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January 10, 1975 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1975-01-10

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riday, January 10, 1075


Page Five

Go dfa tlier



By DAVID BLOMQUIST ized crime was not a freelv
.nnade choice. The violence-orient-
There is virtually nothing in ed structure of Socilian somv-
cinema that is as frustrating to ty left Vito and his family litle
view as the typical Hollywood other choice.
sequel, Characteristically, t n e The film opens with Vito's
highly touted "bigger and first brush with La Cosa Nostra
grander" follow-up film p;oes - as a nine-year-old boy, in
to be little more than j u s t Sicily. His father has been mur-'
another disgusting exercise in dered by the town don 'jecaase
the most openly commercial of a small insult. Whern his
maxim of the motion picture mother goes to the don's palaz-j
trade: never give the sucker at zio to apologize, she, toi, is
the box office an even break. gunned down. Vito barely Fs-
The practice is probably un- capes, but is soon sought after'
derstandable. Unlike most of by the don's assistants. Some
its European counterparts, the kind-hearted villagers escort
American movie industry faces Vito to a boat leaving fror Amer-
extremely high production costs ica, and the Coreleone story on
and receives almost no govern- this side of the ocean oeyns.
ment financial support. T h e For several years Vito lives
quick, cheap sequel usually quietly in New Yoris Little
yields a fast profit at little risk Italy, but it is readily apparent
- even if the technique d o e s from the start that there is a
border on unabashed audience don structure in this community
exploitation. as well. Vito's employer, who

It is this permissive moral es begin to appear between the
atmosphere within the Sicilian Godfather's children, ana1 we
community - a code of ethics begin to observe just how fragile
that accommodated organizred the Corleone kingdom actually'
crime without resistance --tnat is. l)isgusted with Michael's'
Coppola claims was responsible leadership, Alfredo defects to a
for spawning a generation of rival organization. His sister,
men like Godfather Corleone. Connie, refuses to settle down
And in the post-1955 half of the into the passive, stereotype role'
film, Coppola indicates that the that Michael envisions, and thus
only weak link in the postwar leaves the family circle.
Mafia may be the decreasing Coppola's point seems clear:
strength of this unique Sicilian if the Mafia was indeed orig-
more that let La Cosa Nostra inally forged through a series of
survive. strong family and cultural
One of the first cracks in the bonds within one ethnic con-
Corleone family surfaces when munity, then modern living --
Michael's wife, Kay, abruptly which exposes the Sicilian sub-
corners her husband in a Wash- population 'to cultures an I eth-'
ington hotel room and annotinc- ics other than their own -
es that she plans to leave him. poses the biggest threat to the
Michael vigorously attempts to Mafia of America in its 60 year
talk her out of it - until he history.
learns that Kay had a preg- Al Pacino is again extremel.
nancy aborted because she did effective as Michael Corleone,
not want to continue what she
succinctly refers to as "ibis
Sicilian thing." Still, Kay's de-
fection from the clan is not e2-1s st
pecially notable - she .vas not
of Italian descent, and could not

but is somewhat eclipsed hy t le
brilliant Robert DeNiro, Yio
plays young Vito in the nistory
segments of the picture. Ven-
erable acting coach Lee ,Tras-
berg make an inpressive t:m
debut as an aging underworld
mogul looking for a sucoessur.
In all, Godfather II is a strik-
ing second look at a Aicden
world that is far more ireduen-
tial than any of us could h'ave
imagined. Strangely, however,
we are at once revolted b the
lifestyle and mores or the Mafia
yet deeply pitiful of the individ-
uals in organized crime.
Coppola's epic leaves us with
the distinct impression that
many mafia men are forced to
join in a lethal game not by
choice, but by happenstance of
birth. They are the halpicss
pawns in a strange legacy of
Sicilian custom.

