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Literature/Movie Comparison: The Godfather

The Book and the movie of The Godfather have their similarities and differences that I will be focusing on. The Godfather is the best selling phenomenon – a classic of our time. The Godfather story was written before the movie came out approximately 30 years ago. At first glance, the book and the movie appear the same. Upon further investigation, however, the two forms of media do possess certain differences. Although they are different in the areas of characters, setting, and dialog, they are similar in the areas of violence, Don Vito Corleone, and Michael Corleone. These differences in the movie and the book are very minute.

The plot for both were intense to read and watch. Gangster action is my forte. There seems to be nothing better than acknowledging a character that plays a role that is highly respected and feared. The plot was very interesting and easy to follow. The literature to this book as opposed to The Rainmaker is that Mario Puzo is better at describing a setting vividly to get a good mental picture as to what is going on. The characters in both the movie and book are easy to relate to because of the Italian side of my family. Whenever we have family get togethers and our “Mafia” picnic, I see the same socializing/ conduct that happens in the story/film. There is one single person that is in my family that is assumed to be the Godfather. I guess I can say that is because my parents strongly urged that I foreclose myself from talking about it to the other people in the family. Acting in the movie including Marlon Brando (Don Vito Corleone), Al Pacino (Michael Corleone), Robert Duvall (Tom Hagen) and Diane Keaton (Kay Adams) all had contributed to a great life-like effort. With those mentioned and along with a handful of others was their acting debut. The only thing I feel was not well thought out about the movie is the characters picked out to play the parts. Some of them were not considered to look like they were Italian. Along with that the sons of the Godfather did not resemble each other, the father, nor the mother. The setting in both the movie and the book were accurate. A lot of the Italian families that just got off the boat resided in New York. The reason for that is because it was the direct route from here to Europe. The dialog throughout the film/book was not that of the native Italian language. The story was in a sense, wasAmericanized. The Italian names were there and the Italian culture was there, but the dialog was in English for the most part. The dialog in the story was done in a hierarchical structure; the most important of people were spoken to accordingly.

The main focus in this paper is to discuss the differences between the novel and the film. I would like to reiterate that the characters, setting, and dialog are all topics of interests that are different. Opposite to that the violence, Don Vito Corleone, and Michael Corleone are similar in both mediums. With those six main differences/similarities I will provide four supporting occurrences for each topic.

The characters in the book were more put into detail. The ones to be mentioned that were not in the movie may not reflect that they might have had a one second part that could easily be passed up. The characters that were not included on the movie but not in the book are Nazorine, Margot Ashton, Enzo, Katherine, Filomena, Anthony Cappola, and Billy Goff. Of course there are more to be added to the list, but I am simply making a statement. The idea of listing and describing all of them would be tedious. Nazorine is a baker that is described as a pudgy and crusty as his great Italian loaves, still dusty with flour that scowled at his wife. Katherine is Nazorine’s daughter. Enzo was Nazorine’s baker helper. Filomena is the one that Nazorine scowled at his wife. Margot Ashton, along with being Johnny Fontaine’s wife, was described as a beautiful woman with an angelic face, soulful violet eyes, and delicately fragile but perfectly formed body. Anthony Coppola was a son of a man Don Corleone had worked with on the railroad yards in his youth. Billy Goff was the most powerful man in the movie labor unions. All in all the book is more likely to describe in detail about the characters.

The scene where Genco Abbandando has cancer and is visited by Don, Johnny, Sunny, Tom, Michael, and as well as others in the hospital is also excluded in the movie. Three days later Genco Abbandando dies.

The book started out with Amerigo Bonasera in New York Criminal Court Number 3 for a case involving his daughter. The case was based on vengeance on the men who had cruelly hurt his daughter. After thinking about why the book started out with the case and its significance, I didn’t find any evidence in its connection with the book. The case was not included in the movie, which comes to my second difference between the literature and the film.

Other setting that differs from the film is that the book lacked mentioning of Don Vito Corleone’s wife. In general, I feel that women were not important to the characters and the outcome of the story. Still the theory of women not having rights holds to be true with Mario Puzo’s work. Mary Kay was really the only female character in the novel that has much bearing as to what goes on. If I were the one to write the novel I would have stressed more women roles. Could there be any conflictions with the wives of the male characters as to how and why they killed other people? Those type of issues were not addressed in the book that could be very likely to happen in those type of situations.

