Monday, March 10, 2014

Movie Asides: 'THE GODFATHER'

By Steve Crum
A bizarre scene unfolded opening night* in 1972 of The Godfather at the Empire Theater in Kansas City. I was seated far enough back to the left that I could pretty clearly see the right side front rows of the audience. At that angle I witnessed irony. 
The film began, and Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone mumbled in widescreen closeup to a thug disciple about making an offer not to refuse. Simultaneously, a tardy movie patron—a burly guy—was cutting his way across the third row from the front aisle, making people stand in the process and blocking others from watching the movie. 
It pissed off another burly guy so much he screamed at the interrupter to get the hell out of the way. A fist fight immediately began between the two, juxtaposed with the godfather softly talking on the screen, stroking his kitty cat. Meanwhile, ushers (remember when movie theaters had ushers?) made their way to quell the disturbance. Surprisingly, no police were involved, and the two quarrelers finally, quietly settled down a few seats apart, and the focus was back on The Godfather and its own tale filled with fist fights and endless killings. Life imitates art imitates life imitates ad nauseam. 
Igniting the audience’s edginess was the fact we all had to wait in line so long to get in, and it was a sold-out showing. The Godfather was also a highly publicized and anticipated event. Anxiety reigned. 
As it turned out, excitement about the movie was justified. Director Francis Ford Coppola’s gem is now film lore, a classic in the truest sense. 
When I watch it at home now, I keep looking around to see if any fist fight has broken out. 
*Even though I attended what I thought to be opening night, it has been reported that the actual opening night was the night before. KC’s Italian-American Unification Council “felt the movie was harmful, so harmful that two of its leaders spent their own money buying every ticket to the premiere showing.” Therefore, opening night played to an empty house. Maybe that fist fight in the audience the second night was a planned event?
Here is an offer you cannot refuse...the trailer to The Godfather:

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