Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Few Scattered Notes On The Godfather Part II

A Few Scattered Notes On  The Godfather Part II 

Question on Godfather 2: 

1...In it, Fanucci tells Vito that if his gang made $600.00 from their thievery, then he should get $200.00 with which to wet his beak. Fanucci tells him that if they didn’t get $600.00, he’ll take less, $100.00.

Am I right in thinking that Vito tells his two guys, Clemenza and Tessio, that Fanucci wants all $600.00 and the two of them argue that all three of them need to come up with $200.00 each with which to repay Fanucci? 

And am I right that after Vito kills Fanucci and gets back the $100.00 he just paid him, pocketing it, (and maybe some other money in Fanucci’s wallet), the source of which is $50.00 each from Tessio and Clemenza, there is no scene in which Vito pays his guys back their $50.00 each?

It’s the first time I think I’ve noticed these details though I may be confused about them or maybe I missed something.

If not, if I’m right, then is there some subtle shading in of a sinister side to Vito, apart from the him obviously  being a gangster?

2...Fanucci’s the exact opposite of Vito,  including being loud and flashy vs quiet, soft spoken and understated; hated and feared by the neighborhood vs feared and loved by the neighborhood; a scavenger of prey vs always “You do me a service and I’ll do you a service.”

3...My view: 1, while an incredible story of panoramic quality with great acting, had amidst the violence a certain rosiness and something approaching adulation—the  quite story book successful multiple murders at the end, for eg, even if juxtaposed with the baptism, it was Michael’s baptism too, in a way—about the material that took away from the realities of the violence and the thuggery; 2 while having all the great qualities of 1, had the reality of the corrupt, empty soullessness of power finally evident in Michael’s humanly empty, utterly ruthless, nihilistic quest for power fully and finally realized in the (needless from any point of view, principled or pragmatic) killing of his brother. 

4....A massive contrast in 2 as well, as I see it, is between Vito and Michael, whose stories are stitched together in the movie and further overlap in Vito being insinuated in every aspect of Michael’s rise to and holding his position of power. As we see Vito throughout 2, aren’t we, as in 1, drawn to him, admiring of him even as he’s a gangster? Part of the romance of 1 is in him, I think. But the story moves inexorably and predominately to Michael. And we grow increasingly estranged and alienated from him as he succeeds to more and more power. He grows jowly and dark and unlovely in that success, almost fanatical in his single minded devotion to business, an emperor in his own mind as he scares his children into obedient docility and demands his sister kiss his hand, which he first seems to offer to her in sympathetic understanding but then we see that that offer is only a prelude to his unspoken demand that she take his hand and kiss it in obedient reverence. You can see 2, and 1 and 2 together, as the movement from Vito to Michael, which is simultaneous of course with Michael’s ascendance, a movement the inner logic of which finds its culmination in the *fanatical*—a word I considered carefully here—murdering of Fredo.

In a nutshell, no romanticizing the reality in 2.

5...P.S. The only clinker in 2, to me, is Diane Keaton. She was ok as peripheral in 1 but is weak in 2. Her last big dramatic scene in 2, the “abortion” scene, wasn’t believable to me. She was trying too hard to act and it look forced. I couldn’t get past that in that scene.

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