Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on March 19, 1972 · Page 30
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 30

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 19, 1972
Page 30
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f, ( 'miiii', iv. Mni h I 'I, I'D PA l i I : I I 'UPSS A .r - orm waiting wor : .V w 1! e. wMawJi lag ju Ahi rloti llrando "ITT 1 ere BY ROBERT ROSE Special to the Free Pres -HOLLYWOOD - Marlon Erando? Oh sure, he was great jn "A Streetcar Named Desire" and he won an Oscar for "On the Waterfront." But that was a long, long time ago, and look at all the dogs he's made since then, pictures thai didn't make a dime. And besides that, he's poison for producers, what with his mumbling end his temper and his had manners. Casting him as "The Godfather" may have been a jhrewdly manipulated public-ily move, but the film was a Jon time in production and there was all that trouble on the set and besides that, Prando couldn't learn his lines and . . Well, you can forget all that smart-guy bad-mouthing. Producer Al Ruddy, the man who made the movie of Mario Puzo's sensational novel about One Mafia man's family, says Erando was a dream to work with. As a result, the movie may shape up as one of the yearns biggest blockbusters. "Look, he behaved himself really," says Ruddy, munching on a sandwich at his desk at Paramount Studios. "It's almost embarrassing to tell people the guy was beautiful. Me not only did his own homework, but he was a big help to the other actors, to the director, I rancis l ord Coppola, and to me." Ruddy cites a case in point. Rain had delayed shooting of tlie famous opening scene, (he outdoor wedding in which the Godfather's daughter is married, and the delay could have cost Ruddy a lot in extra salary for Brando. "So 1 went to P.rando, and I said, 'it would rvdly help me out if you went off salary, went back to California for a r.eek, let me do the interior Stuff and hope it dries out.' He says, 'Man, if it helps you, go ahead.' " He gave up probably $40,000, and I know he hasn't done that for many eople. .hiimii fimfmMmmfmnmmmW'..M wnJ'll limn wimmnii mimmmmmm mmmmm mm mi im.i MP a i'!n.,i nniinnrni . - in Mum wwmuwm "! I ' if l X I ; i v.wn . !' ' i. if ji . ' j v. .... v i T, n -.n mm m m m tn i Ik T i 1 1 m t..-.:.t...,.it. .j,ir.Adl . i . . m i ....... . ... ... ' ..... . i. ..- ... . tfn. i rvOftH.a itK.tiiwrliii ihim l wn m i i f" 4&m Tli n w THE VEST POCKET THEATRE WnXV THE K al tin lop aain as iniilti-fart tnl 3Iaf ia ilon in ose Stories About Brando? What s "The whole trip with Brando is you have to be very straight and honest with him If you ever con him, you're dead. But if you're always honest, well . . . take the time they were shooting the hospital scene after the Godfather has been shot in a gang war, Ruddy thought some of Brando's dialog was a little low. The three were having lunch and Ruddy tried to bring it up, mentioning the noisy traffic and so forth, and how, er, Brando might have to speak up just a little. "Marlon said," 'Hey, if you ever think I'm doing something like that, just tell me. You know a lot of times I get lost in that character, I'm so involved in it.' And he is. I mean, his concentration is staggering, He's a marvelous guy to deal with. I love him. He's a great human being who has an enormous compassion for people. He cares." Despite all that, Paramount was less than thrilled when Ruddy and Coppola Insisted that Brando was the man they must have to play the Godfather. "Paramount was reluctant. For obvious reasons. Some of his more recent films had not made money." But then Ruddy and Coppola went to New York to talk to the bosses with something up their sleeves that changed the whole picture: A screen test that wasn't really a screen test. T mean, you don't ask Marlon Brando to take a screen test, but Brando had wanted the part and Coppola had gone over to see him, taking along a video tape recorder. "Marlon just put some black makeup under his eyes, aged himself. Pulled his hair back and streaked it, used an eyebrow pencil to make a fake mustache, and stuffed toilet paper in his cheeks to puff out his jowls. He had a little cup of espresso and one of those little bent Italian cigars. He just sat there, sipping, puffing ASHBY'S MUSICAL "THE CHOICE" She was: Young, Pregnant, Unmarried, and Fair Game Music by DOROTHY ASUBY March 28 thru April 16 Kvenings 8:30 Sunday Malinee at 3:00 p.m. "Phone: 272-2760 Tickets: $3.00, $ i.00, S3.00, 6.00 Filming Was (K'tasionally, and those expressions my God, the Godfather! When they saw that face, Paramount flipped. U turned them around on Marlon." FIFTEEN MONTHS ago, when I first talked to Ruddy, he had just turned out "Little I auss and Big Halsy" for Paramount and was only then getting going on "The Gxl-father." His ideas then were that it would be a "very lean, small, kind of terrifying damn movie, about people you love. 