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Methuselah
LSU Fan
On da Riva
Member since Jan 2005
19582 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

To the modern (well, more modern) eye, one of the very, very few problematic aspects of the first two Godfather's was the mythologizing of this particular Mafia family. It was deliberate, obviously, and indispensable to the epic nature of the movies, but it does lead to questions like #2, where we see even the generally-affable Tom Hagen party to something pretty much unforgivable -- murdering someone who wasn't a gangster in order to achieve a goal. It's almost jarring in the way it contrasts with the rest of the movies where hits and criminal activities are primarily perpetuated against people that the movies make no bones about the fact that they deserved whatever happened to them.

But, as people have said, it was made absolutely clear that Michael ordered the killing of the prostitute to get control of the Senator who had just defied him and made no secret of the fact that he disliked Michael (and Italians, for that matter) and intended to make Michael's life trying to get a stake in Nevada difficult.


I think too that it was an indication that things were changing and getting darker. Michael is not Vito and, by the end of II is not even the same Michael as when he started in the business.

In the scene where Tom is talking to Frankie in prison and setting up the "you commit suicide and your family will keep your assets" deal, Frankie says "We were like the Roman Empire, the Corleone family was like the Roman Empire" and Tom kind of wistfully replies: "We were ... once."

I think the whole story is kind of the story of the path of the family from Vito's early struggles but family happiness to Micheal triumphing but ending up pretty much alone and isolated at the end of II after he has Fredo killed."


Bestbank Tiger
Tulane Fan
The Landmass
Member since Jan 2005
43407 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:


I think the whole story is kind of the story of the path of the family from Vito's early struggles but family happiness to Micheal triumphing but ending up pretty much alone and isolated at the end of II after he has Fredo killed."


Yep.

That's why it ended with the flashback scene. Michael was the only person from that scene still alive at the end of the movie.


extremetigerfanatic
LSU Fan
Denham Springs
Member since Oct 2003
4003 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

Michael is not Vito

I'm pretty sure Luca brasi knocked up a prostitute then killed her and threw the baby, his own child, into a fire, or something nasty like that.
That's why he was so loyal to Vito. Literally no other Sicilians would have anything to do with him except Vito knew he could use him.
Vito and Michael both did what was necessary. Killing a prostitute was no big deal to either


Sus-Scrofa
Arkansas Fan
Member since Feb 2013
1799 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

I'm pretty sure Luca brasi knocked up a prostitute then killed her and threw the baby, his own child, into a fire, or something nasty like that.
That's why he was so loyal to Vito. Literally no other Sicilians would have anything to do with him except Vito knew he could use him.
Vito and Michael both did what was necessary. Killing a prostitute was no big deal to either


I always thought it was a frick up with the source material. Not sure the Al Neri in the book would have killed the prostitute.


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randomways
Vanderbilt Fan
North Carolina
Member since Aug 2013
12540 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:


I think too that it was an indication that things were changing and getting darker. Michael is not Vito and, by the end of II is not even the same Michael as when he started in the business.

In the scene where Tom is talking to Frankie in prison and setting up the "you commit suicide and your family will keep your assets" deal, Frankie says "We were like the Roman Empire, the Corleone family was like the Roman Empire" and Tom kind of wistfully replies: "We were ... once."

I think the whole story is kind of the story of the path of the family from Vito's early struggles but family happiness to Micheal triumphing but ending up pretty much alone and isolated at the end of II after he has Fredo killed."


Absolutely. It's the sense of the epic arc of the Corleone family that truly makes the first two Godfathers two of the greatest films of all time, both individually and jointly. GF III, which was so intensely mediocre that I'm not even going to give it the dignity of writing out the sacred Godfather name, tried to offer a proper ending to the epic, so we can't fault the consistency of purpose, just the execution of this purpose.

quote:

Yep. That's why it ended with the flashback scene. Michael was the only person from that scene still alive at the end of the movie.


Are you sure? I don't have time to rewatch, but I had that exact same thought before and recall realizing that Tom was in the scene. Maybe I'm misremembering.

Edit: Yeah, Tom and Connie are both in the scene. I feel a little silly for forgetting Connie because that was the scene Sonny introduces her to Carlo. I knew that, dammit.

