The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on his crime syndicate stretching from Lake Tahoe, Nevada to pre-revolution 1958 Cuba.
In the final instalment of the Godfather Trilogy, an aging Don Michael Corleone seeks to legitimize his crime family's interests and remove himself from the violent underworld but is kept back by the ambitions of the young. While he attempts to link the Corleone's finances with the Vatican, Michael must deal with the machinations of a hungrier gangster seeking to upset the existing Mafioso order and a young protoge's love affair with his daughter. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
My dear children: It is now better than several years since I moved to New York, and I haven't seen you as much as I would like to. I hope you will come to the ceremony of papal honors given for my charitable work. The only wealth in this world is children; more than all the money, power on earth, you are my treasure.
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Mother Of Mercy, Is This The End Of The Corleones?
The Godfather Trilogy may have reached its end with The Godfather: Part III. But was there enough room to allow for yet another film based on another generation of the Corleones? Time and public demand will only tell.
I liked The Godfather: Part III right up to and including Sofia Coppola's much maligned performance as Mary Corleone daughter of Don Michael Corleone, the one and only Al Pacino. I think she was unjustly criticized. In her performance she set out to play one of the innocent children of Al Pacino.
There's a moving scene in The Godfather where we saw Al Pacino and Marlon Brando talking for the last time. Brando's hopes were for his son to become Governor Corleone, Senator Corleone to attain that level of respectability that was out of the Don's reach. Pacino tells him, maybe the next generation.
Flash forward to the late seventies where Pacino has slowly divested himself of the illegal interests of the Corleone family. But the other crime bosses don't like the idea of him going completely legitimate. He also has some opposition within his own family. His surviving sibling Talia Shire thinks he ought to keep a hand in and his illegitimate nephew, Andy Garcia is having a running feud with another family head, Joe Mantegna.
Andy Garcia got the only acting nomination for The Godfather: Part III as Sonny's son out of wedlock. And he's every bit as wild and hot tempered as Sonny was from The Godfather. Garcia brings a lot of passion to the part. But he does prove able to learn from his uncle and eventually not repeat the mistakes of his father. Garcia lost to another hoodlum portrayal, Joe Pesci for Goodfellas for Best Suppporting Actor.
Probably Al Pacino has gotten all he could out of the character of Michael Corleone. He's gotten real respectability now, he's been conferred with a Papal Knightship for the good works of the Corleone Foundation now. He's high up the criminal world too. But people and circumstances won't let those worlds mix and as he ruefully remarks, "just when I think I'm out, they drag me back in again."
Only four characters made it through the three Godfather films, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, and Richard Bright as Al Neri. All except Neri seem to grow in character, Neri is still button man in chief since Lucabrazzi started sleeping with the fishes in The Godfather. Keaton's character is still the outsider. Separated from Pacino in The Godfather: Part II, she still loves him and regrets as much as he has the outside forces that caused their separation.
Although Talia Shire got an Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in The Godfather: Part II, I think she really comes into her own in this one. Had it not been for male chauvinism implicit in the Sicilian culture, she'd be taking over the family business from Pacino. She's changed so dramatically over the course of the three films. In The Godfather she's the innocent daughter about to embark on marriage to a wife beater. In The Godfather: Part II, she's now entering middle age, overindulging in excesses, unhappy as a many time married widow, her first husband being killed in the original Godfather. She lives on the sufferance and tolerance of her brother. Now in The Godfather: Part III she takes an active interest in the family business and the family legacy. She realizes more than Pacino there's no escaping the Corleone roots. She champions Garcia as the new Don, she knows he's got the chops for the job, she hopes he can develop the smarts as does Pacino.
Eli Wallach contributes a fine performance as another aging crime Don who's got a lot more to him than when we first meet him. Raf Vallone plays Pope John Paul I and the urban legend of his sudden demise after a one month papacy is woven into the Corleone story. As is Joe Mantegna who plays an undisguised version of Brooklyn mob boss Joe Columbo.
I'm sure if the money's right and a workable screenplay is developed we may not have seen the last of the Corleones. There was one talked about a few years ago. Still if it never develops, The Godfather: Part III is a fine film to end the saga.
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