1 - The Godfather - 5 stars
So yes my earlier confession was true. The general manager of The Belmont Picturehouse had never seen "the greatest film of all time". Shocking!
But that crime against cinema was finally forgiven tonight as I completed the most epic of epic film challenges as (500) Films of Empire came to its conclusion.
And what a way to end. Over 100 people, including my dad and friends, came along to screen 1 at 8.00 to join me in watching the number one film on the list, the daddy, The Godfather.
Annoyingly due to the way this challenge has worked out, I have actually watched the trilogy out of sequence, watching part 3 then part 2 and finally the original... but is it the best?
My review of The Godfather Part 2 gave the film five stars, and it is widely regarded as a sequel that is better than the original. But this blog doesn't deal with what other people think but what I think.
And upon my initial viewing, I would say that I prefer The Godfather.
That might be due to the fact that without having seen this one, certain elements of Part 2 might not have had the same emotional resonance, but perhaps it is because it has a more complete story and it is a fabulous piece of filmmaking.
It has a really beautiful look thanks to the cinematography. I love the look and feel that films had during the seventies.
The story is compelling and never drags inspite of a running time of just under three hours. It charts the fall of the 'Don' aka Marlon Brando and the rise of Michael Corleone to take over his position as the head of the family.
Brando is superb, and the puffed out cheeks and hushed voice work perfectly when combined with his physical presence to create a man who can be softly spoken but still command respect.
I had previously said that Pacino's best peformance was in Godfather Part 2, but he is even better in this one. His character goes on an even bigger arc, starting off as the brother who has no part in the 'family business' but ends up in charge and the new 'Godfather'. The scene in Louis's restaurant where he has to kill two men is the key turning point and everything you need to know is right there in Pacino's eyes. Also he doesn't really shout at all in the film!
Acting is terrific right across the board and Sofia Coppolla is MUCH better in this film than in part 3, playing the role of the baby being christened perfectly ;)
Speaking of Part 3, I might have to change my grading of the film now that I realise that the scene in the opera house intercut with the mob hits was just recycled from this film.
Certainly one of the best films ever made, if not the best.
Certainly a fitting end to the challenge with every bursting party poppers at the end of the film to celebrate the achievement.
Now that it is all over, would I do it all again? Let's just say it would take "an offer he can't refuse" to make me do it!
Days remaining - 0 Films remaining - 0