Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Godfather - comments

I am convinced that any further discussion of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice/Neocon disaster is fruitless. Far more than enough has been said. It is now time for some serious action. As nothing seriously seems to happen along those lines I suggest we now either put up or shut up. Either we rescue our Republic or we give it up for a dictatorship.

As a distraction, a few comments on The Godfather, the movie and the book. I have just now read the book for the first time. Usually when I see a motion picture based on a well-known book I assume that the book will be much better than the movie. In this case I am not so sure. It is most interesting that Puzo maintained all along he was writing a book for the sole purpose of making money. It is equally interesting that Coppola said he made the movie only so he would be able to then make movies he really wanted to make (another example of sheer commercialism). And yet, between the two of them they managed to make a great motion picture that will no doubt remain as a classic.

What I find most interesting about this is that there are large sections of the book that do not appear in the movie, and there are very important situations in the movie that do not appear in the book. For example, the bits about the relationship of the family to the Senator, including the famous blackmail scheme, are not in the book. Similarly, the relationship of Michael to his wife, Kay, is totally differenct in the book than how it is portrayed in the movie. The character of Fredo is quite different in the book and he is not murdered by his brother. All of the Cuba scenes and situation are absent in the book. Vito Corleone's revenge attack on the man who tried to kill him as a boy is completely absent in the book. At the same time many of the best scenes in the movie are taken directly from the book. The wedding ceremony, the death of Sonny, the offer that couldn't be refused, Luca Brasi, Michael's murder of the police captain, the death of Michael's Italian wife, and many others.

So what does one make of this? I don't know that it matters a great deal. But I think this is a rare case where the movie is much better than the book. The movie manages to mostly ignore the rather blatant sex (which clearly was written to make money), although there is some sex in the movie. The story, I think, is much more tightly organized in the movie than in the book. The movie, with the exception of Diane Keaton, is very well cast. The supporting actors are all first rate. The flashback to the emergence of Don Corleone I think was superb. In short, I like the movie better than the book. The book comes across as a rather obvious attempt to titillate and make money. The movie much less so. But, what does it matter what I think anyway? Enjoy both the book and the movie. And try not to think about our current pretend Godfather who comes across more like the village idiot.

1 comment:

Shamim said...

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