'If you try to do a saga, you've blown it." And he insisted he wanted no big stars. But suddenly, here' Krando, hardly an unknown. And instead of being lean and small, the movie has blossomed into a three-hour, $7-million epic. Paramount actually didn't start out thinking big about "The Godfather." But then, says Ruddy, "We got Brando and then when Joe Colombo (whose Italian American Civil Rights League denounced the movie) got shot, well, there was a regeneration of interest in 'The Godfather.' "Paramount said, 'Let's go all the way, this looks like it has that kind of chance.' The trick was to find the optimum for the money. If we had spent another $1 million we couldn't have gotten a better movie. And the costs could very easily have slipped up to $10 million. Very easily." SOME OF the things that moved it up from Little Picture to Big Picture were Brando, and Coppola's decision to make the movie in New York and to do it in period, mid-1940s style. "We looked for a lot of unknowns. Really. But when we came right down to it we knew we needed a man who has enormous mystique and power that would permeate the film even when he wasn't on the (ieiroit symphony Sixten Ehrling, Music Director Ford Auditorium Thin s, ami Sal., March 2.5 ami 2 , 8:30 p.m. Sixtaii llBrliisg contliivtor pianist Brahms Rodion Shchedrin Bartok Tickets: $7, $6, $5, $4.50 (also $4, $3.50 Thurs.) Limited number of ticket! for ttudenti and senior citizens $ 1 .75 f Ford Auditorium Box Office beginnmg 7:45 concert nightie Box Offices: Ford Auditorium (961-0700), all Hudson's (CA 3-5100) and Grinnell's (961.5075) Us your Hudson or Grinnell's charg to order by phon A' " t twMwhih!e-'-' J-- i i r.iiiim..i Tr- screen version of Mario Puzo's noel screen. l'e seen it. lie comes into the room with .'jfltl people and in a minute everybody knows he's there. It works beautifully in the film. And that was simply the reason why Marlon Brando is the Godfather. "New York is expensive because the unions charge 30 to 40 percent more right off the top. Period is tough because everywhere the camera turns there are TV antennas that have to come down, old-fashioned lamp posts that have to go up, billboards that have to be changed, and everything you do costs money," Then there was that little flap with the Italian-American Civil Rights League. "I would say the last thin that entered my mind when we started on this was that it would be so controversial," Ruddy says. "We received many, many letters from prominent senators, congressmen, stale senators and others expressing their concern that "The Godfather," if not treated properly, would de-fa m e the Italian-American community." Also, Ruddy found he was running into "inordinate problems" in setting up shooting locations. A lot of people just wouldn't co-operate. "And we had about 62 locations (i'2! There were some Italians who weren't members of anything who had kind of ambiguous feelings about us. They just didn't want to get involved. "Then the Italian-American l eague had a big rally in Madison Square Garden with Frank Sinatra and a lot of other people entertaining. They raised $fi()0,IIOO for the sole and express purpose of stopping the filming of 'The Godfather.' " Ruddy says now that it was "a unilateral decision," but he felt he had better contact an Symphony No. I Mischievous Melodies Piano Concerto No. I -n' 4 V ! - Like Italian-American group. The Civil Rights League had been very vocal and some of his letters had suggested he meet with them to try for an accommodation. Then followed the luncheon with Nat Marcone, League president, and Anthony Colombo, vice president and son of Joseph Colombo Sr., described by The New York l imes ns "a reputed leader of organized crime in Brooklyn." "Tha irony of it was accommodation was absolutely minimal, nothing. "In the screenplay there was one time the word 'Mafia' was mentioned. That's when the lawyer comes to the West Coast and the movie producer tells him 'no Guinea, Goom-bah, Wop, Greaseball Mafias are coming out of the woodwork to get Johnny I ontane that job.' We took out 'Mafia. " Ruddy also offered to give the prx:eeds of the New York premiere to the league, but he wasn't pressured for it. "We d i d n 't cheat on the book at all. The film is an absolute literal translation of the book and it has great authenticity. There are some very heavy lines in it about the blacks, the Jews, the Italians, the Irish-Americans. This movie does not whitewash any one group. "There will never he another film I do in my life that will have the controversy, the politics and the anxiety," be says, moving out of his chair. And he added, grinning, "I'm anxious to have you see the movie: Then maybe you'll go see 'Little Fauss and Big