Godfather Prose That Cuts Like Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Film Type: Term Paper Paper: #33312225 Related Topics: Silent Film, Movie Industry, Film Industry, Television Violence
Excerpt from Term Paper :

"Six hundred thousand dollars" lie dead beside him, a considerable sum in that day and age (69). The power of film is undercut by the superior power of violence, although ironically the viewer is watching a film, and is being taken into the foreign world of the Mafia through the medium that Woltz controls.

To live by power outside the law flouts the American dream: "It meant you couldn't do what you wanted with your own money, with the companies you owned, the power you had to give orders. It was ten times worse than communism. It had to be smashed. It must never be allowed," states Woltz explicitly, voicing his own thoughts and the reader's likely thoughts. (69) of course, the Don's ultimate aim in both the film and the book is that his flesh and 'blood' -- Michael -- will participate in legal, official society and wield power through the law and through money not through ill-gotten gains, even though eventually this power is shown to have less force than Don Corleone's primitive power if enforcement outside the law.

The coolness of Puzo's prose also indicates the mercilessness of the Mafia better than the more heated intensity and pacing Coppola film because, no matter how chillingly executed, even if the faces are not shown when blood is shed, the unemotional thoughts and feelings of the professional killers are hard to keep in mind, when as an audience member, a viewer is shocked by the sight of murder or dismemberment or takes perhaps a vicarious pleasure in watching such violence on film, from a safe distance like rubber-necking during a traffic accident. In contrast, Puzo in his novel...


To think like a Mafia don is profoundly disturbing for the reader, but in a 'positive' sense, because it forces them to confront, on an intimate level, the horrors by which the Mafia runs its own network and laws. The viewer, in contrast, is more of a disinterested spectator.

Puzo also creates a sense of the climate of Sicily, not just in terms of the hotness and dryness of the weather, but in terms of the attitudes of the populace. He does this by making causal references to the violence that has long existed in Italy, even outside of the scope of the film, such as when a local father "refused to knuckle under and in a public quarrel killed the local Mafia chief. A week later he himself was found dead, his body torn apart..." (194). The reasons that such violence is acceptable is also explained: "the word 'Mafia' had originally meant place of refuge...the name for the secret organization that sprang up to fight against the rulers who had crushed the country and its people for centuries" (326). In Sicily, unlike America, there is no pretence of law and order. Criminals are more respected as enforcers of justice. They have overcome old prejudices and installed themselves as the de facto enforcers of power.

What is so chilling about the Sicilian people's acceptance of the Mafia is that it is clear that the same thing could happen in the United States, if people adopt such distrust of the government and embrace criminals as heroes. Although the mentality of the 'American' character like Woltz shows that he believes this is impossible, and echoes the reader's own assumptions, by seeing how the Mafia mentality took hold of Sicily, the United States, Puzo's book ultimately forces the viewer to think critically about violence, rather than simply become drunk upon bloody, violent images of primitive Italian revenge.

Works Cited

The Godfather." Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 1972.

Organized Crime Research." Informational webpage. 2006. http://www.organized-crime.de/index.html

Puzo, Mario.…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

The Godfather." Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 1972.

Organized Crime Research." Informational webpage. 2006. http://www.organized-crime.de/index.html

Puzo, Mario. The Godfather. New York: Fawcett, 1969.

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