The Francis Ford Coppola classic turns 50, whether you see it in Dolby or on Blu-Ray.
In 1972, Francis Ford Coppola adapted Mario Puzo’s novel into a trilogy with the first two being the best and the third one being polarized. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, it will be released in Dolby theaters, but you know what? It doesn’t make a difference how you see it, how you hear it, and how you sit down. It’s a classic movie that was able to expand its horizons. And for those of you who read my website, I have a saying: “I care less about the format and more about whether the movie is good or not. “
The best performance in “The Godfather” comes from Marlon Brando. He plays Vito Corleone (“The Don”), a mafia boss, who must keep the family business in tact. His accent, make-up, and character development makes him a first-rate character, and the movie itself is first-rate.
Among his children, the youngest is Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), who ends up in Sicily, when he kills his father’s assassin, a heroin dealer (Al Lettieri). Back home, he reunites with his old flame (Diane Keaton), who has grown tired of waiting for him to contact her. Pacino is excellent in the film in countless ways. He also has to help his father finish what he has started.
Another one of Vito’s kids is Sonny (James Caan), who serves as the acting mafia boss, because of Vito’s condition. He gets killed after attempting to attack his brother-in-law (Gianni Russo) for abusing his sister (Talia Shire). Caan couldn’t be even more perfect.
And he’s adopted, but is still promising. Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) is a lawyer, who tries to convince a Hollywood producer (John Marley) to let Vito’s godson (Al Martino) have a part in a movie. When the director refuses, Tom is forced to haunt him, by placing the head of his prized horse in his bed. That is my favorite scene regarding Hagen, and Duvall plays him very well.
“The Godfather” is a movie so beautiful, so pulsating, and so violent, for a new generation of movie-goers, you have to see it to believe it. The performances from Brando, Pacino, Caan, Duvall, and Keaton are undeniably perfect, and can do no wrong. I can’t say the same for Sofia Coppola when we get to the third movie, but she’s the least of our troubles.
It also has started a tradition for some of our favorite gangster movies from “Scarface” to “Goodfellas” to “The Irishman,” and even the hit HBO series “The Sopranos.” These kind of crime dramas are about the scope and humanity of the characters, that is if some of them have humanity, because of the people they shoot and kill. But they aren’t consumed by that. “Mad Dog Time” was the one consumed by that, which is why you should skip it, as advised by Siskel & Ebert. But if you handle the genre in the right fashion, you can sense the style and attitude of it.
About this new generation of movie-goers, I have faith that they’ll make smart choices, because of how they disliked Roland Emmerich’s “Moonfall,” which wouldn’t make a difference when it was shown in Dolby or IMAX, because that movie sucked, and there are those who seek pure entertainment in “Licorice Pizza” in theaters or “The Power of the Dog” on Netflix. The point is that if they do decide to see “The Godfather” in Dolby or online or any format they have, they can still see the pure cinematic wonder inside, and keep pushing themselves toward its sequels.
In Dolby Theaters This Friday