Halsy." Or maybe "Son of The Godfather," Puzo already has written the script for a contemporary sequel. i I tTll 'I I ' ' Mo 1 ell I $ SARDI and BETSY PALMER friT 11 am, Wednesday, March 22 at the FISHER THEATRE Host and rsconteur-in-residenrs of New York's most "in" dining spot for world rnownsd celebrities, Vincent Sardi is a celebrity in his own rlRht. Betsy Palmer is a multi talented stape and TV actress and talk show hostess who hss never before spoken to a Vown Hall audience. Together, they make the moit fascinating pair of celebrities ever to appear at Detroit Town Hall. They will be introduced by Dctioit's own Shirley tder. INFORMAL FASHION SHOW BY SAX FIFTH AVENUE SARDI SURPRISE LUNCHEON After the Show, treat yourself to a Champagne Reception with Detroit's fabled wine merchant-extraordinaiy, Walt"! Rosenberg, and a complete Innrhfon nnn 0( Snrrl oripinal cui'-ino. I wi more temntinir than thi food will be conversation with Sardi, Miss Palmer and the many other celebrities attending the event. RESERVE SEATS NOW FOR NEXT YEAR'S SEASON DONALD BROOKS NANCY DICKERSON ROBERT RIMMER GAY TALESE BOB BARKER JIMMY BRESUN CLEVELAND AMORY BOB TALBERT INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE TICKETS: S3. 50 I I ikiimpdm- tA a fx mor information on Celebrity tan: B1 IHi: GODFATHER Opens WcJuefJtiy, March 22 Neighborhood Theaters Dim Vilo Cnrlfnne Marlon Rrsnrlo Michael Corleone Al Pflcino .jonny Corleone . . . Jrimeb Clpmena . . Richard C.istellorio Tom Hiqpn . Rnhnrl Du7ill J.ick Woll? lohn Mflrlev Knv Ad.nns Diane Kerflon Sollo7o l Lellieri 'lessio Abe Vioode Connie . . , Tallfl Shire Johnny Fontaine Al Msrlino W.irrui Corleone MorqatM King Luca Rrasi Lennv Monlflna Anollonia ... Simonelta Stetanelll 8oivir,era Jalvatore CorslHo A Paramount Pictures relMe, pro-ducmJ by Al Ruddy and directpd bv Franci'i Ford Coppola; with screenplay bv Mario Puo and Coooola, based on the novel by Puo; photography by Gordon Willis; music by Nino Rota; uroduclion desinnpd by Doan Travoulori,. In Technicolor. Rated R. I'.ven the critic whose stock-in-trade is evaluation, as opposed, to prediction, has got to cut on the subject of "The Godfather" out of sheer excitement: This is going to be not only the most widely seen, but also the most widely honored movie of 1972. For a change, the general public and t h e list-makers and the award-givers are going to be able to say, as if in one voice, "Now, that's what I call a movie!" Like the Mario Puzo saga that inspired it, Francis Ford Coppola's screen version of "The Godfather" has an almost hypnotic effect. One is immediately and irrevocably caui;1 1 up in the drama. Its momentum simply doesn't permit awareness of turning X-number of pages or sitting for X-number of minutes. At just under three hours, the movie is nearly twice as long as other feature films but one doesn't even notice that there was no intermission until its all over. Whv? The spellbinding effect of "T h e Godfather" can be (raced to (he work's unusual point of view, to the clarity and terseness of Coppola's adaptation, and to Marlon Krandn's perfectly stunning characterization of Don Vito Corleone, the Mafia chieftain whose life and times the work chronicles. Set in the '40s, something of a transition period for under-world figcres, "The Godfather" examines the rackets and the people who run them by z:-roing in on one family. The word family applies not only to his relatives, but also to b i s business associates. Thai particular concept of family is, in fact, the work's key concept. More than' merely a pater familias, the Godfather is also a kind of Pope, a person who speaks ex cathedra, who dispenses justice and wisdom, who rewards good and punishes evil. Throughout the work, one recognizes this aspect of the Godfather's character even as one recognizes just as certainly that he is an outlaw, a murderer, the thug at the top of the pecking order. Seeing the Godfather from a dual perspective creates ambivalence in the viewer, sets up a tension between two simultaneous points of view that rivet one's attention to the proceedings. Unlike routine gangland exposes and here's where the conventional moralists get rouled up. "The Godfather" doesn't point fingers at good guys and bad guys. Instead, it forces one to consider (he possibility that a man who orders murder like some people order toast can also enjoy gardening. It puts forth the hypothesis that man is neither all good or al' bad but, perversely, something ot both. The hypothesis, like several others raised bv "The God I cccnu. tmnn lrV Luncheon or ticket Information, - UUS4. OSiTOir lAfFl O 1 1 t-t ifo Y ,y. 1 . 