The Godfather: Part II tells two stories – firstly, the early days of Vito Corleone (played by Marlon Brando in The Godfather and Robert De Niro in this film) as he arrives in America as a child and his rise to power in New York; secondly, Michael Corleone’s (Al Pacino) rise and rise as he has taken over the family after his father’s death.
This was another mammoth effort of a film – two hundred minutes long. And really, it could easily have been two films. Actually, it would have been awesome as a series. Or a couple of series. As a whole, it was long, but great. I really enjoyed this one a lot more than the first. I especially enjoyed the scenes in the early days in New York. Some of the scenes in Cuba lost me a little, but I didn’t mind it too much.
The Godfather : Part II won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Robert De Niro), Best Director (Francis Ford Coppola), Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted From Other Material (Francis Ford Coppola, Mario Puzo), Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Best Music, Original Dramatic Score and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Al Pacino), two nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael V. Gazzo, Lee Strassberg), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Talia Shire) and Best Costume Design.
You know when you leave it too long to watch a classic movie and it means you just don’t quite get what it was all about? I knew I’d watched The Godfather years ago, but I couldn’t remember a lot of it. Which perhaps in itself suggests that this is not the film for me.
If you don’t know (as if you don’t know) Marlon Brando is the Godfather. The head of the mafia family, the Corleones. The film follows him and his family after there is an attempt on his life. Plans are laid and families are against each other. It’s violent and dark.
I understand why it has such a great wrap, but I just didn’t really like it all that much. You know why, I think? I think it is because I am used to long form storytelling, and (despite it being almost three hours worth of film) there just isn’t enough time to tell such an epic story. I am well aware that if it were not for The Godfather, we wouldn’t have The Sopranos. Still, I thank The Godfather for starting it all.
The Godfather won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola). It was nominated three times for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (James Caan, Robert Duvall and Al Pacino), Best Director (Francis Ford Coppola), Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score.
Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) is an ex-boxer thug working on the docks, blindly following the instructions of his older brother Charley (Rod Steiger) and the dock boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb). Then he meets Edie (Eva Marie Saint), the sister of a man who was found dead. Terry knows who was responsible, but it is only after falling for Edie and meeting with Father Barry (Karl Malden) that he starts questioning his life and his role within the organization.
Marlon Brandon really was a fabulous actor. Not necessarily in everything, and not necessarily all the time, but it is in a film such as On The Waterfront that he really stands out; especially against the more theatrical acting of most of the rest of the cast, the acting style typical of the day. There were a few parts in the film where the swelling music was a bit heavy-handed, but again, that may come down to the time of the film.
On The Waterfront won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Eva Marie Saint), Best Director (Elia Kazan), Best Writing, Story and Screenplay (Budd Schulberg), Best Cinematography, Black and White, Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Black-and-White and Best Film Editing and was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Lee J. Cobb), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Karl Malden), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Rod Steiger) and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.