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Author Topic: The Godfather Thread  (Read 10615 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2012, 07:53:05 AM »

Once I get past #6 (except for DeNiro) I don't remember any of them, I haven't seen the films in quite a long time, and the last time I did it was the 3rd installment.

 I believe you remember Don Fanucci; that's the character played by Gastone Moschin  Wink

« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 07:57:17 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2013, 03:20:24 PM »



“Any family who hides the boy Vito,” yells a man with a shotgun standing on the church steps “will regret it!” Dawn is breaking in the frightened village. Meanwhile, the hunted child makes his getaway under the noses of the pair of hunters, and they are disguised literally as hunters in their rustic corduroy suits and caps. Vito, hidden in a basket carried on the back of a donkey could be in a blasphemous re-enactment of the flight into Egypt to escape the slaughter of the innocents. The animal clatters in front of the church with a goat companion and exits down one of the alleys flanking the church.



Many years later Vito has returned, taken vengeance on his family’s killer and stands on the steps of the same small Baroque building as the tiny piazza fills with a Palm Sunday congregation spilling from la chiesa. In his arms the multiple murderer holds his youngest son Michael as another donkey saunters by. Indeed all his natural children are present including the doomed Sonny and Fredo on this trip back to the old country.

The same church appeared briefly in the previous film in the trilogy for just a few seconds, but such is its strangely powerful presence it seems to symbolise a whole idea of a village, an archetype of superstitious rural Sicily itself as the fugitive Michael strolls past in care of two bodyguards dressed as hunters with guns, just like his father’s tormentors. “Corleone.” one of them declared in a previous shot, the one who will later betray him, waving in a short montage of the place Michael has hiked to see, the hard but beautiful sun drenched land his father was born in and fled from and where he will spend a dangerous idyll, the village the mob clan was accidently named after on Ellis Island in New York. We see it one last time in Part III when many years later Michael and his ex-wife Kay visit Corleone once more, this time a joyful wedding bursts from the church as they arrive, an ironic reflection of their disastrous union.

This church however, which appears only briefly in five shots in a trilogy of films made over a twenty year period is not where the film makers would have us believe it to be. This only architectural constant in all three Godfather films is not in Corleone, now a large, ugly, overdeveloped modern looking town, but in Forza d’Agro, a tiny medieval hill village perched 1377 feet up on a coastal cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea.



To the north are the Straits of Messina and the mountains of the toe of Italy, Calabria. To the south is the stunning coastal holiday resort of Taormina. Across the valley to the North West also perched on a hill is the even smaller settlement of Savoca where the majority of the Sicily scenes were filmed. Behind the town steep hills rise up to Monte Kalfa where goatherds sing across misty landscapes to each other.


Straits of Messina


Monte Kalfa

You see nothing of these views in any of the three films however. Co-writer, director and producer Francis Ford Coppola brought his cast and crew all the way to Forza d’Agro to focus almost entirely on one mid shot of the church of Santissima Annuziata e Assunta, and for these brief moments the building exemplifies a mythical ideal, it’s decorative scrolls, flaming urns, scallop shell and winged doors and windows all typical of Italian Baroque architecture.



For me watching THE GODFATHER and THE GODFATHER PART II over the years it had become an icon (of the appalling 3rd movie the kindest thing to say is that it should never have been made). Who knows why we chose such icons, places which so intrigue us when seen in a film, painting or photograph? In mediaeval times vast populations would risk their lives to make arduous journeys to distant places to gaze upon and worship the bones of some saint (of usually dubious provenance). In April, wrote Chaucer, “Then do folk long to go on pilgrimages” so in April, pricked by Nature to ramp and rage I made my own pilgrimage to Forza d’Agro to see the place myself, a stone and brick star in two of the greatest films to be produced in the United States in a decade which saw an embarrassment of cinematic riches flow from its shores.

When I arrived I was lucky, there were no cars parked outside the church, a rarity I discovered. I had the place pretty much to myself as I strutted along the small flight of steps just as the hunters had. I imagined Robert De Niro standing here in that busy sun drenched shot, jutting out his jaw in imitation of Marlon Brando, dressed in his flashback Sunday best surrounded by palm waving extras and the donkey trotting by.