1 Susan Stark's Best Movies 'A father," is worth thinking about, but the main business of the picture clearly isn't to make one think so much as to keep one. engrossed in the winding narrative. The story of the New York-based Don's struggle to retain control of his empire during the era when drugs became known in underworld circles as "t h e coming thing" moves from the Sicilian hills to the Las Vegas casinos, embracing enough characters along the way to populate a Busby Berkeley spectacular. IT IS TO COPPOLA'S great credit, as both director and screenwriter, that the film at no point provokes bewilderment about who did what and why and where. All the characters are defined by their relationship to the Godfather, at the outset, which provides the viewer w i t h a manageable point of reference, and the narraiive itself is blessed with transitions that are both coherent and graceful. Ot notices another Coppola touch, equally appreciated but quite unexpected. The film punctuates its most grim sequences with humor. Just before we must watch a Hollywood bigshot who has been "disrespectful" to the Godfather pay for his disrespect in an incredibly gruesome way, Coppola gives us a laugh by comparing the polite, dignified approach of the mobster's emissary with the no-nonsense vulgarity of the movie man's manner. By midfilm, an oft-recurring line used to describe the family's way of doing business "We'll make them an offer they can't refuse" also becomes a source of comic relief. The steadiness and imagination Coppola brings to the film would be cause for commendation under any circumstances. Ciiven the non-stop midwife activities of the Paramount brass from the second they acquired rights to Puzo's novel, however, Coppola should be considered for the Medal of Honor-That being duly noted, one Masonic Auditorium NETHERLANDS COMfAHX Of 99 "A gem of a company" Cliv lam, N.Y. Timt S.OO-$S.0OS4.00 Masonic Auditorium, J, I. Hudson's I Grlnnell't ilWrl vonny TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 8:00 P.M. U OF D MEMORIAL BUILDING TICKETS: S6.50. S5.50, J4.50 AvuHable al U. of D. Box ot'ica ind all J. L. Hudson ticket outlet. ANEW "ICEXPERIENCE" - TIM WOOD, U. S. t World Champto NUPPERT'S Amaiing Llvt BEANS BADMINTON ON ICE with Hugh Foirgla H. ft. PUFNSTUF Sid A Martr KroM Pred. - op ehs TUES. MAR. 21 thru M0N. APR. 3 NX WEEK NIGHTS 3 SHOWS SAT. MAR. 25 CAMERA NIGHT 7 SHOWS SUN. MAR. 36 3:00 A 6:00 P.M. 2 SHOWS SAT. APR. 1 2:00 & 8:00 P.M. 1 SHOW SUN. APR. J 4:00 P.M. MATINEE MON. APR. 3 4:00 P.M. NO SHOWS MON. MAR. 27 TUES. MAR. 28 WID. MAR. 29 PRICES $6.00, $5.00 $4.00, $3.00 JUNIORS 16 AND UNDER AND SENIOR CITIZENS HALF PRICE, WED. MAR. 22 THURS. MAR. 23 ALL SAT. MATINEES. MON. APR. 3, 4:00 P.M. ALSO ALL OTHER PERFORMANCES, MEZZANINE SEATS ONLY Tlcktt n Sola at Olympla, l Major Hudton'i and Wart ltori Nr GROUP ARRANGEMENTS Call DONNA MARTIN, 895-7000 Lighted, fncd and ArtanaW Forking for 7, 500 cart rfornr fa Olympio tttolator Srvit fa thm taltony MAIL ORDER PROMPTLY FILLED f v moves on in last but not least fashion to the performance of Marlon Brando, which should do for him just about what th Magpio role in "From Here To Eternity" did for Sinatra. Brando has come homt. Brando's highly personal some would say quirky style serves him in thjs performance, as it has served him in all his other great roles. He is able, because of some magic interaction between body and voice, to pro ject all the paradoxes upon which human nature is founded. He is brutal and tender, beautiful and ugly, strong and weak, inviolate and vulnerable, repellent and ar pealing. Given "The Godfather's" hypothesis about the nature of man, he incorporates, within the confines of his character, the film's entire narra-t i v e. His character is th film's point. Fven if that were not true, one would line it literally im possible to notice anyone else when Brando's on screen. It is no accidem that one becomes aware of all the other first-rate actors in the film, even those in relatively big role like Al Pacino and Janif g Caan, only when they're working alongside someone other than Brando. It's mot that Brando is flamboyant or in any other way professionally selfish. Maybe it's just tha opposite. Maybf) the secret of Brando's power is that he, like maybe a handful of others, vnderstands fully what stillness and repose and tent-'.tiveness mean in terms of impa'-t on film. Attempting to analyze Brando's work, in terms of components, must inevitably diminish it. though. See the way he creates Don Corleone's death scene and attempt to define the perceptions he brings to the scene as written by Puzo. Suffice it to say that when Brando's on screen, "The Godfather" rises above the occasion, becomes more than engrossing entertainment, becomes art. Wed., April 128:20 P.M. DANCE THEATRE WKNR AM FM & U of D lO Prent 7:30 P.M. 12:00, 4:00 AND 8:00 P.M. WED., MAR. 22nd MICHIGAN'S OWN i TIM WOOD, U.S. and World Champtat r. Y SSS - fcja mm. dm. I

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