The Godfather Review.

Anna Karabachev

                                                            “The Godfather”           

            “The Godfather”  (1972) is a not only a breakthrough in the film industry but also an emotional experience for the audience. It is told through the Corleone family’s views, in a way that the audience feels for the family and their actions. The movie was made from the Mario Puzo best selling novel, which also made a difference in the box office because it gathered many audiences with its breakthrough scenes and suspense. As Vincent Canby states in his article “Moving and Brutal Godfather Bows, “ “Francis Ford Coppola has made one of the most brutal and moving chronicles of American life ever designed within the limits of popular entertainment.” I believe that Canby is correct with his statement because the style of this movie is frightening to watch while also captivating with the emotions and relations of the killers.             

            Marlon Brando had a very interesting youth that in many ways enabled him to play the role as he did. His mother pursued an acting career after recovering from alcoholism and helped Marlon’s interest in the field and his father was a photographer.  Marlon was expelled from school and later moved to a military school, while his sister was in New York moving along with her own acting career. Later in his life he moved to New York and followed his sister’s footsteps and entered The American Theatre Wing Professional School.

            He had many ways to prepare for the roles he played. “The Men” (1950) which was his first movie, involved him being in bed rest at a veteran’s hospital just to get into character. Brando had a flourishing career during the 50s and 60s, until it took a turn because of his reputation. The Hollywood world made him out to be a very difficult star, however it was also speculated that he was not cast in many roles because of activists tendencies, which included the supporting many progressive risky groups at the time. Then Francis Ford Coppola begged him to do a screen test, the studio was against Marlon being cast. However Coppola fought for him and eventually got him as Vito Corleone.

            These experiences that he faced throughout his life enabled him to play this role. He put all of his emotions in to this character with cotton balls in his mouth, a weathered man he was not acting, he was Vito Corleone. His ability to make audiences feel for him when he was the head crime boss was not just a fluke, or just his ability to act, it was the fact the he has an ability to act as well as ability to come across on the screen as a person the audiences feel for. This role was very important it was after his slum in his acting career and he had nothing to lose. After turning down his Academy Award, it was known that he wasn’t acting for the fame or for the awards but to just act because he was a true actor.

            The images that Copolla was able to put on the big screen were incredible. The statue of liberty behind a murdered driver, a baptism occurring during the family taking care of another family, or images of men shot in the middle of a restaurant. The way images are imprinted in the minds of audiences is frightening as well because the Corleones are a family that somehow captures us, and when violent or negative things happen to the family, we are moved. However when they do the same things to the different families, the audience is not as touched. Coppola has an ability to use the images, the cities (New York, Las Vegas, Sicily and Hollywood) as characters themselves. The environment doesn’t change the character from his habits and violent tendencies however it is the backdrop, when we think the character is going to change in Sicily we are quickly shown the blown up car with his new wife in the drivers seat.

In conclusion this movie is important in the 70s for Hollywood. The book and the movie show the Mafia gangs and the wars the families faced, which turned them both into very popular, graphic pieces of history. The actors took time to prepare for their roles as well as the director. “The Godfather” is timeless and the critics from the 70s on have agreed.

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