Final scene on Youtube

It was a good thought. As I said, I had it too. Almost feels like a missed opportunity on Coppola's part, doesn't it?
This post was edited on 3/7 at 11:37 pm


cssamerican
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Mar 2011
4360 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

It was a good thought. As I said, I had it too. Almost feels like a missed opportunity on Coppola's part, doesn't it?

Nah, I always viewed that scene as a time when everyone was good to each other, a time of innocents. It’s when Vito was controlling everything and in many ways protecting his family.

The ending of III Is the opposite in a lot of ways. Michael’s motives were always driven by doing what he thought what was best for the family same as Vito. But because of his choices he loses that family and dies alone. Whereas is father was loved by his family to the end, it’s what separated the two men.
This post was edited on 3/8 at 4:59 am


H-Town Tiger
Houston Astros Fan
Member since Nov 2003
49078 posts

re: Godfather II questions
The family is 2 things, the actual family (Vito’s wife and kids) and “The Family” the criminal enterprise or business. Vito becomes a criminal to provide for and protect his family. He’s fired from his meager job as a clerk because the mafia boss wants his nephew to have the job. Michael focuses on “The Family” and in the process destroys his family.


extremetigerfanatic
LSU Fan
Denham Springs
Member since Oct 2003
4003 posts

re: Godfather II questions
Michael and Vito were a lot alike, and if apollonia hadn't been killed I think Mike's family v "the family" struggles wouldnt have been the same. Marrying Kay and having his children with her was his mistake. Mike should have had a Sicilian wife, I very much doubt that apollonia's first born would have had nothing to do with "the family" and become an opera singer
This post was edited on 3/8 at 10:23 am


KiwiHead
LSU Fan
Auckland, NZ
Member since Jul 2014
8473 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

I very much doubt that apollonia's first born would have had nothing to do with "the family" and become an opera singer


Hard to say. It was always Michael's objective to have the Corleone family legitimate. That's one of the reasons that he moves the family to Nevada....aside from the casinos


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KiwiHead
LSU Fan
Auckland, NZ
Member since Jul 2014
8473 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

I think too that it was an indication that things were changing and getting darker. Michael is not Vito and, by the end of II is not even the same Michael as when he started in the business.


Michael is too cold blooded in the moves he has to make in order to "protect" his family and in the end he protects nothing, has nothing of real worth.

Vito on the other hand uses violence sparingly and as an ultimate last resort. He's always about making a deal, making accommodations. The only murder you see him commit is the one against Don Fannucci who was exploiting his own people . Vito is beloved by his family and his community because he truly protects them through his generosity and to an extent fairness.

Michael is not beloved, not by his wife, not by his children and not really by his colleagues. He realizes this in III when he asks of the Sicilian Don, why is it that you are so loved, but I am feared?"


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scrooster
South Carolina Fan
Resident Ethicist
Member since Jul 2012
28269 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

Tom Hagen, who comes across as quite likeable as a nonviolent but completely loyal adopted member of the Family, played point on that particular scheme. Reminds you just how dangerous these people really are.



But let's remember, while the movie was shown in the 70s it was actually taking place in the late 50s.

Also, with regard to Hagen's true nature being illustrated with the brutal killing of the Geary whore (and the script described her vagina being mutilated) ... let's also not forget that it was Hagan who ordered Luca Brasi to sever the head of the producer's prize stalion and place it in the bed.

At the time, and I was twenty years old when #I came out ... the backlash from that scene was tremendous. It was later explained that an actual real horsehead from a glue factory was used in the scene for effect ... although some still dispute that today.


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H-Town Tiger
Houston Astros Fan
Member since Nov 2003
49078 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

Michael and Vito were a lot alike, and if apollonia hadn't been killed I think Mike's family v "the family" struggles wouldnt have been the same. Marrying Kay and having his children with her was his mistake. Mike should have had a Sicilian wife, I very much doubt that apollonia's first born would have had nothing to do with "the family" and become an opera singer


I disagree, Michael was always going to focus on the business. That’s just his personality.

There’s the scene in GF 1, when him and Vito are talking in the garden. Vito says I never wanted this (running “The Family”) for you Micheal. He knew Sonny would be a gangster and Fredo was slow but he wanted Micheal to be Senator Corleone, Governor Corleone... Michael says “we’ll get there pop, we’ll get there.”

He also tells Kay in 5 years the Corleone Family will be completely legitimate.


