In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Francis Ford Coppola’s best and worst rated films, The Godfather (1972) and Tonight for Sure (1962), respectively. Nate experiences one of the worst films he’s ever seen, Austin isn’t a fan of Part III, and Jairo takes on another Coppola.
Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Sydney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957) and Gloria (1999), his best and worst rated films.
Also check out this interview with Francis Ford Coppola about The Godfather:
Tonight for Sure Notes
PLOT: On the Las Vegas strip, two unlikely men rendezvous: Samuel Hill, an ill-kempt desert miner, and Benjamin Jabowski, a John Birch Society dandy from the city.
- Ratings: IMDb 3.2 | RT N/A C / N/A A
- Released: 1962
- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Writer(s): Jerry Shaffer and Francis Ford Coppola (written by)
- Cinematographer: Jack Hill
- Notable actors: Karl Schanzer, Don Kenney, Marli Renfro
- Budget: N/A
- Box office: N/A
- Fun Facts:
- Director Francis Ford Coppola shot the film in a motel room in two days and slept in the same room after filming was done for each day.
- Cast member Marli Renfro had earlier appeared as Janet Leigh’s nude body double in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960).
The Godfather Notes
PLOT: The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.
- Ratings: IMDb 9.2 | RT 99% C / 98% A
- Released: 1972
- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Writer(s): Mario Puza and Francis Ford Coppola (screenplay), Mario Puzo (novel)
- Cinematographer: Gordon Willis (Annie Hall, All the President’s Men)
- Notable actors: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Al Lettieri, Diane Keaton, Abe Vigoda, Talia Shire, Gianni Russo, John Cazale
- Budget: $7 million
- Box office: $245.1 million
- Fun Facts:
- Lenny Montana (Luca Brasi) was so nervous about working with Marlon Brando that in the first take of their scene together, he flubbed some lines. Director Francis Ford Coppola liked the genuine nervousness and used it in the final cut. The scenes of Luca practicing his speech were added later.
- During an early shot of the scene where Vito Corleone returns home and his people carry him up the stairs, Marlon Brando put weights under his body on the bed as a prank, to make it harder to lift him.
- Animal rights activists protested the horse’s head scene. Francis Ford Coppola told Variety, “There were many people killed in that movie, but everyone worries about the horse. It was the same on the set. When the head arrived, it upset many crew members who are animal lovers, who like little doggies. What they don’t know is that we got the head from a pet food manufacturer who slaughters two hundred horses a day just to feed those little doggies.”
- Marlon Brando wanted to make Don Corleone “look like a bulldog,” so he stuffed his cheeks with cotton wool for the audition. For the actual filming, he wore a mouthpiece made by a dentist. This appliance is on display in the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York.
- James Caan improvised the part where he throws the FBI photographer to the ground. The extra’s frightened reaction is genuine. Caan also came up with the idea of throwing money at the man to make up for breaking his camera. As he put it, “Where I came from, you broke something, you replaced it or repaid the owner.”
- The scenes in which Enzo comes to visit Vito Corleone in the hospital were shot in reverse, with the outside scene shot first. Gabriele Torrei, the actor who plays Enzo, had never acted in front of a camera before and his nervous shaking, after the car drives away, was real.
- There was intense friction between Francis Ford Coppola and Paramount, in which [Paramount] frequently tried to have Coppola replaced, citing his inability to stay on schedule, unnecessary expenses, and production and casting errors (Coppola actually completed the film ahead of schedule and budget).
- Marlon Brando did not memorize most of his lines and read from cue cards during most of the film.
- The cat held by Marlon Brando in the opening scene was a stray the actor found while on the lot at Paramount, and was not originally called for in the script. So content was the cat that its purring muffled some of Brando’s dialogue, and, as a result, most of his lines had to be looped.
- The smack that Vito gives Johnny Fontane was not in the script. Marlon Brando improvised the smack and Al Martino’s confused reaction was real. According to James Caan, “Martino didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
- According to Al Pacino, the tears in Marlon Brando’s eyes were real, in the hospital scene when Michael pledges himself to his father.
- The scene where Sonny beats up Carlo (Connie’s husband) took four days to shoot and featured more than 700 extras. The use of the garbage can lid was improvised by James Caan.
- Cinematographer Gordon Willis earned himself the nickname ‘”The Prince of Darkness,” since his sets were so underlit. Paramount executives initially thought that the footage was too dark, until persuaded otherwise by Willis and Francis Ford Coppola that it was to emphasize the shadiness of the Corleone family’s dealings.
- According to Richard S. Castellano, he defended Gordon Willis during a disagreement Willis was having with Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola got revenge on Castellano by making him do twenty takes of the shots of Clemenza walking up four flight of stairs.
Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down – Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0