We were discussing at an extended family meal week before last how the Godfather trilogy was quality drama – perhaps Godfather II being the weakest. Sylvia and I recalled and discussed it further for some reason over the weekend and noticed we had only a VHS recording of the trilogy, and no longer any video player – so we resolved to obtain a DVD set of the trilogy.
Night before last Godfather III was showing late, 2 hrs 45 mins ending about 01:20 on a commercial-free, free channel – so I watched it … out of sequence as it were. I guess it must have been some sort of director’s cut, becuase there were extended and additional scenes not quite how I recall them. It was and still is excellent.
That silent scream in the penultimate scene – haunting – more haunting than its immediate cause, the death of daughter Mary. Michael really had gone straight – as legit as a capitalist with a history can be anyway – in the whole Part III plot. Every cross with the dark side was his being dragged back in by those still involved with the family history, and his involvement based on balancing duties.
The touch points with real contemporary history add to the drama – God’s Banker and the election and death of Pope John Paul I and so on – like the Batista overthrow in Godfather II, but now I digress. The “weak” aspect of III is surely the loose-end tie-up of the final scene with Michael dying of old age, visually mirroring his father “the” Godfather’s own death, except that Michael is alone, without heirs to continue his business – padded with nostalgic flashbacks. (Already inevitable without that unnecessary explicit final scene, but magnificent aside from that.)
[Post Note : We did get the trilogy set on DVD, and after III above, watched I, II & III again over three nights. In fact an annual trilogy re-watch has become a family tradition, usually between Christmas and New Year.
Would still say II is the weakest overall. III has some flaws but is excellent, and I remains the original that works standalone. The weakness of II is the complexity and scale – which makes for a grueling exercise in concentration as a single film, both prequel and sequel over a massive sweep of four generations – yet content essential to the reality of the trilogy plot, its historical and political complexity. Who can we trust?
As I say, the whole trilogy is a magnificent morality play, worth some study methinks. Intriguing also to see the characters and actors playing them that survive the 90 year history across all three films, and those that don’t. Apparently the bonus DVD has bio’s and timelines of both characters and players.]