It's curtains for you, buddTy
Robert Duvall (left), acting as, legal advisor to the Corleone family, strongly hints to Michael
Gazzo that the family would be extremely grateful if Gazzo just happened to decide to
slash his wrists. The grisly but powerful scene is part of Francis Ford Coppola's epic "The
Godfather: Part II," now playing at the Michigan.
*...-...-J5 .....;....... . . . V



The Way We Were
Mediatrics, Nat. Sci. Aud.
Fri., Sat.,-7:30, 9:30
Streisand and Redford are
nited, if only briefly, as the
auntless and passionate politico
vith the stunningly beautiful all-:
4merican soldier/poet. It is the
:lassic love - duet American
style, but Barbra throws it all
away when Redford sells out
o Hollywood. Two years later
hey exchange a painful glance
n a New York street, but by
hen it's much too late.
Written as a showcase piece
or Robert Redford and Barbra
streisand, The Way We Were
s a very sentimental but rath-
r one-dimensional treatment of
old topic: the faces from the
ast, the missed chances and
waying clarities - how they
aunt all of us.
The film tries to pan through
period of perhaps ten years of
eir relationship, but never
eems to quite focus on any of
em. The attempt to create an
tmosphere of longing and nos-
Igia forces the film forward,
nd it loses a lot because of
But somewhere The Way We
ere manages to catch us up
ith it, perhaps as much be-
use of the music as anything
se. The politics of the movie
re good, but the -characters
ever quite swing into focus as
e meander through a troubled
motional landscape.
The movie becomes more of
mirror than an involving ex-
erience. If The Way We Were
urts us, it is not because of
Caty and Hubbel - it is be-
ause the film has succeeded in
eminding us of some similar
tory from our own pasts.
- -David Weinberg
Paper Chase
New World, MLB
Fri., Sat., 7, 9:30
Nat. Sci. Aud. Sun, 7, 9:30
This caustically witty little'
rama arrives back in town this
eek at just the right time -
ight at the beginning of an
'exciting" new term of school.
For although Paper Chase is
ctually the tale of the adven-
ures of a first-year student at
arvard Law School, it is more
enerally a piece of film with
totally refreshing outlook on
11 of those day-to-day hassles
ach of us must suffer through
s students at the Big 'U'.
Timothy Bottoms portrays the
tudent "chasing" after the all-
mportant piece of paper - a
iploma from Harvard Law. Be-
ind-the-scenes veteran J o h n
ouseman turned actor for the

first time in this film, playing
Bottoms' irascible contracts
professor - a rough old man
on the outside, but a lovable,
admirable brain within.
In a sense, though, the ap-
pearance of this picture might
be too limited and specific. I'm
not sure an audience removed
from college by a couple of
decades could really understand
what Paper Chase wastrying to
say - which is really quite sad,
because the film does make
some valid points about the
value or lack thereof of the tra-
ditional grading system.
By the way, there are only
two or three sequences in this
film actually shot at Harvard.
The rest, interestingly enough,
was done at the University of
-David Blomquist
Freebie and the Bean
The Movies, Briarwood
The 1974 Christmas rush of
feature films may go down in
Hollywood history books as
containing what could ultimate-
ly be the worst movie of the
post-Civil War period. Freebie
and the Bean is such a miser-
able collage of disjointed seg-
ments and abandoned continu-
ity that it could reasonably be
mistaken as randomly - edited
five - minute clips from the
worst 22 films of past years.
Exploiting virtually every-
thing in his path, director Rich-
ard Rush has delivered a suit-
able member to his ailing port-
filio of films that is meagerly
highlighted by the 1970 muck
Getting Straight. One could
venture a guess that Rush had
viewed the French Connection
just before dreaming up this
junk, and was hoping that car.
chases and smashups would be
the newest fad in luring patrons
into the auditoriums.
The end result is a grab bag
of stock footage that ultimately
totals more cars per foot of
film than anything to previously
pollute the silver screen.
James Caan and Alan Arkin

