Saturday, November 29, 2014

Episode 3: The Godfather: Part II - If You Love Me, You Have a Funny Way of Showing It


Star Wars and Jurassic World trailers, killing Jar-Jar Binks, making good things into ultimate things, podcasting via hologram, escaping from the mafia, and Vito Corleone as a god figure.

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6 comments:

  1. I thought I had posted comments here..yikes.

    Lots of great comments on a dense (meaty) pair of films.

    I think the Senator from Nevada's contribution to the story is two-fold. First, he represents the establishment that Vito Corleone wanted Michael and the family to one day become a part of - "I never wanted this for you...someday I had hoped you could be maybe even be a Senator.." (paraphrased - from the discussion when he was telling Michael how he would find the traitor who try to kill him in the first movie). Even the U.S. Senator is a shakedown artist who is at least as corrupt as any mafioso.

    Second, we see that Michael will even have an innocent person murdered if it will help him consolidate his power. It's hinted at that the prostitute in the Nevada brothel was murdered by Michale's right hand man after the Senator is drugged and passes out. They first convince the Senator that he was responsible for her death and then "rescue" him from any consequences of the act buying his loyalty forever.

    Allan, you bring up a great point that I never realized. We do see Vito helping his community in various ways but never see Michale do this..not once. Again we see that father and son are very different Dons. We do witness Vito kill two men but both are "justified" more or less. Don Fanucci is the evil Don in Little Italy, NYC, who was willing to cut the face of the theater keepers daughter if not paid. Don Ciccio is the man in Sicily who has Vito's entire family killed one by one - his mother is gunned down right before his eyes. Michale kills for revenge but also to consolidate his power. As mentioned above, you need not be in his way to be killed...just useful.

    John

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    1. Good catch on the prostitute. I didn't recognize that it was Al Neri in the doorway. I then read that Francis Ford Coppola's commentary explicitly points this out as a counter-example to the accusation that he was glorifying the Corleones' violence. He said, "Look, they're willing to bump off somebody innocent just to put a senator in their pocket."

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  2. I have now completed all three Godfather films and would very much like to hear your opinion on Part III. Although it is decidedly the weakest link, I think it's stronger than its reputation and was particularly moved by Pacino's final performance. Some have argued that he doesn't play the same character we know from the first two films. I could see it both ways but am interested to hear your thoughts. There is one scene in particular where he confesses to a priest that is outstanding, pretty much makes the film. But without giving away too much, I will say the ending is pretty relentlessly bleak. I could have come up with a couple different ways for them to make it still tragic, but with SOME hint of something other than total nihilism. All in all though, not a shabby finale.

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    1. I watched about twenty minutes of the third installment and somehow never ended up finishing it. I could already see some of the differences, but I hadn't gotten far enough to judge it as a finished product. Maybe sometime this summer I'll do that.

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    2. I think that while it's cinematically weakest, in some ways it might provide you the most satisfaction of the three, because it offers some things you were looking for but didn't really get in the first two. I think you kind of have to see it once you've been drawn into the universe, just to get that closure. It also retains the heavy Shakespearian feel that pervades the other two, which as a lit buff I appreciate.

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