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Hollywood Rewind | The Godfather Part II: A sequel like no other

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“Oh, Michael. Michael, you are blind. It wasn’t a miscarriage. It was an abortion. An abortion, Michael. Just like our marriage is an abortion. Something that is ungodly and evil. I didn’t want your son, Michael! I would not bring another of your sons into this world. And I had him killed because this has to end! Diane Keaton’s Kay Adams says in one of the scariest moments in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II. The first sentence Kay utters in utter despair and silent rage is: “Michael, you are blind.” The irony is strong here. Don Michael Corleone (played with finesse by the incomparable Al Pacino) is anything but blind. He is an alert and aggressive man who is devastating when he loses his temper. And in this sequence, when he is informed by his wife that she has had their child aborted, he is furious. Her eyes pop out of their sockets, her body quivering silently with suppressed anger. Michael Corleone cannot believe what he hears, deceived and “betrayed” by his own wife. It’s a shame for his “hyper-masculinity” and his intelligence.

The 1974 film is made up of many parts as large and small. Considered one of the benchmarks of Western cinema, especially in the crime genre, The Godfather II is often touted as a better movie than its prequel, The Godfather, which is a masterpiece in itself. What makes this prequel sequel even more interesting than its predecessor is its treatment of a rooted and familiar narrative. We already knew the Corleone family and the new dynamic since the death of Vito Corleone (tried by Marlon Brando). So what new ideas could the filmmaker bring now? It was a challenge, and the directors often and unfortunately fall short. However, Francis Ford Coppola belongs to another ilk. At the time, Paramount Pictures and the producers were already vying for his attention, offering him an incredible amount of money to take over the project and generate another success. And what a job he did! Not only was The Godfather II able to match the cinematic style and spirit of the first film, it even managed to outdo it in some sequences.

Take, for example, young angle Vito Corleone. The cast of ‘rising star’ Robert De Niro, the choice to make The Godfather II a non-linear narrative upon release, spending so much money on its production and once again directing a movie of 200 minutes – all this risks that have paid off generously. Here’s an interesting anecdote about De Niro and his efforts to remove a young Vito aka Brando. According to IMDB, the Oscar winner has spent four months learning the Sicilian dialect. The devoted actor even spent a few months living in the village, trying to adjust to his surroundings. Interestingly, De Niro was cast for a role in the first part of the franchise, which he then turned down. Sure, the actor was seen in films prior to The Godfather II, but it was his phenomenal success that led him to star in acclaimed films like Taxi Driver, Deer Hunter, and Raging Bull, among others.

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Speaking about his experience working in the film, Robert De Niro told CNN that he took on the role of The Godfather II as a sort of “ experience, ” but the actor also had a gut feeling that the film could make a lot of money. “Godfather II was the first one I can remember (from my filmography), it was like a big blockbuster. Then came other films. I might be wrong, like some Spielberg movies and so on, but when (The Godfather II) happened I said maybe it was a good chance it was a success, ”he said. declared the actor.

The Godfather Part II is enhanced by its well-woven storyline, compelling performances, and spectacular cinematography. Every movement, every expression is filmed with precision. The camera seemed particularly in love with Al Pacino’s eyes. Michael Corleone, an otherwise calm and cold person, spoke about it through his sunken eyes and the emotions were captured by cinematographer Gordon Willis. And a special thanks to Diane Keaton for making her presence felt in a predominantly male story, despite the short screen time.

You can watch The Godfather Part II on Amazon Prime Video.

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