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    Godfather, The [26]

    Movie Reviews
    Make no mistake; The Godfather is a good movie, an engaging movie, a strong movie with a great story. Is it one of the greatest movies of all time? All of the actors give great performances. Director Francis Ford Coppola should have gotten the Oscar for best director over Bob Fosse for Cabaret. It surely was one of the best pictures of 1972, although Dirty Harry, Fiddler On The Roof, and A Clockwork Orange are right up there as well. (Blackula and Superfly also from 1972 might not be seen as all time greats.) I think people are enamored of the story, written by Mario Puzo and translated to a screenplay by him and Coppola. Godfather has a double meaning. Vito Corleone is the baptismal Godparent of many of his extended family members. He is also the spiritual and literal head of ‘The Family’.

    There is something intoxicating about power, and the power wielded by the Mafia. The original book by Puzo gives a much better insight into the workings of the mobs and their feudal lords. The Godfather, Don Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando is one of those mob bosses. He is a respected businessman. He does not use violence and fear just for the sadistic joy of it. They are part of business and the hierarchy of a crime syndicate. Santino ‘Sonny’ Corleone embodies the thoughtless, sadistic, and petulant part of some real-life mob bosses. Vito is a man from the old country who took advantage of opportunities in the United States. He is the first generation entrepreneur. His family has no idea of the hardships of building a business from scratch. Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) probably is the most like the Don in understanding the practical side of running the family business. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) gains that understanding during the story, and is the character that grows the most. In the end Michael becomes a Godfather, and also becomes head of ‘The Family’. So he could be seen as the titular character instead of Vito.

    One infamous movie scene in particular is misinterpreted entirely in my opinion. That is the horse’s head in the director Jack Woltz’s bed. In the movie, Woltz wakes up next to the severed head of his prized racehorse. This is seen as a show of power and death threat from the Corleones should friend Johnny Fontaine not appear in one of Woltz's pictures. It is a horrifying scene to say the least. It is probably one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. In the book, the horse’s head in the bed is not a threat so much. Instead it is more of a symbol of the Godfather’s and Tom Hagen’s disgust at Woltz’s pedophilia. This is a more gruesome aspect of Woltz's character that is left out in the movie. In the book, Woltz is having his way with 12 year old girls who want to break into the movie business. The Godfather is very much a family man. I feel that in the story, Vito and Tom would have understood Fontaine's disrespect of Woltz and the personal aspect of not including Johnny Fontaine in a movie. In either case, book and movie, Woltz does not realize that he can play the disrespect card to his advantage.

    This is a great movie. This is not the greatest movie (thus the rating). But I highly recommend renting or owning it. I also recommend the book by Mario Puzo to give more deep background on the characters. {BB}

    Added: June 23rd 2005
    Reviewer: BB
    29 Point Scale Score: 26    [26]

    Related Link (IMDB): IMDB
    Hits: 2088
    Language: english


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