Sunday, March 01, 2009

Marlon Brando (Don Corleone): "Powerful people don't need to shout"

If you are into Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, you'll greatly enjoy Mark Seal's Vanity Fair story about the making of this epic film. [There's also a short companion story about the movie crew's dinner at a real mobster's place] Here's the part where the movie's producer Al Ruddy meets Joe Colombo, "the short, dapper, media-savvy head at 48 of one of New York’s Five Families":

Sidebar Quote

"Soon [Marlon] Brando had the voice of Don Corleone. 'Powerful people don’t need to shout,' he later explained."

* * *

“So next day Joe shows up with two other guys. Joe sits opposite me, one guy’s on the couch, and one guy’s sitting in the window.” Ruddy pulled out the 155-page script and gave it to the Mob boss. “He puts on his little Ben Franklin glasses, looks at it for about two minutes. ‘What does this mean—fade in?’ he asked. And I realized there was no way Joe was going to turn to page two.”

“Oh, these fucking glasses. I can’t read with them,” Colombo said, throwing the script to his lieutenant. “Here, you read it.”

“Why me?” said the lieutenant, throwing the script to the underling.

Finally, Colombo grabbed the script and slammed it on the table. “Wait a minute! Do we trust this guy?” he asked his men. Yes, they replied.

“So what the fuck do we have to read this script for?” said Colombo. He told Ruddy, “Let’s make a deal.”

Colombo wanted the word Mafia deleted from the script.

Ruddy knew that there was only a single mention in the screenplay, when Tom Hagen visits movie producer Jack Woltz at his studio in Hollywood to persuade him to give Johnny Fontane a part in his new film, and Woltz snaps, “Johnny Fontane will never get that movie! I don’t care how many dago guinea wop greaseball Mafia goombahs come out of the woodwork!”

“That’s O.K. with me, guys,” said Ruddy, and the producer and the mobsters shook hands.

Hat tip: Chugs.


  1. Dhiraj said...

    Grandeur of Marlon Brando’s persona is not based on a petulant self loathing mal-adjusted personality. He is an icon-perhaps the most influential actor because of his ability to find new ways of communicating brutality, beauty and vulnerability in one frame. He is great because he never failed to fascinate- even in his trashy movies.