Monday, April 11, 2005

Speaking of The Godfather...

1 & 2 are IMHO, two of the greatest movies ever made. Just hearing the haunting theme tune causes the hair on my neck to stand on end. I get goosebumps.

When The Godfather first came out, I was too young to go & see it. And indeed, had little interest in what I assumed was a generic gangster film.

The newspapers at the time it was released (in the UK anyway) were completely taken with the whole mafia business, giving screeds of copy over to Al Capone, Lucky Luciano & the like as background info to the movie.

Indeed, I was reading a grisly tale of one guy getting "whacked" & bleeding all through his pasta whilst in the back of a hot & stuffy car touring round Scotland with my dad & a mate of his called Bunny Evans. At the time I was trying to drink from a plastic bag filled with warm milk (how they were selling the stuff at the time in Scotland in 1972), and all I could think was that this warm liquid was about the consistency & temperature of blood.

Years later I saw Godfather II at the Naenae picture theatre - they had Sunday night double features that ranged from the sublime (G2) to the utterly rancid (The Chinese Connection). But my mates & I were there generally without fail (which is how come I have seen ridiculous films such as The Carpetbaggers (loosely based on the early life of Howard Hughes & starring the ever-wooden George Peppard), and a bizarre spinoff of that book called Nevada Smith & starring Steve Mcqueen). Not to mention countless crappy kung-fu movies & old westerns starring, of all people, Dean Martin.

Godfather II utterly transfixed me, so that in short order I read the Godfather novel & then caught up with the earlier movie too.

And The Godfather is one of those rare occasions that the film surpasses the book in quality. The book, IMO, is pulp trash. The film is magnificent, ignoring most of the sub-plots & focussing square on the Corleones.

Oddly, the Godfather II is one of those rare occasions where the sequel surpasses the original. I will state categorically now, that this movie is the greatest ever made. It also differs from & contradicts the novel.

Both movies, all three really, sport much the same basic structure. A crisis threatens the Corleone family, attempts are made on the Don's life, traitors are exposed & the whole thing wrapped up at the end with retributional multi-whackings.

How simple can it get?

I once read that the first two had been recut into a mini-series tracing the Corleone saga in chronological order. I wonder what that would be like?

I now look forward (following many subtle hints) to receiving the 3 film, Godfather DVD Boxed Set for my birthday.