Methuselah
LSU Fan
On da Riva
Member since Jan 2005
19582 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:


I'm pretty sure Luca brasi knocked up a prostitute then killed her and threw the baby, his own child, into a fire, or something nasty like that.
That's why he was so loyal to Vito. Literally no other Sicilians would have anything to do with him except Vito knew he could use him.
Vito and Michael both did what was necessary. Killing a prostitute was no big deal to either


I was talking strictly movies. To be honest, I haven't read the books.

But yeah, Vito was definitely no angel. I mean he was the head of a Mafia organization. Also, I think the arc into darkness/coldness was underway even during his lifetime. But I still think he was different than Michael. Maybe he just had more "people skills".

A question popped into my head and this may be a good place to get an answer from one of you guys: Who was the young assistant that was with Vito in his office when the landlord who had kicked the widow out about a dog came grovelling to Vito? I'm thinking I should have recognized him from the later years but I could never place him.


Spock's Eyebrow
LSU Fan
Member since May 2012
11834 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

Who was the young assistant that was with Vito in his office when the landlord who had kicked the widow out about a dog came grovelling to Vito? I'm thinking I should have recognized him from the later years but I could never place him.


That was Genco, the son of the market owner Vito worked for. He became his consigliere.


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H-Town Tiger
Houston Astros Fan
Member since Nov 2003
49078 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

I'm thinking I should have recognized him from the later years but I could never place him.


He’s not in GF 1, he dies at the beginning there’s a scene with the Don and his boys at the hospital but it was cut from the movie.


Havoc
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2015
7209 posts

re: Godfather II questions


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scrooster
South Carolina Fan
Resident Ethicist
Member since Jul 2012
28269 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

There’s the scene in GF 1, when him and Vito are talking in the garden. Vito says I never wanted this (running “The Family”) for you Micheal. He knew Sonny would be a gangster and Fredo was slow but he wanted Micheal to be Senator Corleone, Governor Corleone... Michael says “we’ll get there pop, we’ll get there.”


Yeah ... the tomato garden scene when he was warning Michael that the traitor would come to him and try to negotiate a deal (basically after his, Vito's, death).
quote:

He also tells Kay in 5 years the Corleone Family will be completely legitimate.

Yeah but "legitimate" is a relative term to the Cosa Nostra. In this case Michael knew they were going to make a move in Vegas to take over Mo Green's old operation with the blessings of Hyman Roth ... plus he was moving into Cuba.

So "legitimate" was definitely a relative term to him.


H-Town Tiger
Houston Astros Fan
Member since Nov 2003
49078 posts

re: Godfather II questions
quote:

So "legitimate" was definitely a relative term to him.


Well I suppose that’s true for everyone

He does say in GFIII the higher up i go the crockeder it becomes. But I think what he meant was to get out of the “street” side of things illegal gambling, extortion, loans sharking , drugs etc and leave that to Clemenza and the Pentangeli (since Richard Castellano couldn’t agree to a contract for II ) and into legal businesses (casinos/hotels in Nevada and Cuba). But of course he really couldn’t get away from the guys running the street side.
This post was edited on 3/9 at 9:21 am


brmark70816
LSU Fan
Beaumont, TX
Member since Feb 2011
4397 posts

re: Godfather II questions
There are lots of elements of the family that are not focused on in the movie and Michael didn't end up alone. You have to remember that Sonny had a lot of kids, not just illegitimate ones either. Fredo might of had some too and we know Connie had at least a couple. Michael would have taken responsibility for raising all of those kids, plus his two. Even Tom's kids were under his guidance/protection.

There is no doubt Michael's kids were huge disappointments. But the family lineage was secure and thriving, especially when they allowed/legitimized Vincent and let him run the criminal part of the business. That would allow the other kids to run other parts of their interests.

Sure Michael looks and seems lonely or broken. But he left a great legacy..


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Dire Wolf
Houston Astros Fan
bawcomville
Member since Sep 2008
24210 posts
 Online 

re: Godfather II questions
quote:


Yeah but "legitimate" is a relative term to the Cosa Nostra. In this case Michael knew they were going to make a move in Vegas to take over Mo Green's old operation with the blessings of Hyman Roth ... plus he was moving into Cuba.


Michael knew better he just thought he’d be isolated enough that Kay would be rich/happy enough to shut up and poop out boys.



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