Screengrab: An Offer You Can’t Refuse
There’s a major classico this week on the box, says our man with the remote Richard Lutz
Poor Les. He revealed to me- rather shamefacedly- that he has never seen Godfather: Part II.
Nor the original The Godfather.
Shame. Shame. Shame. A World of Shame.
Well, Les old boy, good news. Godfather II is on the box (Fri; Film4, 21.00). You can run. But you can’t hide. You have no excuses now.
So for him and any other losers who are too cheap to buy the boxset or even rent a copy, now’s your chance to catch up with the rest of the universe.
Godfather II is a ravishingly beautiful film, contrasting how Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone character loses his moral compass in the miasma of mafia bloody politics in the 1960’s with the earlier sepia toned Vito Corleone – played by Robert De Niro- as the young up and coming gangster with a heart, a soul and an unalloyed love of family.
Two stories about one family that display how greed and power vitiate the human spirit.
So… here at the Screengrab newsdesk, we say that Godfather Part II is the film of the week if not the century. Its opening scene of 1890’s feudal Sicily crackles with heat and fear. Young Vito sees his mother and brother killed by an evil overlord. We see Vito as the lost young boy sent to New York to avoid being murdered and quarantined on Ellis Island. And slowly we watch the young man opening his eyes to opportunity- and the gangster’s life- in the Lower East Side of New York.
In one searingly telling scene set in the 1920’s, the young Vito holds his baby Michael in his arms and tells the child how much he loves him. This, the son who will take over the family 30 years later and bring it to murderous ruin.
If, like Les, you have been domiciled on the Planet Koozbane for the past decade or have had your tv and movie viewing rights withheld by wicked parents since 1974, you may not have seen this movie. In which case, taste and digest beauty and storytelling at its best in one fell swoop.
Francis Ford Coppola directed this masterpiece. And this fact leads on to other films on the box. His daughter Sophia realised she wasn’t an actress when she had a supporting role in her father’s mess of a movie that was Godfather: Part III (don’t bother).
But she has the makings of being a fine director like her dad.
An early effort was Lost in Translation (Mon; Tues, 1.55 am). Bill Murray plays a jaded actor in Japan continually laden with permanent jetlag, a faltering marriage and a terminal career. He meets Scarlett Johansson’s lonely figures in his hotel and they…well, do they or don’t they? It’s an entrancing romance and you will feel sloppy and gooey and sleepily jetlagged yourself after you watch it.
Another late night movie to put a smile on your jaded post revolutionary face is If… (Fri; Film4, 1.35) Brit director Lindsay Anderson, always with something to say, imagines a young (very young) Malcolm McDowell throwing up the barricades in his posh school and sticking it to The Man…or whoever is authority in a private school. It is a landmark film.
And if you want angst and bloodred emotional violence, try Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf (Thur, TCM, 00.45). Richard Burton and on again, off again real life wife Liz Taylor tackle booze, anger and naked aggression in the movie of the play.
Finally, a note of class in his dog-eared column: pour yourself a glass of wine and take in Roman Holiday (Wed; Ch4, 12.50). Gregory Peck and a young Audrey Hepburn zip around Rome (good guess, that) on a scooter and have a fine old fling.