I went into the church, nobody there. The interior seemed huge; the façade of the building, hemmed in on its tiny piazza is deceptively compact.





Built apparently in 1707, architect un-named or unknown, to replace the previous one built in the 400’s which, this being Sicily, collapsed in an earthquake. There was an organ loft and a sculpture of Santa Caterina d’ Alessandria. I imagined the American cast and crew wandering round the place too, out of curiosity amid the tedium of setting up a scene for the Technicolor camera. I said a silent thank you for the pilgrimage to the god I didn’t believe in and went outside to study the “reverse shot”, the scene you never see, from the point of view of the hunters, of Al Pacino and De Niro and Diane Keaton in Part 3.


Reverse shot

I could picture Coppola standing beside Gordon Willis’s camera in the piazza surrounded by the usual assortment of crew watched by the two little winged angel faces carved from tuffa above the church door. On one of the piazza walls was pasted a funeral announcement. A local lady had been sent off from the church the previous week. She was just fifty five but in the already fading photograph she looked much older possibly through illness or a hard life up here on the mountain, certainly there are no shops in Forza d’Agoa apart from a little pharmacy. The other businesses were hotels and restaurants and a single bar and gelateria.   

I spent the night in the village and after a gigantic meal even Coppola or Brando couldn’t have finished I strolled round listening to the frogs and crickets croaking and chirruping in the valleys below and an owl hoot loudly from the steeple of the other main church in the settlement. I had to leave early in the morning to head back to Palermo, a journey which took all day. It was pouring with rain while I waited at the station in Sant ‘alleseo Siculo after exploring the deserted beach. High above me on its peak Forza d’Agro appeared and disappeared through drifting clouds of mist and drizzle with its church pretending to be Corleone, the one I’d come all this way to see. The train arrived and I looked up for one last time but the village had vanished. It was the day after my fiftieth birthday.












Piazza Giovanni XXIII


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« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2013, 10:34:00 PM »

Excellent stuff Juan. Thanks for sharing. Afro

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« Reply #33 on: June 08, 2013, 04:37:32 AM »

Nice images

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« Reply #34 on: June 08, 2013, 01:31:20 PM »

btw, I have looked through cast lists on imdb and Wikipedia, and have not seen the name of the person who played Don Cicio ( the Mafia head in the town of Corleone who killed Vito's family, and whom De Niro kills at the end of GF2). Does anyone know who that actor is?

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0798077/

"Ciccio" is common diminutive of Francesco.

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« Reply #35 on: September 25, 2013, 05:33:03 AM »

The two movies in one?
Vito sequences vs Michael sequences.


Precisely....the movie should´ve been made into 2 separate films. The Vito sequences are way too much and it compromised the integrity/duration of the Michael scenes.  Why have the crux of the film when Michael finds out the betray of his brother in a 5 minute seedy cuban strip show were Friedo spills the beans "Oh.......Hyman Roth would never take us to a place like this"

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« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2013, 06:00:20 AM »

yeah, Roger Ebert has criticized the use of the flashback scenes in GF II http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-godfather-part-ii-1974

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« Reply #37 on: September 25, 2013, 09:13:01 AM »

yeah, Roger Ebert has criticized the use of the flashback scenes in GF II http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-godfather-part-ii-1974
Well, that IS a relief. Now we know we are licensed to think that way.

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« Reply #38 on: September 25, 2013, 02:09:05 PM »

I'm quoting Ebert because I agree with him here; it's easier for me to provide a link to what he wrote than to repeat the reasoning  Wink

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« Reply #39 on: September 27, 2013, 05:07:40 PM »

I heard that The Godfather Saga that was aired on tv back in the 70´s was shown in full chronological order with deleted scenes slotted in.


Anyone here have any idea where I can purchase this version?  Preferably with the longest cut.

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« Reply #40 on: September 27, 2013, 06:09:06 PM »

I don't know if it's on video but it turns up on television a lot.

