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8MM Red Print Theater : THE GODFATHER ( 1972 )

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  • 8MM Red Print Theater : THE GODFATHER ( 1972 )


    ( Name change because we also have RED PRINT THEATER in 16MM ! )
    Hello fellow film fiends !
    This month's selection is …..THE GODFATHER ( 1972 )...ON SUPER 8MM !
    The Marketing Films 3-Parter !! In all it's " Faded " , "Red " GLORY !!
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    The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

    The Godfather "Don" Vito Corleone is the head of the Corleone mafia family in New York. He is at the event of his daughter's wedding. Michael, Vito's youngest son and a decorated WW II Marine is also present at the wedding. Michael seems to be uninterested in being a part of the family business. Vito is a powerful man, and is kind to all those who give him respect but is ruthless against those who do not. But when a powerful and treacherous rival wants to sell drugs and needs the Don's influence for the same, Vito refuses to do it. What follows is a clash between Vito's fading old values and the new ways which may cause Michael to do the thing he was most reluctant in doing and wage a mob war against all the other mafia families which could tear the Corleone family apart.
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    It is now past 1 AM and I just finished watching Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" , Marketing Films 3-parter. I should probably go to bed. It's late and tomorrow I have to wake up a bit early. But not early enough to postpone writing these lines. Now that I have seen it 10 times, the opportunity of sharing my thoughts and refreshed insights are too much of a good offer to sit on. So, bear with me.

    This film works so well because it takes place in an underworld in which we are so embedded that we do not even observe it. Coppola puts us straight in the smack-dab center of what is, admittedly, a society made by criminals for criminals. It is also the reason why it's so welcoming. We are surrounded by its inhabitants--cold-blooded murderers, men who see crime like a 9 to 5 job masquerading as honorable men. And I do mean men. From the outside, we would only witness the horrifying, disturbing manifestations of their well-thought out actions.

    But it goes even deeper than that. It all revolves around the Corleone family led by Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). He is the most honest of these men, sitting right on the edge. But for people like him, who do not fully embrace this world, it's not easy. He avoids conflict until it is absolutely necessary. He is a man defined by moral principles. There is a scene at the beginning, in which, during his daughter's wedding day, one of his associates, Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana) practices his speech that he is going to give to the Don when he meets him. The scene with these two is funny and almost adorable. I could not help but sympathize both of them only to realize that I am feeling warmth for two mobsters. Not to even mention that Lenny Montana was an actual mob hit-man and that he was actually nervous as he said that line.

    The more I watched the more I realized just how incredibly complex and ruthless this society is and how it has the power to corrupt anyone to come in contact with it. The best example is Corleone's youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino). He returns home for his sister's wedding as a war hero dressed the part with his long-time girlfriend, Kay Adams (Diane Keaton). At first, he avoids this underworld, but necessity, first-hand exposure and just its sheer devilish appealing nature draws him in. As we get further in the film, the change is shocking and every outsider who ever got close to him is tainted in one way or another. If they survive it, they are drawn in as well as we are as viewers.

    Inside, Coppola exposes the family to us fully, with a bold personal approach and we witness every discussion, every methodically calculated choice. Crime is done simply because it is the nature of their business, and we are put on a chair alongside them, so we easily relate. For us, they are the good guys, the rival families are the bad guys. This is the greatest feat this film managed to pull off--set apart good guys and bad guys in a world filled with bad guys.

    This is a film of unmatched subtlety. No other movie sustains itself as good. No other film is done with such precision, attention and completeness. There are many layers which I probably missed and maybe will never notice. But I felt them. What director Francis Ford Coppola and his partner in crime (poor choice of words, sorry) Mario Puzo did is nothing short of a timeless piece of reference cinema whose influence is not based on reinventing the wheel, but rather perfecting it to the absolute maximum.

    Most masterpieces are remembered for their historical contributions. "Citizen Kane" brought the biggest step-up to the art form, the same things did "Gone With the Wind" or "2001: A Space Odyssey". "The Godfather" is one of the few films that will be remembered simply because they are that good and I cannot possibly imagine a greater achievement. Even on Super 8MM , as a cut-down , It is truly a GEM !!


