50 facts about Oscar-winning ‘The Godfather’ – News
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Oscar-winning director Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ has been re-released in cinemas across the UAE
1. Paramount’s Peter Bart bought the movie rights from Mario Puzo The Godfather before it was finished, when it was still only a 20-page plan.
2. Albert S. Ruddy became the producer on The Godfather after pitching it to Charles Bluhdorn as “a terrifying ice-blue film about the people you love”.
3. Crime boss Joe Colombo and his organization, the Italian-American Civil Rights League, launched a campaign to stop the film from being made.
4. Frank Sinatra Leaned On His Mafia Friends To Threaten Those Involved In The Making The Godfather.
5. Coppola held improv rehearsal sessions where the lead actors sat down for a family meal. The actors couldn’t break character, which Coppola saw as a way for the cast to organically establish family roles.
6. Coppola was able to convince Paramount to make the film a period piece, despite the fact that it would cost more than the studio wanted.
7. Marlon Brando wanted to make Don Corleone look “like a bulldog,” so he stuffed cotton balls into his cheeks for the audition. For the actual shoot, he wore a mouthpiece made by a dentist; this camera is on display at the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York.
8. The wedding scene took four days to shoot and employed at least 350 extras.
9. Cinematographer Gordon Willis called the film’s look “bad color newspaper photography” and assured that the distinctive vision would be preserved in the negative thanks to his own photochemical exposure technique.
10. The line “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” appears in both The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II.
11. 120 locations were used in and around New York.
12. The exterior of Jack Woltz’s house was filmed in Beverly Hills at the Hearst estate.
13. The blood was created using Karo syrup combined with red and green food coloring.
14. The cat held by Marlon Brando in the opening scene was a stray Coppola found at Filmways Studio in Harlem, NYC. He purred so loudly during the scene that the dialogue had to be re-recorded.
15. At that time, there was probably no scene more violent in the history of cinema than the death of Sonny Corleone. James Caan carried 127 blood-filled explosive firecrackers to simulate bullets hitting him and the car had over 200 pre-drilled holes.
16. The studio originally wanted to remove the now-iconic “puppet strings” logo (which was first created by graphic designer S. Neil Fujita for the release of the novel) with Puzo’s name above the title for the film’s release, but Coppola insisted on keeping it because Puzo co-wrote the screenplay with him.
17. Sonny’s death was the most expensive scene in the film, costing $100,000.
18. There’s an urban myth that oranges herald negative events to come, but the reason production designer Dean Tavoularis used them is because he knew cinematographer Gordon Willis tended to shoot without much. of light and that something would be needed to bring points of luminosity. Also, for Coppola, orange was a symbol of Italy.
19. Famous screenwriter Robert Towne worked on the scene between Vito and Michael in the garden where Vito teaches the son he was hoping to become a senator or governor how to be the next godfather.
20. Puzo wrote a personal letter to Marlon Brando, telling him he was the only person who could play The Don.
21. Paramount executives considered Brando box office poison and didn’t want him in the movie.
22. Marlon Brando used cue cards on set, possibly because he preferred the spontaneity of not memorizing his lines and possibly because Coppola insisted on it since Brando was not memorizing his lines.
23. Marlon Brando based his character Don Vito Corleone’s distinctive voice on real-life mobster Frank Costello.
24. Marlon Brando’s total screen time is less than an hour.
25. Many famous actors were not cast in the film. Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford and Robert De Niro were all considered for the role of Michael.
26. Al Pacino signed on for a movie called The gang that couldn’t shoot straightwhich was in conflict with The Godfather program. He was able to get out of contract and was replaced by Robert De Niro.
27. To Work The gang that couldn’t shoot straightRobert De Niro dropped out of ‘Paulie Gatto’ role in The Godfather.
28. Al Pacino only earned $35,000 for starring in the movie, the same as James Caan and Diane Keaton and $1,000 less than Robert Duvall.
29. Al Pacino’s maternal grandparents emigrated to America from Corleone, Sicily, as did Vito Corleone.
30. James Caan and Al Pacino were only ten years younger than American jazz singer Morgana King, who played their mother. John Cazale (Fredo) was only five years younger than her.
31. The line “Leave the gun, take the cannoli”, which is uttered by Richard Castellano as “Clemenza”, was improvised and not in the script.
32. Many members of Coppola’s family participated in the films:
a. Talia Shire (sister) played ‘Connie Corleone’ in all three films
b. Italia Coppola (mother) played an extra in the restaurant meeting scene
vs. Carmine Coppola (father) – played the ‘Piano Player’ in the mattress sequence and composed the music for this scene.
D. Sofia Coppola (daughter) – played ‘baby Michael Rizzi’ in the christening scene of The Godfather (she was three weeks old at the time of filming), was an extra in The Godfather: Part IIand played ‘Mary Corleone’ in Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone
e. Gian-Carlo Coppola and Roman Coppola (Junior) – played extras in the baptism scene; Roman played young Sonny in Sicily in The Godfather: Part II
Fr. Eleanor Coppola (wife) is also in the baptism scene
g. Music by Francesco Pennino (grandfather) was used in The Godfather: Part II for the immigrant theater scene.
33. Coppola was ordered to deliver a cut no longer than 2 hours and 15 minutes or the studio would move the edit from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He delivered this length, but was told he “shot a movie but released a trailer”. In the end, the studio backed a longer cut, but the editing was moved to Los Angeles anyway.
34. The final length of the film is 2 hours and 55 minutes.
35. The original release date was around Christmas, but editors were pressured to edit the longer cut.
36. Lines to See The Godfather upon its initial release are legendary. At Westwood, enterprising UCLA students charged $5 to keep a place in line.
37. Producer Al Ruddy stole a copy from Paramount to host an exclusive screening of The Godfather for the crowd.
38. The Godfather was the highest-grossing film of 1972 and was for a time the highest-grossing film of all time until The Exorcist came out the following year.
39. The Godfather was nominated for 11 Oscars and won three: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from other media (Coppola and Puzo).
40. The Godfather won Best Picture and Coppola won Best Director for The Godfather: Part II.
41. Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro are the only two actors to win Oscars for playing the exact same character, Vito Corelone. (Note: Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix won Oscars for portraying different versions of the same character in two separate movies: Ledger as “The Joker” in The black Knight and Phoenix as ‘The Joker’ in Joker)
42. Sacheen Littlefeather turned down Marlon Brando’s Oscar in protest at Hollywood and America’s treatment of Native Americans.
43. Robert Duvall, James Caan and Al Pacino were all nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
44. Paramount’s holding company at the time, Gulf & Western, received a lot of negative feedback from the Italian-American community for making The Godfather.
45. The Godfather was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry at the Library of Congress in 1990, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
46. The Godfather is ranked No. 2 on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest American films of all time.
47. Nino Rota’s score was nominated for an Academy Award® but was withdrawn as ineligible when it became known that portions of the music were originally composed for the 1958 Italian film Fortunella.
48. Producer Al Ruddy waived his resale rights to make The longest yard.
49. The name of the traditional Sicilian hat worn by Michael’s bodyguards is called “coppola”.
50. The words “mafia” and “mob” are not pronounced The Godfather.
The Godfather is currently playing in theaters in the United Arab Emirates.