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« Reply #41 on: September 04, 2014, 08:17:25 PM »

I just bought the BRD boxset, The Coppola Restoration, all three movies (plus a fourth disc of bonus features) in one boxset.

I haven't watched any of the discs yet, but I have read DVD Beaver's page on the movie http://goo.gl/V3JXO4 plus a separate page of screencap comparisons http://goo.gl/NvZgOw.
The movie looks very different from previous DVD's.

is this really (closer to) how the movies looked when first released? or is it just Coppola making the movie look as he wants it to look today?

(we've been discussing color accuracy of BRD's so much RE: GBU recently, I actually wondered if I should just mention it in the GBU thread rather than bringing it up here .... but hey, this is The Godfather Thread  Wink )

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« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2014, 08:00:56 AM »

just saw the BRD of GF1 & GF2 for the first time.

on GF1, there are a few scenes where the color changes from one cut to the next. Like the scene in the Corleone home where Michael first announces that he is going to kill McLuskey and Solozzo; the camera is on Michael, then it cuts to Tom, then cuts back to Michael but it looks yellow. I don't know if this was a screwup by the camera people or if maybe those frames were damaged over the past three decades

Otherwise, the BRD's were real nice to look at.

----

A while ago, I discussed how many great characters there are in GF1&2, but now I have to add that IMO the one glaring flaw in GF1&2 (besides for disliking the flashbacks in GF2, as I discussed previously) is the two main actresses, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire; I thought they were both awful and cringed every time they opened their mouths. (Again, I am only talking about their performances in GF1&2; I don't remember their performances in GF3, cuz I only saw that movie once and it was quite a while ago.)

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« Reply #43 on: May 05, 2015, 05:02:39 AM »

Groggy:

I was looking through this thread and came across a question you asked a while ago, on the second page of this thread, that I hadn't answered. To summarize the conversation: n_l had mentioned that he didn't like the script of GF2, you replied that you did like it, and then went on to criticize the writing of GF3:
If you're complaining about nonsensical writing how can you defend Godfather III? There you have to deal with an incestuous romance, yet another old friend of the family out for revenge, a convoluted and ridiculous scheme involving the Vatican and slimy bankers, a team of hitmen not introduced until the final reels... if you think about it, the story makes next to no sense.

and in response to your complaint about "a convoluted and ridiculous scheme involving the Vatican and slimy bankers," I replied, "Wasn't that partly based on true events?" To which you replied, "How's that relevant?" I never replied to that question of yours, but I will now:


(IF - and this is a big "if – for argument's sake, the movie is indeed depicting, reasonably accurately, the real-life Vatican/Immobiliare scandal), then that is very relevant because then you can't complain that this incident is "ridiculous." When you used the term "ridiculous," I assumed you meant as in "contrived" or "not believable." I don't see how you could say that about a story that actually happened.
Maybe I am not understanding your complaint correctly. Can you please explain specifically what you think is "ridiculous" about the Vatican/Immobiliare incident? I don't mean to harp on the definition of one word (and I certainly am not out to defend the script of – or anything else about – GF3), I just want to understand what your complaint is, simply because if you are complaining that it is not believable, then I don't think that is a fair complaint on a story that actually happened ....

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« Reply #44 on: May 05, 2015, 05:09:48 AM »

In regard to the problems with GF3:

In the book Al Pacino: In Conversation with Lawrence Grobel http://goo.gl/1kkWq5 Pacino talks about how what he thought really hurt GF3 was that Winona Ryder and Robert Duvall were not in it.

(I believe Ryder withdrew shortly before filming began – she was to play the role that eventually went to Sofia Coppola – because she was exhausted after having just finished a grueling filming schedule on another movie, and just didn't feel like starting another movie then; and Duvall wanted more money than the studio was willing to pay. I am not certain as to the reasons why they did not appear in the movie. And I can't recall for certain whether Pacino mentions any other causes for GF3 not living up to the previous Godfather films. But I do remember very clearly Pacino bemoaning the fact that Ryder and Duvall were not in the movie.)



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