The Godfather: The Official Motion Picture Archives
By Peter Cowie
Starting out with an overview of the subject and some anecdotes about the original Godfather author Mario Puzo, who reportedly blew his entire advance for the film gambling, Cowie utilizes an academic, yet clear, voice to outline the various aspects of pre-production, which is juxtaposed with images of a young Francis Ford Coppola and various stills and behind the scenes images. Detailing Coppola's initial reluctance to shoot the film after a litany of established directors turned down the job, Cowie indirectly posits the Award-winning director as a youthful idealist and film school brat, neurotically handling a large responsibility with pretense and a sense of artistic superiority.
This assessment of the self-proclaimed art film director in relation to studio speculation and concerns during the early days of the shoot is easily the most compelling factoids of these archives. But still, biographies and anecdotes about the many actors involved in the production, as well as stories about the writing of the screenplay and the challenges of editing the sprawling story into a theatrically friendly runtime also intrigue, contextualizing the project prior to its success.
Amidst the discussions about critical reactions and box office success, with the film rolling out to various territories around the world gradually, there are envelope dividers filled with cue sheets, brochures, press releases, posters, continuity spotting records and even studio breakdowns over likely ratings—a warning not to make the famed "horse head" scene to bloody—and a schedule for delivering the dailies.
These little tidbits and surprises add an interactive dimension and element of curiosity to the experience of reading this protracted essay. It even gives the impression of having personal behind the scenes access to the film, offering us paperwork and notes rarely offered to the public.
It's these little touches, in addition to the rich, exceedingly comprehensive, photography that help make Cowie's well-written, albeit cold, essay of sorts quite appealing and accessible to a broader reading audience. Even those just curious to flip through a coffee table book should find themselves learning a thing or two about The Godfather and its legacy. (Insight Editions)
ReviewsMay 10, 2015
The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock CriticJessica Hopper
In one of the many essays from her new book, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, Jessica Hopper recounts hangi...
ReviewsFeb 26, 2015
How to Write About MusicEdited by Marc Woodworth and Ally-Jane Grossan
The rise of blogs and social media in the last decade has made getting one's opinion out to an audience simpler than ever; it's writing abou...
ReviewsFeb 20, 2015
Girl in a BandKim Gordon
As a member of Sonic Youth, Body/Head and all the projects that came before and in between, Kim Gordon has defined herself as a Girl in a Ba...
ReviewsNov 04, 2014
Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own StoryBy Rick Bragg
For a brief moment in time, it seemed as if Jerry Lee Lewis — the piano prodigy who first broke in the 1950s — would overtake El...
ReviewsOct 21, 2014
Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and RollBy Peter Bebergal
Peter Bebergal has succeeded in publishing an unfussy but thoroughly documented piece of prose on pop culture. With Season of the Witch, the...
ReviewsOct 06, 2014
L’évolution du métal québécois: No Speed Limit (1964-1989)By Félix B. Desfossés
Felix B. Desfossés has once again tapped into a main vein of Quebec's historical underbelly. After singlehandedly reissuing the "maple syrup...
ReviewsSep 19, 2014
Wolf in White VanBy John Darnielle
In song, the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle has proven himself a masterful storyteller, so it's hardly surprising that he can transfer those...
ReviewsMay 21, 2015
Superheaven / Diamond Youth / Rozwell Kid / IrisHard Luck Bar, Toronto ON, May 20
Shoegazing locals Iris set the bar for the night with a brief, powerful set that had the audience entranced from the start. Drawing influenc...