can only be forgiven in that
thev were obviously misled by1
a script that was evidently !
abandoned after day one. Un- .
fortunately for them, the editor
either had a horrible grudge1
against the two or simply was
the poor schmuck who drew
the short straw at the Ameri-
can Society of Editors conven-
tion and was forced to add his
name to the Richard Rush Hall
of Blame.
-Jim Valk
The Man with the
Golden Gun
The Movies, Briarwood
Sequels, as a whole, are dis-
appointments. Don Segal's Dirty
Harry was far superior to Don
Post's embarrassing Magnum
Force; Airport (1970) was piti-
ful, only to have Airport 1975
defy description by the Eng-
lish language. Only recently
with Francis Ford Coppola's ex-
cellent Godfather II has the se-
quel taken a respectful place in
modern cinema (see review
above). Andthe thus enters the
longest, most successful series
of sequels ever produced: the
James Bond epics.
The early films were sur-
prisingly good. Doctor No, From
Russia With Love and Goldfing-
er were from an era where
Ian -Fleming's novels were con-
sidered more than mere mas-
querades for their exploits. But
as time wore on, so did the
films.And now we are given
Roger Moore.
The film has zilch going for
it (except for the snazzy titles).
Guy Hamilton's direction is
shabby; the script by Bond
"veterans" Richard Maibaum
and Tom Mankiewicz follows
true to the total demise. Roger
Moore's acting is right on par
with Stubby Kaye and Soupy
Sales, while Christopher Lee as
the diabolical Scaramangat
comes off as a reasonable fac-
simile of a cupcake.
-Jim Valk

The greatest achievement of
The Godfather: Part II; then,
is its unique ability to maintain
commercial appeal without los-
ing a sense of artistic respect-
ability. As a consequene of
director Francis Ford Coppola's
dogged insistence on avoiding
the gross banality that c o m-
pletelv permeates the avrera~e
sequel film, Godfather 11 ap-
proaches the deeper, mo.-e prob-
ing sort of continuation motion
picture that European directors
(such as Francois Truffaut)
have been producing for ye ars.
The 1972 Godfather opened to
film examination for the first'
time an extensive and highly in-,
fluential underground w o r I d
based on a moral code far dif-
ferent from that of society in
general. In one of -ecent timer-
ican cinema's most dramatic
climaxes, we watch.d Micnael
Corleone calmly - and without
the slightst bit of remors. - or-
der the execution of his fam-
ily's host of enemies. To our
way of thinking, it was an ir-
"redi lots, unthinkable action.
But in Michael's mind, murder
for nurposes of revenge was a
totally justifiable move, given
the system of mores in which h_
had been raised.
In Godfather II, CopnelIa con-
siders the means by which this
Mafia ethic developed from the
proud culture if Sicil; and was
absorbed by the Coteone fam-
ily. The process bring, to the
Godfather epic a rich, psvch 1-
ogical depth that was on,, hrt-
ed at in the origin tl picture.
The three-and-one-half-h o u r
second part skips about betwcen
two widely separated, but the-
matically similar, spans of time.
The largest bloc of the picture
is devoted to the p;t-19,S activ-
ities of the Corleone family, con-
centrating on their ripid con-
version of Las V-,gas from a
small town in the Nevada desert
to the legalized gambtling center
of America.
But the most fasinating parts
of the film are the segments
dealing with the early life of
Vito Corleone (the chara::er
played by Marlon Brando in 'he
1972 film) and the first years
of the illicit family empire. It
is here that we observe that the
Corleone involvement in orvgon-

runs the area grocery, is forced{
to pay "protection" money to
the local chieftain. At a Sicaiian
play, the don gets the best seats
- and can stand up in the mid-
dIe of the show whenever he
I pleases. Vito himself i; even-
tually affected - he loses , s'
job when the don "asks5' the
grocer to hire his nephew ,.
In fact, it seems almnost in-;
evitable from the first frames
that the young Vito - and, for
that matter, perhaps the entire
Sicilian populace - will at some
point in time become caught in
one of the many tentacles of this
omnipresent organizat ion.
Vito's induction into the "e-
cond society" comes : ilently
and virtually unconsciously -
a neighbor excitedly tarses a
bag of revolvers out a window
and asks Vito to "v.grat them
for a while." Although Vito cer-
tainly realizes that the guns are
destined for use in some illicit
activity, he senses no moral ob-
ligation to take any preventivea
action - after all, he has been
raised from birth in an atmos-
phere which proclaims that the
don is always infallible.
Kosher Meat
First ordering meeting
of the semester.
Sunday, Jan. 12
7 p.m. at H L LEL
1429 Hill St.

degree of attachment to the
Mafia character.
But soon thereafter differenc-
$2.50 S:5O
Folk Leqacy Record's
Folk LegacyRcr'

be expected

to have the same

Presents '
Fri., Jan. 10 & Sat., Jan. 11
7:30 & 9:30
Natural Science Auditorium

Michigan Daily


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