Paulie Gatto was on the Godfather’s hit list now. Paulie Gatto was one of the Godfather’s caporegimes (bodyguard) and was being replaced by Rocco Lampone. Rocco Lampone worked for the Godfather as an internship for a little while. The scene consisted of Clemenza, Rocco Lampone, and Paulie Gatto. The Godfather found out that Paulie Gatto was getting paid by Sollazo and didn’t want an unfaithful man as his bodyguard. The difference lies in that Clemenza made a stop to eat at an Italian restaurant before killing Paulie.

The book has its differences with the dialog from the movie. The first reference to that is when the book basically states that the laws don’t work for justification purposes, but the Mafia does. The Mario Puzo uses a couple of words that are not used in the movie, for one being caporegime. As mentioned before, a caporegime is any of the bodyguards of Don Vito Corleone. My assumptions are that it is an Italian word. Another word used in the book, but not in the film is pezzonovante. Pezzonovante is a word that means gun. Just like caporegime, it is also an Italian word. The time in Michael Corleone’s life after he shot Solazzo and Captain McCluskey where he is hiding from the police presents another difference in dialog. While being in Italy, there is some conversation in the movie where others are speaking in Italian. The book is strictly written in English so the Americans can understand it.

The Godfather written by Mario Puzo and the film directed by Francis Ford Coppola have more similarities than differences. The similarities can’t all be pointed out, however some can be brought out. The main topics of interest for similarities are violence, Don Vito Corleone, and Michael Corleone. The way that Jack Woltz’s horse, Paulie Gatto, Sonny Corleone, and Luca Brasi were killed in the same fashion from the movie to the book.

Jack Woltz’s horse Khartoum is a retired bred that was purchased for six hundred thousand dollars. The reason the horse came about was because Tom Hagan was there to visit/request that Johnny Fontaine get the part for the next movie. Being that Jack Woltz was the most powerful man in the movie industry, he could be very resourceful for Johnny Fontaine to become famous. Jack Woltz denied the grant for Johnny’s part in the movie so Don Vito Corleone had Jack’s most precious thing killed. Jack Woltz could only wish that his horse be more head strung.

Paulie Gatto was killed like mentioned before; the simple fact that he was being paid off by ( Solazzo ) one of the Godfather’s enemies. Rocco and Clemenza took Paulie to a field and killed him where Clemenza supposedly had to go to the bathroom.

Sonny Corleone ( Santino ) was killed and set up after Connie Corleone and Carlo Rizzi got into a fight. Sonny when finding out that Carlo Rizzi had hit Connie, he went to go after him. There was prior animosity between Carlo and Sonny because Sonny had beat the heck out of him for hitting his sister before. Sonny on his way to get Carlo, he was blocked in to a security gate and shot at.

Luca Brasi, one that was feared by all but only feared the Godfather, got erased by Tattalia and Solazzo. Luca Brasi was brought to a meeting with Tattalia and Solazzo to be offered a more generous dividend for his efforts. The two thought that such a brute force on their side would be a benefit to them. Luca Brasi’s life ended when they had strangled him to death.

Don Vito Corleone, the Godfather of the Corleone family, reflected the same person in both forms of the story. “Don Vito Corleone was a man to whom everybody came for help, and never were they disappointed.”, verbatim from the book. Words of “I’ll give them an offer that cannot refuse” were mearly a reference to a part of his personality. He made no empty promises, for he didn’t let anyone down. Don Corleone would take other people’s problems to heart. The things that he did for people were looked at as a favor. He didn’t look for pay out of a deal, at least not directly. Don Vito Corleone believed in the theory that you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Between the two ( book and the movie ) there was a happy medium in how the Godfather was shot by Solazzo and others not mentioned. Solazzo shot the Godfather because he did not want the family to do anything with dealing drugs. Solazzo being pro drugs, thought he could get his way if he killed the Don.

Michael Corleone was the youngest son of Don Corleone and the only child who had refused the Godfather’s direction with the business. The description of the physical appearance matched that of the book. The literature and the film were also both synomous with Michael Corleone in regards to his personality, how he killed Solazzo, how he killed Captain McCluskey, and how he became the Don.

In summation of the book and the film, I feel that each has their entities. The vivid descriptions that Mario Puzo uses to effect the readers’ minds could not brought to life without Francis Ford Coppola’s film version. Reading the book was sincerely my first positive experience I have ever had with reading a book. Honestly, I have opened myself for the first time to reading books. That is why I am happy that the book and the novel are so closely related. I liked the book more because I will always look back at it. To sum it all up the differences are certain specifics of the characters, setting, and dialog. The similarities consist of violence, Don Vito Corleone, and Michael Corleone.

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