    Visitors to the set often assumed Abe Vigoda was a Mafioso.

    There was only ONE cast member that was hired on a daily basis - Joe Spinell ( played the slasher in MANIAC ) . This was his Film debut , in the uncredited role of Willi Cicci.

    Marlon Brando did not memorize most of his lines and read from cue cards during most of the film.

    While filming the scene in which Carlo beats her, Talia Shire lost a shoe. Not wanting to have to restore the set and wait for the camera to be set up for a second time, she simply continued to play through the scene, even at the risk of cutting her foot on all the ceramics she had just destroyed.

    Anthony Perkins ( PSYCHO ) auditioned for the role of Sonny Corleone.

    The Mount Loretto Church in Staten Island, where the exteriors for the baptism scene were filmed, burned down in 1973.

    Animal rights activists protested the horse's head scene. Francis Ford Coppola told Variety, "There were many people killed in that movie, but everyone worries about the horse. It was the same on the set. When the head arrived, it upset many crew members who are animal lovers, who like little doggies. What they don't know is that we got the head from a pet food manufacturer who slaughters two hundred horses a day just to feed those little doggies."

    Moe Greene was modelled after Jewish mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, although Siegel was not known for wearing glasses. Both were assassinated with a shot through the eye, with the glasses worn by Greene being necessary in order to accomplish the special effect eye shot.

    McCluskey's death was achieved by building a fake forehead onto Sterling Hayden's head. A gap was cut in the center and filled with fake blood, then capped off with a plug of prosthetic flesh. When the scene was being filmed, the plug was quickly yanked out using monofilament fishing line which doesn't show up on film. The effect was to make it look like a bloody hole suddenly appeared on Hayden's head.

    Sonny Corleone's death scene at a highway toll booth was to take place on the Jones Beach Causeway, but was filmed on a small airport runway at Mitchell Field on Long Island. The scene was the most expensive in the movie to set up and film, for it cost over $100,000 to set up, and was finished in just one take from four or five different camera angles. The large billboard next to the toll booth was set up to hide the appearance of a modern high-rise building in the background. According to Joe Gelmis, one hundred ten brass casings containing gunpowder squibs and sacks of blood were deployed all over James Caan's body. Plus there were over two hundred drilled holes in his car, a 1941 Lincoln, filled with squibs to simulate the ambush attack.

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    My Super 8mm Home-made box for the 1200 ' 3-parter of THE GODFATHER

  • #2
    David, this is a great description of this masterpiece. A film that belongs onto the big screen; even in red!
    I watched the full feature from „marketing film international“ weeks ago and it is as red as Your glorious print!
    And I forgot about this, because of the actors and this timeless story.
    Can‘t wait for Your next „8MM RED PRINT THEATER“!


    • #3
      Wow , Oliver , THANKS for those kind words .
      It's responses like yours that keep me motivated to write about our film collections - no matter how BAD they project !!


      • #4
        I think Stanley Kubrick once called this film the perfect movie. Nice write up Dave....some good insights.


        • #5
          Dave I use some cyan lighting gel for a bit now in front of the projector lens with red films.
          Having now got some new eyes, well glasses I'm going to glue some filter over the old frames. A sight to behold! 🤠


          • #6
            David your copy still looks pretty well! This is one of my favorite films. I had the Marketing complete feature, but it had gone red to an unbearable point at least for me, I gave the print as gift to a friend that sadly pass away at the beginning of this year. I still own the Marketing 400 x 2 (or 3) resume which colors hold pretty well.


            • #7
              Dave that is probably the most creative comprehensive and creative piece on a 8mm release. Beautifully done and very interesting.
              if I could input one thing it would be to call it Son of red theatre but you might want to save that for Standard/ regular 8mm 🤠


              • #8
                Nice review and your print Dave looks pretty decent. The red tint might be appropriate given the body count in that movie.