Monday, August 1, 2011

The Godfather Commentary - Part 2

At a break, Phila. Reporter George Anastasia  makes the point that the mafia is a bastardization of the Italian family.  Following Oakeshott’s thought, I think you could say that it takes what is primarily a civil association and turns it into an almost purist enterprise association.

9:15 Oh my.  Michael spots Appolonia.  Michael: Kay in my mind, Kay in my mind..and she’s gone. 

I go out for walks all the time, how come I never come across any one that looks like her?

9:28 Oops.  Sonny chases down Carlo, hits him a few times then doesn’t come within a foot of his head with a right cross but Carlo reacts like he’s been hit.  How’d that make it into the final print?

9:31 Appolonia looking pretty good in her wedding dress as we knew she would.  Wedding night scene is altered.  Remember seeing this for the first time with my father sitting next to me.  Kind of spoiled it for this thirteen year old.

9:35  So how’s the Carlo and Connie marriage going.

9:38  Sonny gets gunned down at the causeway. 

This goes right past you the first time you see it and then you realize it is completely improbable.  A staged fight and call which Sonny happens to pick up.  He takes off in his car, bodyguards get in a car and chase after him.  When he gets to the toll there are shooters in the car in front and in back and in the booths.  Mind you this is the forties.  It would be difficult to coordinate this hit today with cell phones. 

How long are the men hanging out in the toll booth waiting for this to happen?  That’d make a great cartoon, showing those guys waiting for Sonny’s car crouched down in the booth, getting up to stretch their legs.  Is that him, is that his car???

And what happened to the bodyguards, did they stop and change a flat?  They’re in the car just after Sonny gets beyond the gate and yet they’re nowhere to be found until well after Sonny has been hit a hundred times.

So given that this hit is completely implausible, I’ve always wondered whether it was intended as an homage to Penn/Bonnie and Clyde.

9:48  Michael teaching Appolonia to drive, and she's wearing a nice blue dress, her hair up.  Oh my squared.

9:50  And that’s it for Appolonia.  Think if I was Coppola I would’ve kept her alive a little longer.  O’K, a lot longer. 
10:00 Don Vito figures out at the bank negotiations that it was Barzini not Tattaglia that has been behind everything.  I wonder if it was Tattaglia’s choice of a peach colored suit that tipped him off.

10:03  Kay: “senators and presidents don’t have men killed”  Michael “who’s being naïve.” 
 Is this intended to show Michael has managed to deceive himself or is it just 70’s, Vietnam commentary sophism?

10:09  So roughly a year after the agreement in the bank, Tessio and Clemenza are being squeezed by Barzini to such an extent that they want to break off from the Corleones.  This is what makes The Godfather a great foreign policy film.  The families are just like nation states.  The agreements that they make are unenforceable except by force.

10:17  Is that Ted Danson as Moe Greene?

Fredo is banging cocktail waitresses two at a time?  Fredo?  Like that Bleaker kid, I didn’t think he had it in him.

10:28  “Now listen.  Whoever comes to you with this Barzini meeting, he’s the traitor.”  Seems kind of obvious, no?  If the meeting is where Michael will be killed, the family member who pushes for it would presumably be suspect number one.

10:33  And the traitor is Tessio.  By the way, a mistake in this movie is having all of the hits that we see handled by Clemenza.  Should’ve had Abe Vigoda (Fish)/Tessio take at least one of them to better establish the character. 

10:40  Antonin Scalia handling the baptism

10:42  And it wraps up with Michael taking care of his enemies.  Michael holds to be bold, be bloody, be quick rather than leading from behind.  Or maybe he’s still really, really mad that they blew up Appolonia.

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