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Tony Grist

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Robert De Niro's Waiting- Talking Italian [Aug. 28th, 2006|09:07 pm]
Tony Grist
The Great American novel is actually a movie- and it's title is The Godfather Trilogy

The first movie is very, very good. If it has a fault, it's that the central character doesn't quite come into focus.  it should be Al Pacino's movie, but Marlon Brando steals it. You could argue that Brando's  mannered performance knocks the film a little off balance, but it's hugely  enjoyable, so who cares?

The second movie is note perfect. Pacino comes into his own. De Niro plays Brando better than Brando does. And lets not forget John Cazale  who makes something wonderful out of poor, sidelined Fredo. It's probably the deepest, most Shakespearian film ever to be made on a Hollywood blockbuster budget. 

The third movie isn't nearly as bad as people say. It's the most ambitious of the three- and maybe that's why  it wobbles.  The script isn't good enough. "This Pope has powerful enemies;  We may not be in time to save him." Yeah right!  But it's got some great set-pieces and if it's unbelievable, so was the (true) story of Vatican skullduggery on which it's based. 

They're three very different films. Will Hollywood ever again bring itself to make an epic as intelligent and morally complex as this? Probably not.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: baritonejeff
2006-08-28 11:40 pm (UTC)
I absolutely second this! Plus The Godfather comes with one of the great film scores of Hollywood, by Nino Rota.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-08-29 08:49 am (UTC)
I love Nino Rota's work with Fellini. He's one of the greatest film composers.
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[User Picture]From: rosamicula
2006-08-29 12:47 am (UTC)
Godfathers I and II are astounding films - boths better than the book they are based on, and about the only film I can think of where the sequel was better than the original.

It's probably the deepest, most Shakespearian film ever to be made on a Hollywood blockbuster budget.

One of my MA dissertations was a comparison of Italian American Mafia movies and Renaissance revenge tragedies.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-08-29 08:52 am (UTC)
Coppola ennobles his mafia dons. They're like Medici princes. I guess this is unrealistic, but it lifts them towards tragedy.
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2006-08-29 05:13 am (UTC)
Will Hollywood ever again bring itself to make an epic as intelligent and morally complex as this? Probably not.

no... but they have made it into a videogame!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-08-29 08:54 am (UTC)
An intelligent and morally complex videogame?

*Shudders*
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[User Picture]From: zoe_1418
2006-08-29 07:18 pm (UTC)
I've never seen any of the Godfather films or read the book they're based on (I've only watched "The Sopranos" through maybe the 5th season, when i couldn't take the unrelentingness of it anymore) -- but your commentary makes me want to see them now. Thankx.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-08-30 10:05 am (UTC)
I haven't been following the Sopranos. I saw the first episode and thought, no, I can't get hooked into this; I just don't want to spend that much time with these people.
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[User Picture]From: zoe_1418
2006-08-30 03:36 pm (UTC)
We really got hooked for awhile. And for awhile it seemed like Tony Soprano might be a redeemable character -- after all, he goes to therapy, and we see some of his better human side sometimes. But after all, this is a series drama...the violence and bad-guy stuff continue and continue... I don't know how they wrap it all up in the last season, but so far I haven't had the courage to find out.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-08-30 04:01 pm (UTC)
This is a problem I have with a lot of long-running series. No early resolution is possible and after a while the story starts going round in circles.
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[User Picture]From: zoe_1418
2006-08-30 04:36 pm (UTC)
Exactly.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2006-08-30 09:37 am (UTC)
The Godfather is almost unique IMHO in being better on the book on which it was based. Puzo is not a great writer
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-08-30 10:03 am (UTC)
I think Puzo's limitations become very clear in the third film. He raises all these big issues about guilt and redemption and can't really think of anything very interesting to say about them.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2006-08-30 07:19 pm (UTC)
The first film is basically based on the book, though the book is more final. The second film had Puzo's imput but I don't know about the third. He was certainly never sole scriptwriter so it might have turned out to be a Godfather pastiche
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-08-30 08:00 pm (UTC)
He's credited as co-writer (with Coppola) of Godfather III.

Mind you, Hollywood writing credits aren't worth the celluloid they're printed on.
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