Friday, June 13, 2008

The Godfather part 1, the movie

I think I may have seen The Godfather movie over a dozen times by now. I also read the book, I guess close to the time it was published in 1969, and definitely before it was a movie.

My first time to see it was in Brazil in the early 1970s. I went with my parents, and had to use my older sister's American driver's license because I wasn't old enough to get in, even with my parents. Maybe that was a Brazilian thing, because I'm sure it wasn't X rated in the States*. I've never forgotten the scene with Sonny's wife at the wedding, a scene that would only make sense if you had read the book, where she shows with her hands the size of his package. That's one of those book-to-movie issues - the director can put a picture in to show something the author wrote, but only the actual words on paper can describe it for you. (Otherwise you might think she had been fishing, unless you read the book and learned Sonny was hung like a horse and had a hard time finding women to accommodate him.)

PD likes this movie a lot, so it gets pulled off the shelf for re-viewing often when we're between Netflix picks. Now that I know it by heart, the scenes seem to come too fast - it seems too early when Don Corleone is shot and hospitalized, too soon when Sonny is murdered, Michael's marriage to Apollonia seems too rushed. And I still think the horse's head scene, while grisly, just doesn't do justice to the way Mario Puzo describes it in the book. The horse's head is too small, and the white blaze isn't the same as on the horse they show.

That's the thing about books made into movies - it's the director's vision of the story. No - it's the director's vision of the screenwriter's vision of the story. However, it's been almost 40 years since I read it, and only 1 day since I watched the movie. They did do a good job of recreating Puzo's story, actually, and it's a good movie, if gritty and violent. Of course, the actors and the acting are incredible - a whole slew of silver screen greats - Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton. 5 stars.

*I see that the movie was released in 1972 - it's possible I saw it in Mexico instead, since we moved to Mexico from Brazil in October of 72. I just can't recall, but it seems it took months for movies and music to be released in Brazil after the Stateside release. It's an unimportant detail to anyone but me, who remembers it being Brazil... I even have a clear memory of going in after holding my breath to see if they would accept my sister's driver license for identification.

No comments: