“I’ll Make Him an Offer He Can’t Refuse”ūüźī

 

IN THEATERS JUNE 4th and JUNE 7th

TCM Big Screen Classics Presents

“The Godfather”

A Special 45th Anniversary Event

 

The Godfather

 

This iconic film about a New York mafia family‚Äôs rise to power in the years following World War II stars Marlon Brando as the family‚Äôs patriarch, Don Corleone, and features career-making performances by Al Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it’s based on Mario Puzo‘s best-selling novel. This searing and brilliant film garnered seven Academy Award nominations and won three, including Best Picture of 1972.

 

 

I’ve stated for years that if you want a blueprint for the rules of life, a screening of “The Godfather” is mandatory. In an interview about the making of the film, Coppola revealed that his idea was to approach the Corleone family like a king and his sons. I believe focusing on the family dynamics versus “the mob” gave more depth and layers to the characters and the audience’s involvement¬†in the film.

 

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Cinematographer Gordon Willis initially turned down the opportunity to film The Godfather because the production seemed “chaotic” to him.¬†After Willis later accepted the offer, he and Coppola agreed to not use any modern filming devices, helicopters, or zoom lenses. Willis and Coppola chose to use a “tableau format” of filming to make it seem if it was viewed like a painting.¬†He made use of shadows and low light levels throughout the film to showcase psychological developments.

Willis and Coppola agreed to interplay light and dark scenes throughout the film.¬†Willis underexposed the film in order to create a “yellow tone.”¬†The scenes in Sicily were shot to display the countryside and “display a more romantic land,” giving these scenes a “softer, more romantic” feel than the New York scenes.¬†(Wikipedia)

 

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Although many films about gangsters preceded “The Godfather”, Coppola’s heavy infusion of Italian culture and stereotypes, and his portrayal of mobsters as characters of considerable psychological depth and complexity was unprecedented.

 

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Coppola took it further with The Godfather Part II, and Part III. The success of those films, critically, artistically and financially, opened the doors for numerous other depictions of Italian Americans as mobsters, including films such as Martin Scorsese‘s Goodfellas and TV series such as David Chase‘s The Sopranos.

Goodfellas 1990

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci

“Goodfellas” (1990)

 

“The Godfather” is widely regarded as one of the greatest films in world cinema and one of the most influential, especially in the gangster genre. It was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1990, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and is ranked the second greatest film in American cinema (behind Citizen Kane) by the American Film Institute. (Wikipedia)

 

So, whether this would be your first viewing or you’re a lifelong fan, get your tickets here and check out “The Godfather” on the big screen for this special, limited-time performance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It was the Jazz age. It was an age of Elegance and Violence.

¬†¬†“The Cotton Club” (1984)

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“The Cotton Club” is a 1984 American crime-drama film centered on a Harlem jazz club of the 1930s, the Cotton Club.

The film was co-written by Francis Ford Coppola with William Kennedy, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and produced by Robert Evans. Choreographed by Henry LeTang, the movie starred Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, and Lonette McKee. The supporting cast included Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Nicolas Cage, Allen Garfield, Laurence Fishburne, Gwen Verdon and Fred Gwynne.

Despite performing poorly at the box office, the film was nominated for several awards, including Golden Globes for Best Director and Best Picture (Drama) and Oscars for Best Art Direction (Richard Sylbert, George Gaines) and Film Editing. (Wikipedia)

 

 

I remember looking forward to screening this film. ¬†I understood the significance of The Cotton Club¬†during the Harlem¬†Renaissance¬†of the 20’s and 30’s and wanted the 1980’s audience to be curious about the history of the real club and incredible level of talent that appeared there between 1923 – 1940.

Some of the original performers at The Cotton Club included:

Lena Horne

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Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

 

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Count Basie, Billie Holiday,

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Cab Calloway, The Nicholas Brothers

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cotton club 1920

Cab Calloway

 

Among many others.

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The movie is intense. Producer Robert Evans originally wanted to direct the project but later asked Coppola. ¬†There are definite similarities to “The Godfather” in the film due to its violent nature and also the fact that Mario Puzo (author of The Godfather) wrote the original story and screenplay.

Gangsters, racism and love, this film exposes them all.  I do, however, wish more of the movie focus was on The Cotton Club itself and the lives of those characters.

 

Image result for cotton club 1920

 

The story centers around the dangerous love affair of Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere) and Vera Cicero (Diane Lane). ¬†She “belongs” to mobster Dutch Schultz (James Remar). ¬†Dutch is a straight up¬†psychopath¬† ¬†We also follow the budding romance between Sandman Williams (Gregory Hines) and Lila Rose Oliver (Lonette McKee). ¬†He wants to get married. ¬†She wants to be a “Star.” ¬†(She’s also hiding a secret about her “other life.”)

Watch and listen as Lonette McKee, also from the movie (“Sparkle”), delivers a taste of the film’s 1930’s Harlem.

The song: “Ill Wind (You’re Blowing Me No Good)” ¬†Composed by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Ted Koehler. ¬†It was written for their last show at The Cotton Club in 1934.

 

 

 

One of the most memorable scenes is between the real life and onscreen brothers РMaurice and Gregory Hines.  Clay (Maurice Hines) and Sandman (Gregory Hines) have had a major falling out and at this moment we get to share in their reunion.

 

Growing up, this old school tap dancing duo was compared to The Nicholas Brothers. Gregory Hines remarked in an interview that after seeing The Nicholas Brothers perform that “nobody was going to be the next Nicholas Brothers, least of all my brother and I.”

 

 

Explore the 1984 film but more importantly explore the controversial history of The Cotton Club and the entertainers and music that fueled the Jazz generation.

 

 

It was the Jazz age. It was an age of Elegance and Violence.

¬†¬†“The Cotton Club” (1984)

Cotton Club poster

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by Robert Evans
Screenplay by William Kennedy
Francis Ford Coppola

I remember looking forward to screening this film. ¬†I understood the significance of The Cotton Club¬†during the Harlem¬†Renaissance¬†of the 20’s and 30’s and wanted the 1980’s audience to be curious about the history of the real club and incredible level of talent that appeared there between 1923 – 1940.

Some of the original performers at The Cotton Club included:

Among many others.

The movie is intense. Producer Robert Evans originally wanted to direct the project but later asked Coppola. ¬†There are definite similarities to “The Godfather” in the film due to it’s violent nature and also the fact that Mario Puzo (author of The Godfather) wrote the original story and screenplay.

Gangsters, racism and love, this film exposes them all.  I do, however, wish more of the movie focus was on The Cotton Club itself and the lives of those characters.

The story centers around the dangerous love affair of Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere) and Vera Cicero (Diane Lane). ¬†She “belongs” to mobster Dutch Schultz (James Remar). ¬†Dutch is a straight up¬†psychopath¬† ¬†We also follow the budding romance between Sandman Williams (Gregory Hines) and Lila Rose Oliver (Lonette McKee). ¬†He wants to get married. ¬†She wants to be a “Star.” ¬†(She’s also hiding a secret about her other life.)

Watch and listen as Lonette McKee, also from the movie (“Sparkle”), delivers a taste of the film’s 1930’s Harlem.

The song: “Ill Wind (You’re Blowing Me No Good)” ¬†Composed by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Ted Koehler. ¬†It was written for their last show at The Cotton Club in 1934.

 

One of the most memorable scenes is between the real life and onscreen brothers – Maurice and Gregory Hines. ¬†Clay (Maurice Hines) and Sandman (Gregory Hines) have had a major falling out and at this moment we get to share their reunion. ¬†Growing up, this old school tap dancing duo was compared to The Nicholas Brothers. ¬†Gregory Hines remarked in an interview that after seeing The Nicholas Brothers perform that “nobody was going to be the next Nicholas Brothers, least of all my brother and I.”

 

Starring Richard Gere
Gregory Hines
Diane Lane
Lonette McKee
Music by John Barry

 

Explore the 1984 film but more importantly explore the controversial history of The Cotton Club and the entertainers and music that fueled the Jazz generation.

 

What Are You Watching on Friday the 13th?

  • Dementia 13 (1963)

Dementia 13

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

A wacky little flick about the Haloren family and the annual ritual of reuniting in¬†remembrance¬†of the death of the youngest daughter Kathleen. The mom works herself up into a frenzy as usual but this year is a little different. There’s an ax murderer roaming around hacking up the residents of the Haloren Estate.

  • Thirteen Ghosts (1960)

13 Ghosts

 Directed by: William Castle

What are your thoughts on the supernatural? ¬†Well, when you’re broke, an inherited haunted house is still a free house. ¬†But this family takes on a lot more than they expected with their new roomies. ¬†Fortunately a special pair of “ghost goggles” allows them to see their tormentors.

 

 

Also, check out the 2001 version. ¬†Takes the ghosts up to a whole other level. ¬†Produced by Terry Ann Castle (William Castle’s daughter)

 

  • House on Haunted Hill (1959)

 

House_on_Haunted_Hill

 

Directed by: William Castle

Classic all the way. ¬†Frederick Loren and his “haunted house theme” party. ¬†He’s so amusing:) ¬†Whoever of his guests makes it through the night walks away (or limps, whatever the case may be) with $10,000. ¬†Let the games begin.

 

I’m not much for remakes, but the 1999 version with Taye Diggs, Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen is outstanding! ¬†Also produced by Terry Ann Castle. (William Castle’s daughter)

 

 

Happy Viewing!