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The Godfather (1972): An incredibly modern film!

thegodfatherposterc12172921.jpg A classical of the cinema! A timeless masterpiece!

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Passionate by the cinema, I was ashamed not to have watched this film before. I only rent it yesterday night and I watched it with my boyfriend. And what a nice surprise: from the very first minute, this film seems incredibly modern. The first scene sets the stage: the light, the way it was shot, and the dialogues are very contemporary. Moreover this film deals with a timeless and an universal theme: mafia’s families conflicts and payback time.

The synopsis:

The film begins at the wedding of Don Vito Corleone’s daughter Connie to Carlo Rizzi in late summer of 1945 on Long Island, New York. Their, the main characters are depicted: Don Vito Corleone (Marlone Brando) is a powerfull business man in New York that does business with gambling, alcohol, hotels,… Despites his not very traditional methodes to do business (the fact he manages people who, on behalf of him, make « offers people can’t refuse – translate his « employees » threat people with guns to bring to fruition his business – makes him be The Godfather) and in spite of his very privileged relationship with politicians, he doesn’t want to do business with tricky and fordidden things like drugs.

This is the main reason why a war starts between his family and other ones who hold the reins of New York: the conflict begins with the Tattaglia family when Don Corleone, despite the proposition of a huge amount of money, refuses to offer his political protection and financing this family to enable her to start the mass importation and distribution of heroin. Then, as a revenge, Tattaglia family order the assassination of Don Vito Corleone. Don Corleon is serioulsy hurt, but survives from his wounds.

Then one of the 2 sons of Don Vito Corleone, Michael (Al Pacino), the youngest and apparently more naive and less involved in the family’s business decides to kill Sollozzo (who has influence with the rival Tattaglia family) and Captain McCluskey, who is acting as Sollozzo’s bodyguard.

After having killed these two people, to avoid arrest for the murders, Michael is sent to Sicily, where he lives under the protection of a local Mafia. This long journey will be for him an initiation: there he learns more about the roots of his family, he affirms his personnality, and falls in love and marries Apollonia, a local girl. But the same day Micheal learns his big brother Sonny was killed in New York by one of the 5 other powerfull mafia’s families in New York (Tattaglia, Barzini, Tessio, Stracci, Cuneo), Apollonia is subsequently murdered during an attempt on Michael’s life.

Then Michael decides to come back to New York: More than a year later, he reunites with his former girlfriend, Kay (who despite her dislike of The Corleone familly’s business and methodes, is still in love with Michael). They get married. Later, when Don Vito Corleone dies of a heart attack, Michael is now in charge of the familly business. There, he claims, notably to his wife Kay that the family business will soon be completely legitimate.

However, during the funeral of his dad, the Family’s enemies attempt to kill Michael by using a trusted associate to arrange a meeting as a pretext for assassination. Michael, who was warned by his father that these rival families would try to entrap and merder him, arranges the murders of Moe Greene, Philip Tattaglia, Emilio Barzini, Salvatore Tessio, Anthony Stracci, and Carmine Cuneo. He also orders the assassination of his brother in in law, Carlo (Connies’s husband), who was involved in Sonny’s murder.

When Connie and Kay ask Michael if he arranged Carlo murder, « Michael lies, assuring his wife that he had no role in Carlo’s death. Kay is relieved by his denial. As the film ends, she watches Clemenza and new caporegime Rocco Lampone pay their respects to Michael, kissing his hand and addressing him as « Don Corleone. » The door is closed by new sotto capo (underboss) Al Neri, as she realizes that Michael has become the new Godfather. » (IMDB)

My conclusion:

In this first part, the 2 main characters, Don Vito Corleone, and Michael Corleone experience an important evolution: While Don Vito’s vim and omnipotence decrease to death, Micheal affirms his personnality and changes his behaviour. Young, he wanted to be different from his familly, not to be involved in his family business and violent methodes, but finally he kills two people, arranges the murder of 6 people and take the lead of the business familly till becoming the new Godfather.

Marlone Brando and Al Pacino are unbelivably spectacular in this film. They both have a charisma and a imposing bearing.

3 things I’m going to remember:

  1. The glassy-eyed of Al Pacino

  2. « He made him an offer he couldn’t refuse » (Michael to Kay in the beginning of the film explaining her how his father enabled Johnny Fontaine to start his successful singer carreer)

  3. « I spent my whole life not to be careless. Women and children can be careless but not men » (Don Vito Corleone at the end of his life)

 

And you: What are the 3 things you remember about this film?

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