The Miracle of ‘The Godfather’


The writer Iván Reguera talks about the difficulties that Coppola’s film overcame to become a masterpiece

It’s hard to imagine that Francis Ford Coppola was on the cusp of not directing “The Godfather,” the film that would make him one of the most important filmmakers of the 20th century. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of this brutal work of art, the book “The Man Who Can Do Miracles” (Roca Editorial) is published in Spain, dedicated to a film destined for oblivion and, despite everything, considered by the most prestigious critics in the world as the best in history. Signed by Iván Reguera, the book presents unknown details of this formidable production. Since its theatrical release in 1972, ‘The Godfather’, with its Oscars, music and a cast that includes Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Diane Keaton and Robert Duvall, has established itself as a favorite among moviegoers.

But this movie would have been very different if Coppola had turned down the opportunity, if executive Robert Evans had been kicked out of Paramount a month earlier, if the Mafia had managed to stop filming, or if Al Pacino hadn’t been hired. “It was a miracle that the film was made. The more I researched about filming, the more I was amazed,” Reguera says. The author has devoted years of his life to this book, not only because he is a lover of Coppola, but also because of the number of perils the production faced. “Coppola is my favorite director. I’ve always wanted to write a novel dedicated to ‘The Godfather’, but the fascinating thing is not that it is the best in history, but that it can be done,” says Reguera.

In the Key to the Mystery, the author describes the obstacles Coppola faced even before taking over the reins of “The Godfather,” as Paramount Pictures wanted to hire a more famous director, such as Elia Kazan, Arthur Penn, or Peter Yates. They eventually settled on Coppola because he was young (just 32 years old) and they thought he would do as he was told. “He seemed like a director who was attuned to what the studio wanted in their attempt to manipulate him, but then Coppola did what he wanted,” Reguera reveals.

Paramount hired him for $125,000 and 6% of the film’s profits. Considering Coppola was fired nearly three times during filming, his ability to not only finish the film but also lead the subsequent franchise to win a total of nine Academy Awards and earn over $1 billion gross was truly a miracle. .

Considered the quintessential gangster movie, ‘The Godfather’ is responsible for creating the modern idea of ​​the mafia. In fact, his success was so great in pop culture that the crowd borrowed phrases like, “I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse.” That’s quite ironic, given that the mafia went to great lengths to prevent ‘The Godfather’ from ever making it onto the big screen. Before it started, the shoot was attacked by the Italian-American Civil Rights League, a group that opposed the portrayal of Italian stereotypes and managed to get the word mafia out of the film.

In their favor, they had the collaboration of Frank Sinatra, who performed at an event at Madison Square Garden and raised $500,000 for their cause. “The mobsters started following ‘The Godfather’ producer Al Ruddy and smashed all the windows of his car. Paramount director Robert Evans received a call from a thug who threatened to attack his son,” Reguera said.

If record box office, Oscars, starring roles for aspiring actors like Al Pacino and Robert Duvall weren’t enough, ‘The Godfather’ also features a career revival of Marlon Brando, for whom the film (along with ‘The Last Tango in Paris’, released in the same year) offered something of a personal renaissance. Brando was barely old enough to be a patriarch (47), but his presence helped trace the story’s bloodline. From the moment Coppola Brando lands, the movie started to undo its curse.

Source: La Verdad


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