The Corleone Chronicles: Revisiting “The Godfather” Films as Trilogy, written by Pheobe Poon examines the structure of the narrative of each of the three Godfather movies, what separated these films from other gangster films of the time as well as the legacy that the three movies have left behind.
She starts her analysis of the films by taking a look at their typical narrative structure. Her examination leads her to break the films in four different acts, exposition (prologue), disruption (conflict), transition (bridge), to restoration (conclusion). The film, like other gangster films share some similar motifs, centered around the search or attempt to attain the American Dream through various illegal acts. In this way, in “The Godfather”, Michael Corleone’s character, although calculating and exacting, is transformed into a tragic hero. In this way films are not meant to glorify the gangster, but elicit an emotional response through an understandingof the charaters.
What Poon suggests sets “The Godfather” apart from other movies of its genre is its strong concentration on the family. Vito Corleone although calculating and at times barbaric is not simply portrayed as such. Rather because of the emphasis on the organization as a family, he is seen as the patriarch, the father figure instead of simply the boss. Furthermore, the characters, especially Michael and Vito are not merely acting out of revenge or avarice, but rather are convinced of the necessity of a strict moral code. This moral code comes through a history of ethnicity, being Sicilian. This ethnicity and concentration in a family allow for these characters to become protagonist as the audience can identify with some of their beliefs even if they can’t identify with some of the actions.
The influence and penetration by the Mafia into various sectors of the government and legal system throughout the 20th century is an issue of great concern that Earl Johnson Jr. a Special Attorney in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the United States Department of Justice discusses in his paper Organized Crime: Challenge to the American Legal System: Part III. Legal Antidotes for the Political Corruption Induced by Organized Crime. The paper explores possible remedies to the corruption created by the mafia through four possible measures
The first technique is that of initiating legal action against organized crime even when prosecutors are influenced and bought out not to take legal action. Remedying this situation is essential because if the prosecutor refuses to take action, the court is essentially powerless to react to illegal activity One possible remedy here is for the court to appoint a special prosecutor in the event that it appears the prosecutor is un willing to take any action. Other possible actions include substitution to the states Attorney General, a private person or the Federal Government.
The government and legal body on all levels must also not only discourage officials from becoming corrupt but also try not hire corrupt officials in the future. Sanction both Civil and Criminal can be taken against officials that are corrupt. The author describes the legal process involved in prosecuting someone from start to finish as a set of contest that the court must win at all steps along the way.
This paper sets up an understanding of the legal system and an acknowledgement of the corruption therein. In “The Godfather”, one of the central tools of any organized crime family is political connections. Throughout the movie, one can see corruption present at numerous points throughout the government, from corrupt police officers to an acknowledgment that the Don even has Judges and Senators “in his pocket.” The central conflict evolves from the fact that Don Vito Corrleone has legal contacts which are of tremendous value to other crime organization, contacts that worth killing for.
This article, written by Phoebe Poon, looks back at the overall success of The Godfather trilogy. The purpose of this article is to analyze the films as a whole as well as the way in which The Godfather established itself from other gangster films of the era.
Poon argues that although the movie is often characterized as a gangster film, it holds very key differences which set it apart from others. In the initial part of the article, she analyzes the trilogy and breaks each individual film into four sections. This pattern is repeated in all three movies and provides continuity throughout the trilogy, which in itself helps to differentiate it from other gangster films.
Poon goes on to address the issue of “family” that is found throughout the trilogy. This aspect of family helps to distinguish The Godfather from other crime films, as in most of these films; the protagonist is surrounded by hired mercenaries. However, the men working with Don Vito are trusted family members, creating a deeper and more meaningful bond between them. She goes on to state that, “the term gangster to the don would insult his style of leadership, which is vastly superior” to other gangsters.
Other important characteristics of the film helped differentiate this trilogy from other films. Poon mentions the attention to the culture of the Italians as important. Coppola does not portray the Corleones with stereotypical characteristics of Italians. Rather, he adds a degree of authenticity by accurately portraying Sicilian culture.
The differences that this essay highlights help to explain the reasons why The Godfather is critically acclaimed. The detail and depth that this film shows helps to separate it from other gangster genre films, and puts it in its own class.
This article written by Earl Johnson Jr. is used to express the influence of organized crime on American society. Johnson discusses and analyzes the reasons behind the difficulty in suppressing organized crime through traditional methods.
Throughout the essay he discusses the influence that organized crime has ranging from entertainment such as TV, books and newspaper articles, to the economy. He states that the action of organized crime takes money away from society and law abiding citizens, thus being a detriment to society. Organized crime also participates in other illicit actions such as violent crimes and getting rid of free competition. All of these tactics are used in order to give the organizations power. Johnson believes the reason for this immunity from the law is due to the fact that these crime organizations buy politicians and enforcement agents, corrupting the system and ruining its integrity. In addition to this, Johnson points out there is a distinct structure within these organizations to make insure that the leaders are safe from any prosecution.
Johnson refers to two other main attributes which protect organized crime from any problems is the corruption throughout the American legal system as well as the façade that these organizations establish.
From these reasons it is easy to see why these organizations continue to exist. Despite the knowledge of the government, they continue to be above the law and have nothing standing in there way.
These themes were all present throughout the film, as the Corleone family held many politicians “in their pocket.” Government officials were never present in the film, as they held no authority over these families. The only form of regulation was through the interactions between the five families.