Saturday, June 10, 2006

#15- The Godfather- Francis Ford Coppola- 1972

"I believe in America. America has made my fortune. And I raised my daughter in the American fashion. I gave her freedom, but I taught her never to dishonor her family. She found a boyfriend; not an Italian. She went to the movies with him; she stayed out late. I didn't protest. Two months ago, he took her for a drive, with another boyfriend. They made her drink whiskey. And then they tried to take advantage of her. She resisted. She kept her honor. So they beat her, like an animal. When I went to the hospital, her nose was a'broken. Her jaw was a'shattered, held together by wire. She couldn't even weep because of the pain. But I wept. Why did I weep? She was the light of my life beautiful girl. Now she will never be beautiful again. I went to the police, like a good American. These two boys were brought to trial. The judge sentenced them to three years in prison - suspended sentence. Suspended sentence! They went free that very day! I stood in the courtroom like a fool. And those two bastards, they smiled at me. Then I said to my wife, for justice, we must go to Don Corleone."

The mafia movie. I'm not a huge fan of crime films... just kidding. Something about the cutlure of criminals and crime is very intriguing. It may be the great conflicts and character developments that arise with the morals that are destroyed in these type of films that is cause for intrigue. And if any film blends all these great aspects and at the highest rate of intrigue, it would have to be The Godfather. It's an obvious choice, but it's a great film no matter what. Every aspect of it is sweet perfection.

First I want to talk about FFC. Coppola is an enigma to me. In his career of filmmaking and everyone lauding him as one of the greatest of all time, he had a strange span of excellence. It lasted eight years (more or less.) From the filmming of The Godfather in 72, he filmmed easily4 of the greatest movies of all time (only two of these are on my list, but I still need to see one of them). They include GF I and II, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now. After that, his movies were anything but great. They were decent at times (esp. his segment of New York Stories) or they sucked (Jack, Peggy Sue Got Married and uncredited on Supernova?!?!) Well, we at least got sheer excellence from The Godfather.

Now I want to talk about the acting. Brando at this point was washed up and getting old, Pacino was unknown and everyone else was in the same boat as Pacino. For these guys to all be in a huge undertaking was a dicey move. It was, of course, one of the greatest casting jobs ever. From Diane Keaton to James Caan to Talia Shire to Robert Duvall to Abe Vigoda: you got high caliber actors who were starting there career or saving there careers. Pacino's portrayal of Michael is one of cinemas greatest character developments and conflicts. From courting Kay and trying to keep the straight and narrow to getting sucked into the position of Godfather after the death of his brother Sonny we get facets of a character from all over the emotional map. Brando is at one of his fienst moments as well as the all famous Don Vito Corleone.

Now to the story. It's pretty basic, but the struggle of good and evil and family is so strong and evident in this film that it's rock solid start to finish. The thing about this three hour film is that three hours seems like nothing while watching it. Time flies. And that is because the story sucks the audience into it with great ease. Although the characters are doing unspeakable crimes, we can't but root for them and feel emotionally attatched to them. This is why the performances, the writing and the directing are so perfect. They come together to make a great film.

It's no doubt The Godfather is one of the greatest films ever made.


Meg said...

there must be some fantastic films coming up on this list for the godfather to be so low. i love this movie, and i love pretty much everyone who is in this movie. especially diane keaton. i love her in everything.

Sara said...

I've never seen this. Never really had the interest to, up until this very second. Damn you, now I have to go find a copy of this movie and find time to watch it!