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The Godfather

The Godfather - Peter Bart, Robert Thompson, Mario Puzo The Godfather (part 1) is the best movie ever made without nudity in it, and that is a proven fact which nobody can argue with. I know you've all seen it, so I'm not even going to get into plot or characters here. Instead, I'm going to be bold and unconventional, and subject you to a reverie of my personal past instead (so y'all better vote for this review, bitches!)(WAVY SCREEN EFFECTS ACCOMPANIED BY THE SOUND OF SOMEBODY RUNNING THEIR FINGERS OVER HARP STRINGS) An older cousin of mine, whom I looked up to in that embarrassing way early-adolescents do, was a huge fan of the film. This being the early 1980's, and my family having neither cable television nor a VCR player, the book was really my only access to the story. Honestly, I wanted to be as excited about The Godfather as my cousin -thinking our mutual enthusiasm would be a point of bonding between us (but in reality, it probably wouldn't have been, just because of our respective ages and personalities). To my disappointment, the book didn't blow me away like I was hoping. ...Don't get me wrong; the gangsters and violence and the secret underworld of the mafia were all very interesting... but nothing to get obsessed about, the way, for example, I had been with Star Wars (the second best movie ever made without nudity). For a long time, I opined that I had gone into the story with overhyped expectations that no book could reasonably live up to. Now I'm not so sure. My wife and I lived in Sicily for two years*, where the Godfather still lives large in the popular culture. Souvenier stands there sell caseloads of the DVD, but rarely did we see the book offered. On viewing the movie again about a year ago, I could still see how well done it is. I think this is one of those rare cases where the film is better than the book. Maybe Francis Ford Coppola is a more skilled director than Puzo is a writer... it's hard to make comparisons like that. What I really think is that the story just lends itself better to visual media than the written word. In the movie, there's that famous montage where the Corleone family is attending a child's baptism, while their agents are slaughtering various enemies around the city. It's a powerful visual juxtaposition condensed to about a minute of screentime. Visually, that imagry was very cohesive, but reading the same thing would be very disjointed and much more drawn out. The only part where I remember liking the book better than the film is where Puzo explains how Don Corleone ensures the hitman's (sorry, I don't recall his name here) loyalty, because although said hitman is not afraid of death, he is terrified that his death would be at the hands of the Don. Now that I've just told you that part, you can rent the movie and forget about the book, secure that you've chosen the superior way of experiencing this tale. * Meredith, this review is exactly like that time I used to live in Sicily.