On Second Thought: “The Godfather”

Nothing is as important as the flagship film, especially in a trilogy. When it comes to a classic, well known trilogy, this rule weighs even heavier than you’d think.

With Paramount Pictures classic film “The Godfather”, nothing could be truer. It’s somehow managed to maintain classic status, and move up on lists of important films ever made. There’s a lot of those lists.

This crime drama stars Marlon Brando (” A Dry White Season”, “On the Waterfront”), Al Pacino (“You Don’t Know Jack”, “Ocean’s Thirteen”), James Caan (“The Outsider”, “Magic City”), Richard S. Castellano (“The Gangster Chronicles”, “Lovers and Other Strangers”), Robert Duvall (“Jayne Mansfield’s Car”, “Crazy Heart”), Sterling Hayden (“Venom”, “Nine to Five”), John Marley (“On the Edge”, “Love Story”), Richard Conte (“A Diary of a Murderess”, “Evil Eye”), Al Lettieri (“Flatfoot in Hong Kong”, “The Night of the Following Day”), Diane Keaton (“Morning Glory”, “Because I Said So”), Abe Vigoda (“Farce of the Penguins”, “Love Is All There Is”), and Talia Shire (“Blue Smoke”, “I Heart Huckabees”).

The film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola (“The Rainmaker”, “Dracula”) and written by Mario Puzo (“The Godfather: Part II”, “The Godfather: Part III”) and Coppola (“The Rainmaker”, “Apocalypse Now”). It is based on the book of the same name by Puzo.

The film originally opened on March 24, 1972.

The film would later go on to be nominated for 11 Academy Awards; winning three and seven Golden Globe Awards; winning five, among several other nominations and wins.

With this writing I am going to officially call it… there’s no hope for me with “The Godfather” trilogy. None. No amount of persuasive talk is going to change my mind. The closest that this viewing has come to doing was allowing me to find this film a bit more fascinating than the previous two viewings. It’s funny, that originally when I saw that the second and third films were on TV, I mused, “If only the first one was on. I could make a day of this film trilogy.” Well, as it turned out, it was, so here we are. And here my thoughts on this film have more or less not changed.

Firstly, as with the later films, it is too damn long! While I can say I was able to focus a lot better and not want to take a nap, I still wasn’t completely hooked enough to keep all my attention on what was happening. I’m of the mindset, that the majority of what happened, could’ve still happened, but under two hours or a little over. An almost three hour long film that moved that slowly only wanted to try and look fancy or something like it.

The set decoration and locations were phenomenal! Everything used added so much color and texture to the film that one could reasonably argue, you felt almost like you were there. Everything just looked so crisp and really told its own story. You got a pretty good understanding of what this families status was and how much they enjoyed living comfortably. For a film like this, that facet of this film is incredibly important.

The acting was interesting to view, especially after going through the sequels first, and then jumping to the original. The later films really show the continued decent into a crazed person seeking power. Here, at least for the standpoint of of Pacino’s character, Michael, you got to witness a man who’s really kind and has his own life, his own interests, and is a far cry from anyone else in his family. There was a lot to like about him at the beginning of the film.

When I watched the film this time, for some reason, I paid a lot of attention to Brando’s character and performance. His soft spoken demeanor only got slightly irritating, but definitely made for a far more compelling character. He had all this power and demanded respect, yet, hardly raised his voice or shouted. I found this just fun to watch as he could be so emotional by not doing all that much, in the ways of showing. Most everyone else was fine with their acting, but they didn’t grab my attention the same way. Finally noticing that Duvall was in this film, I was able to like him more than I did before.

However, just because I end up liking characters a bit more and the entire design for the film, does not mean I’m going to find the tallest building and shout that this is a film that must be watched or considered good. I may like this film a lot more than the other two, which is enough for me, but as far as positive outlooks go, that’s as good as it’s going to get. Me and the these films were not meant to get along. I think, given that I’ve seen this film more than once, I should be given credit for that fact alone. Not many people would bother with even one viewing.


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