Marlon Brando. Al Pacino. Francis Ford Coppola.
Known as one of the greatest film series in American history, The Godfather Trilogy is an exercise in precise cinematic presentation. The screenplay was adapted from the book of the same name by Mario Puzo who also co-wrote the script with Francis Ford Coppola. The first film in the series features Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) nearing the end of his reign as the “Godfather” and he seeks to transfer power to one of his sons. Character development is not taken lightly in “The Godfather” by any measure. The opening wedding scene is 3o minutes of subtly folding the viewer into the world of the Corleone’s. Vito is fulfilling his duties as head of the family, taking business meetings throughout the event. His mannerism, speech and tone all contribute to the image of an all knowing figure of the crime underworld.
The initial heir of the family was to be Sonny, but due to his anger and propensity for making rash decisions he is not the ideal candidate to assume power. As the movie progresses, many examples of his behavior reveal themselves. He is unlike his father in temperament and the opening scene showcases this by showing Sonny sneaking off to be frivolous with a brides mate. The eldest son, Fredo, as the first scene depicts, seemed disconnected from the family and quite unfit for a life in crime.
My recent encounter with watching “The Godfather” was not traditional . I have seen the film multiple times and have researched many aspects of its production. I decided to watch parts of the film with the sound off. Body movement and language start to speak and the director role of controlling the movie’s pace moves to the forefront of the consciousness. One of your senses, hearing, has been deprived so different brain functions come to action. You see Vito Corleone’s commanding presence from a different angle. You see Michael’s spry nature across his face. Sonny’s tell all anger is instantly noticed by each clench of the mouth. The power relationship take on a new meaning. I would not recommend this if you haven’t actually seen the movie but it can be a new way to revisit a classic.
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Scene Analysis. Here.