Revisiting The Godfather (1972)
It’s been about 10 years since I sat back and watched this landmark title. My teenage son hadn’t seen it yet and has slowly been catching up on the classics. Last night I suggested a movie and this is what he settled on. Worked fine for me.
I am always a little jealous of people discovering films I have admired for years and envy their opportunity to see it for the first time. Such was the case last night. Having said that there is always much to see and discover for yourself on repeated viewings.
I think we have all read so much on this film over the years that it’s tough to add any insight but I came away from it realizing that during the course of the three hour running time we are given three personalities sitting in the Godfather’s chair.
Marlon Brando displays a warmth in the role with the wisdom to match. James Caan brings a loose cannon approach that is in your face and never dull. Lastly is Al Pacino as Michael. His Don is cold, calculating and of the three the one I like least.
Of the supporting cast Robert Duvall of course stands out as well as Al Lettieri who would make a name for himself as one of cinema’s leading thugs opposite the tough guys of the day in films like McQ, The Getaway and Mr. Majestyk. Sadly he passed away in 1975 at the age of 47. I think we missed many more intimidating roles from Lettieri who played Brando’s main opponent this time out.
I like the fact that old time Hollywood in the guise of Richard Conte and Sterling Hayden turn up here as well.
Thinking back I guess I saw this for the first time on a VHS rental combined with Part II as well. I vaguely remember it being released to television as a miniseries as well although I never saw it in that form.
You know a film is iconic when 42 years after it`s release it`s still being spoofed. There`s currently an ad on television where a man wakes up with a pinata in the shape of a horses head filled with candy in his bed. The screaming begins. Hilarious.
Lastly I`d like to point out that my Dad takes a certain pride in pointing out that in 1972 when he went to the theater to see this, he walked out. The reason being he couldn`t understand a word Brando was saying. I have heard it said to never judge your parents so for years I’ve just gone on ignoring his comment.