“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
Even if you’ve never seen either “The Godfather” (1972) or “The Godfather: Part II” (1974) almost everyone knows a line or scene or two from the movies. A third film, aptly named “The Godfather: Part III” (1990), is acknowledged by many as an “epilogue” and received mixed reviews. However the first two films are considered modern- day classics, garnering numerous awards and accolades as two of the greatest films of all time. The films were a tremendous boost for the careers of Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire. So we’re gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse — stop by the Manatee County Public Library for all things “Godfather.”
It all started way back in 1969 with Mario Puzo’s bestseller, “The Godfather.” It is available in English and Spanish (“El Padrino”), as well as an audiobook Playaway version. Puzo’s sequel to “The Godfather,” “The Sicilian” is set mostly in Sicily with many of the characters based on real-life figures.
All three films are available in “The Godfather DVD Collection.” The haunting “Godfather” soundtrack is also available.
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“The Godfather Legacy: the Untold Story of the Making of the Classic Godfather Trilogy,” by Harlan Lebo, is a behind-the scenes look. Director Francis Ford Coppola was the genius who directed and co-wrote the screenplays with Puzo. The story of his clashes with Paramount (over choice of actors, locations, budget, etc.), how the realistic special effects were achieved, and the 140 production stills that illustrate the book will appeal to “Godfather” aficionado and general reader alike.
The History Channel’s “The Godfather Legacy” examines how Puzo’s book was adapted, discusses Coppola’s importance to the films, recounts the impact of the films in popular culture and their influence on future films and television programs, and includes numerous clips and still images from all three films.
Several books about the principals include “Pacino” by F.X. Feeney, “Somebody: the Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando” by Stefan Kanfer, “Then Again” a memoir by Diane Keaton, and “Francis Ford Coppola: a Filmmaker’s Life” by Michael Schumacher.
Set during the Great Depression and based on a screenplay by Puzo, “Booklist” magazine says “The Family Corleone” by Ed Falco “channels the original so well that readers will be vividly reminded of Puzo’s strengths.” The novel explores the back story of many of the characters including Vito Corleone, Sonny Corleone, Luca Brasi and Tom Hagen. Written with both an eye for detail and respectful of Puzo’s prose style, it has been suggested that it would be ideal as the source of a fourth “Godfather” movie.
Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Fran Barba is a reference librarian at the downtown Central Library.