted that Vito Cascioferro was the first “don” in Sicily. Yes, he was known as “Don Vito” and was born in Palermo, Sicily and was the first to bring the concept of “protection” services to the mafia in the U.S.

From its earliest days, the Sicilian mafia was divided into eight “families” or clans. There have been various “bosses” of each family over its history. Five families eventually took over the eastern U.S., particularly in NYC (specifically Harlem, Lower East Side) spreading into Philadelphia, Boston, and New Jersey. As the years went on, these “five families” dominated the crime syndicate all over the country in 26 major cities. Despite what some politicians like us to believe, the mafia is still alive and well in the United States today.


#37

[quote=“ClassicalTeacher, post:36, topic:45343”]
The mafia began in Palermo, Sicily in the mid 1800’s. It was a crime syndicate from the get-go, victimizing innocent Sicilians using threats and violence. The beginnings are sketchy as to how it all began, but it is generally agreed that the fall of feudalism in the early 1800’s is what seeded the movement. It seems that part of the problem began because Sicilian authorities didn’t have the power to enforce property laws and contracts. Property owners then hired bandits to protect their properties. Eventually, these “bandits” became involved in other land owners and into the political arena as well.

It is generally accepted that Vito Cascioferro was the first “don” in Sicily. Yes, he was known as “Don Vito” and was born in Palermo, Sicily and was the first to bring the concept of “protection” services to the mafia in the U.S.

From its earliest days, the Sicilian mafia was divided into eight “families” or clans. There have been various “bosses” of each family over its history. Five families eventually took over the eastern U.S., particularly in NYC (specifically Harlem, Lower East Side) spreading into Philadelphia, Boston, and New Jersey. As the years went on, these “five families” dominated the crime syndicate all over the country in 26 major cities. Despite what some politicians like us to believe, the mafia is still alive and well in the United States today.
[/quote] and apparently in Italy too (check out my post #1 in thread on Mafia initiation rites in “International Politics.” I was very surprised that these rites were filmed in northern Italy, where I was not aware that the Mafia even had any footholds.


#38

Yeah, they’re all over Italy now. Surprisingly, “Il Duce” did a pretty good job in discouraging the mafia while he was terrorizing the rest of the country. He was a piece of work, wasn’t he?


#39

[quote=“ClassicalTeacher, post:38, topic:45343”]
Yeah, they’re all over Italy now. Surprisingly, “Il Duce” did a pretty good job in discouraging the mafia while he was terrorizing the rest of the country. He was a piece of work, wasn’t he?
[/quote] but gee whiz… he made the trains run on time too… (smile)

actually I know little about Mussolini except that apparently he and Hitler were soul brothers. (and that’s enough!)


#40

Don’t know anything about the trains, but yeah, he and Hitler were kindred spirits. It was when Mussolini and his girlfriend’s bodies were hung up in a town square upside down that Hitler took to the bunker. Hitler admired Mussolini. Don’t ask me why. Mussy didn’t have the Jew hatred that Hitler did.