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)
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...
ReviewsJun 17, 2014
DustBy Phil Elverum
Throughout the course of Phil Elverum's career, the mind behind Mount Eerie and the Microphones has gone from putting out records to deliver...
ReviewsFeb 28, 2015
Hundred WatersS.A.T., Montreal QC, February 27
Florida four-piece Hundred Waters are a bit of an odd group, to which their recent touring partners — they've performed in Montreal th...
ReviewsFeb 28, 2015
DJ Quik / Mannie Fresh / Shash'uLe Belmont, Montreal QC, February 28
One year and one day since he played in the very same club for the Red Bull Music Academy's Bass Camp, Montreal artist Shash'u commanded Le ...