The Godfather
1. As we discussed inclass, there are many themes that occur in the Godfather. The first theme that occurs is family. As a viewer can see, the Corleone family is a very tight group of people. Throughout the film, their are two important scenes that show that they keep to family values and are just like every "normal" family. The first scene is in the first scene of the movie. Don Vito Corleone's is holding court at the wedding of his daughter, Connie. The second scene is when Connie's son, Michael, is getting baptized. Also another important value of a family is food. Food represents personal honor and family relationships. There is food when Connie is getting married, when Michael shoots Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey when they are eating dinner, when Clemenza teaches Michael how to make spaghetti, when Sonny yells at Carlo Rizzi during Sunday dinner, when Connie throws the dinner she made, etc. When Connie throws the food, it shows that her marriage is breaking apart. Another theme is the anti-hero. Even though we know that the Corleone family are the bad guys, we root for them because we feel bad for them. We dont' feel remorse when Michael shoots Captain McCluskey and Sollozzo because the Corleones are getting back at them for setting up Don's assassination attempt. We root for Michael when he gives Clemenza the go to kill Carlo. We root for him because Carlo has been abusing Michael's sister and he helped set up Sonny's murder. Lastly, we don't feel bad when Paulie Gatto is murdered by one of the family's hit men. Paulie pretended to be "sick" and could not be Don's bodyguard. The replacement bodyguard, Fredo Corleone, was unable to shoot back at the assassins. It was his fault that Don was shot.  The last theme that occurs is, of course, violence and murder. In total there are 23 deaths. The list of deaths are as follows: the horse, Luca Brasi, Paulie, Sollozzo, Captain McCluskey, Don Phillip Tattaglia, Sonny, Appolinia, Don Vito Corleone, Cueno, Moe Green, Stracci, Bruno Tattaglia, Brazini, Tessio, and Carlo.

2. An Analysis of the Structure of The Godfather, Part One by William Simon talks about the narrative structure of the motion picture, overview of the story, and significance of the culture code in the film. The article opens up with talking about how the representation of violence in the film revolves around family rituals and ethos. The wedding sequence in the beginning functions as an introduction to the working of the Mafia. Also the funeral is a ritual that becomes a front for the Corleone businees. The baptism scene follows immediately after the funeral, which creates the biggest essence of violence. Another important aspect brought up is how the wedding and the baptism involve the product of Connie and Carlo's Marriage. They are both situations for violence in the family. The Corleone's conform to the vigilante myth in that they are shown positively as protecting the weak. the article points out some interesting aspects about how Kay is considered an alien of the family. It is useful to how she is placed in relation to one of the central culture codes of the Italian-American ethos, like giving birth to male offspring. Lastly, the article also states how the film was a lose metaphor for Michael as America. The metaphor suggests that the experiences of Michael throughout the film are a representation of America's post-war history. He emerges as an innocent hero, becoming progressively corrupted as he becomes involved in the family.

3. This article relates to the film through many examples. To show how family rituals and ethos are the representation of violence, let's talk about the marriage of Connie and Carlo. The wedding outside serves as an opposition for the business inside Don Vito's study. The interior study is very dark and the cahracters are sitting in shadows. The garden is bathes in sunlight. While the wedding is going on, Don Vito is inside responding to requests from business men, usually violent reprisals. The funeral becomes a front for conducting Mafia business because one of the family's close friends, Tessio, attempts to arrange a meeting between Michael and Don Barzini in attempt to kill Michael.  The baptism is the most climatic scene of violence. In this scene, Michael has successfully eliminated his five most important rivals. The baptism scene is purposefully structured on edited oppositions. The ceremony is on one hand and the murders of the rivals on the other. To show how Kay is an outsider, the opening shots of her are preceded with shots of Luca Brazzi. He is rehearsing the salutations with which he is about to give to Don Vito. Her first dialogue is to ask Michael who that is, in turn, making her an outsider. Much later in the film, it is revealed that she is working as a school teacher, which makes her a perfect "motherly figure". To show Michael becomes ultimately corrupt and the new "Godfather", there a scenes that show his progress. During the wedding, he is still innocent because he dissociates himself from the family business. He even says, "That's my family, Kay, it's not me." (Internet Movie Database). Michael takes his first steps toward total involvement in the family affairs when he goes to the hospital to visit his father. With the help of Enzo, Michael successfully foils the second assassination attempt on his father's life. A viewer can tell he is not afraid of his enemies because his hands are perfectly steady when he lights Enzo's cigarette. Michael starts to establish himself as the heir, when he shoots Salozzo and McCluskey. Michael's character has developed along with intelligence and courage.  When Don Corleone dies, the stage is finally set for Michael to ascend to power. You see this when he sets up the assassination of his five rivals during the baptism. The montage can be seen as a double meaning. He is not simply standing as Godfather for Connie's son, but also being initiated as the new Godfather of the Corleone family. The final step of Michael's new status of Godfather is played out in a scene with Kay. The scene begins with Connie bursting into the study hysterically accusing Michael of killing her husband. She is led off, but Kay remains to confront Michael about Carlo. This is the first time we see Michael raise his voice and agrees to break the code of his business affairs. Michael lies to her by saying "No" and Kay smiles while walking out of the study. While she is pouring drinks, you can see Michael in the background being kissed on his hands by his supporters and is addressed for the first time as Don Vito Corleone.

4. Francis Ford Coppola does a fantastic job with making the viewer feel that the Corleone family is innocent. You can see this in the first scene of the movie. Don Vito Corleone is holding a kitten. A kitten represents innocence. He also does a good job with keeping the audience in a state of heightened anticipate of each new murder. The viewer knows that murder is awful, but we just want to know who is next. Another well thought out aspect of the film is the lighting. The lighting is able to dramatize and affect how the audience reacts to the scene. An example of this would be in the opening scene when a man is telling a story about his daughter being beaten. The lighting is really dim and dark, until the viewer sees Marlon Brando's character for the first time. The audience can see that his eyes are almost completely blacked out. This lighting gives his character the sense of having a mask and hard to read. The shadows are contrasted with soft light in the room. This illustrates that there is going to be shady business happening and that Don Vito Corleone is dark, but powerful figure. Another important aspect that Coppola uses is a montage when Michael is at his godson's baptism and when the member's of the five families are being killed. Coppola also cleverly used foreshadowing in two scenes. When Luca Brasi goes to Sollozzo's restaurant, there is shot of two fish on the glass window when he enters. This shows that Luca is going to "sleep with the fishes". In a few scenes later, Sonny receives a dead fish rapped up. Lastly, when Kay comes to visit the Corleone's house, she is wearing all red. Red symbolizes death. Not soon after does Sonny get killed. This film's gory action does fit well in it's place in history. This was filmed shortly after the production code was gone and the film industry loosened up about what was in films. Over all, the movie has a good mix of action and love scenes.

No comments:

Post a Comment