Monday, May 31, 2010

70's Cinema: THE GODFATHER

All these years I have thought that Mario Puzo's novel THE GODFATHER was suppose to have been a literary classic. I had never read it, so when i heard from a good source that the book was actually a trashy housewife novel in the vein of VALLEY OF THE DOLLS and Harold Robbins foder, I was totally on board to watch it the film version again. I had seen it about 15 years ago and didn't remember a thing about it. Armed with a THE GODFATHER super fan, I set in to reexamine it and see just what all the craze was about.

First and foremost, Marlon Brando eats this role alive. The way he downplays his power over just about everyone and the entire city, is so amazing. He seems like this super likeable guy, with this simmering evilness just under the surface. As the movie moves forward at a breathtaking speed, the suspense builds like nobody's business. I kept finding myself taken back by just how good this film was and how well it holds up. It took me a moment to realize that this film wasn't set in the 70's. I just thought all mafia guys were sharp dressed men.

The film is a trashy movie, but so well made and the actors devote themselves to making the roles they play so believeable, that you totally get sucked into it and all the pulp feel is washed off, but it leaves a thin film of sleaze that makes the viewer uncomfortable from beginning to end.

It was so interesting to watch THE GODFATHER, because so many films have copied the format. I swear i have seen some of the scenes directly lifted into other films. It changed everything when it came to crime/mafia movies. It basically became the Godfather of mafia movies. You must respect it if you even attempt to make a mafia movie. I wondered what did the actual Mafia think of THE GODFATHER book and movie? I am thinking they pretty much loved it. It exposed some harsh truths about mafia business, but also made it glamorous. Straight boy glamorous that is. Kinda like a VALLEY OF THE DOLLS for straight boys and they deserve that don't you think?

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