Genre Grandeur November Finale – The Godfather (1972) – Dubsism


For this month’s final review for Genre Grandeur – Films About Doctors, Nurses and Hospitals, here’s a review of The Godfather (1972) by J-Dub of Dubsism.

In case you missed any of the reviews, here’s a recap:

  1. The Elephant Man (1980) – David
  2. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022) – Paul
  3. Patch Adams (1998) – Darren
  4. Red Angel (1966) – David
  5. The Asylum (2015) – Paul
  6. The Andromeda Strain (1971) – Jim
  7. Wit (2001) – Rob
  8. Gemini (1999) – David
  9. The Power (2021) – Paul
  10. The Doctor Blake Mysteries (2013-17): The Good & The Ugly – Emily
  11. Saint Maud (2019) – David
  12. Saint Maud (2019) – Paul
  13. Alex: The Life of a Child (1986) – Sally
  14. The Snake Pit (1948) – David
  15. M*A*S*H (1970) – Rob
  16. Panic in the Streets (1950) – David
  17. The Godfather (1972) – J-Dub

In addition, I watched 6 movies in my companion series Genre Guesstimation. Fortunately, three of those films will now be considered among my favorites in the genre.

  1. *Living Proof (2008)
  2. Extraordinary Measures (2010)
  3. Malice (1993)
  4. *St. Elsewhere – The Pilot (1982)
  5. *St. Elsewhere – The Last One (1988)
  6. Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

Thanks again to J-Dub of Dubsism for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s genre has been chosen by James of Blogging By Cinemalight and we will be reviewing our favorite Films With Santa Claus or Santa Claus impersonators.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Dec by sending them to santa@movierob.net

Try to think out of the box!

Let’s see what J-Dub thought of this movie:

___________________________________________________

 

  • Today’s Movie: The Godfather
  • Year of Release: 1972
  • Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola

This movie is on my list of essential films.

NOTE: This installment of Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies is not being done as part of a blog-a-thon.  Instead, this is a monthly event hosted by MovieRob called Genre Grandeur.  The way it works is every month MovieRob chooses a film blogger to pick a topic and a movie to write about, then also picks a movie for MovieRob to review.  At the end of the month, MovieRob posts the reviews of all the participants.

For November of 2022, the honor of being the “guest picker” went to Yours Truly of Dubsism. The topic is Doctors, Nurses, and Hospitals; any medical drama (movie or television), anything with a doctor or a nurse as an important character, and anything which has a pivotal scene set in a hospital. After my experiences this summer during my self-imposed blogging hiatus, what else could I pick?

Don’t forget, a lot of crucial plot twists happen in The Godfather during Vito Corleone’s hospitalization after the attempt on his life…

In case you were wondering, my pick for MovieRob is the 1993 Alec Baldwin/Nicole Kidman thriller Malice.

The Story:

To my knowledge, I’ve only ever known one person whose never seen The Godfather. It seems to have fallen into that holiday rotation on AMC reserved for war movies on Memorial Day or a “Jaws” marathon on the 4th of July. Despite the fact that AMC now makes Thanksgiving a “spend the weekend with the {Corleone} family” event, I found my self needing to lend my disc collection (yeah, I’m old and still own physical media) to cure this viewing gap. Even so, I needed to be sure to advise my Godfather-challenged friend that Godfather III is no longer in the collection as that particular disc isn’t even good as a drink coaster because of the hole in the middle.

Having said that, there are some who consider to be the greatest motion picture ever made. I’ve never seen a credible list that doesn’t have it in the top five. It has garnered such reverence because American theatre-goers love epic dramas, gangsters and complex protagonists. Can there be a better summation of this movie?

The Godfather begins in the days immediately following the Second World War. As the head of the Corleone family, it is Don Vito Corleone’s (played by Marlon Brando) duty to honor request made of him on the day of his daughter’s wedding. Connie Corleone (played by Talia Shire) is marrying a small-time hood named Carlo Rizzi (played by Gianni Russo). During this wedding several plot points are launched through the introduction of key characters.

The first is Don Vito’s “right hand man” or consigliere Tom Hagen (played by Robert Duvall). As an attendee of the wedding, Don Vito’s godson Johnny Fontane (played by Al Martino) makes a request to his Godfather. Already a tremendously popular singer (think a thinly-disguised 1940s version of Frank Sinatra), Fontane is trying to break into the movies business, but is being road-blocked by Jack Woltz (played by John Marley), who is the powerful head of a movie studio.

Don Vito sends Hagen to Hollywood to persuade Woltz into gving Johnny a part in an upcoming movie. Woltz flatly refuses. But in a movie full of memmorable scenes, arguably one of the most visually-compleing is the one in which Jack Woltz finds in his bed the severed head of his prized racehorse. Not so coincidentally, Johnny Fontane got the part in the move after that.

Next are Corleone’s three sons. First, there’s Fredo (played by John Cazale). It doesn’t take the viewer long to realize Fredo is feeble-minded. The next son is Santino, or “Sonny” (played by James Caan), who is a hothead prone to violence and a philanderer, but he’s also the “crown prince” of the Corleone family; the next in line to the throne of the vast criminal empire. But most importantly there’s the youngest son Michael (played by Al Pacino).

Michael Corleone has just returned home from the war where he served as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. At the same time, the viewer is introduced to Michael’s girlfriend Kay Adams (played by Diane Keaton). Kay asks Michael about a “large scary man talking to himself.” Michael tells her that man is Luca Brasi (played by Lenny Montana), and explains to her in brutally honest detail what Brasi’s role in the family is. Horrified by what she’s heard, Michael assures her that is the ways of his family, not him.

The plot thickens when a large-scale heroin dealer named Virgil Sollozzo (played by Al Lettieri) offers a cut of his drug business in return for financing and protection from the Corleone family. Don Vito respectfully refuses the offer, stating that being in the narcotics business would cost him all of his political connections.

Besides the reasons he states, Don Vito is also suspicious of Sollozzo’s partnership with another crime family headed by Bruno Tartaglia (played by Tony Giorgio). As such, Don Vito sends Luca Brasi to meet with the Tattaglia in an attempt to see what they are really plotting. But Sollozo and Tartaglia are wise to their plan; Brasi is strangled during the meeting. At the same time Sollozzo’s men abduct Tom Hagen while he is Christmas shopping. As part of this move against the Corleone family, another contingent of Sollozzo’s men gun down Don Vito in the street.

Sollozzo’s plan is to use Hagen to pressure the new head of the family Sonny to accept the narcotics deal. Sollozzo believes Sonny was interested in the deal from the beginning, but he miscalculates on one thing. Sonny is now more interested in revenge, and the first thing he does is have Bruno Tattaglia murdered.

Now Sollozzo has some major problems. First, his partner Tattaglia is dead. Second, the assassination attempt on Vito Corleone failed. Badly wounded but alive, it is when Michael visits Don Vito in the hospital that he discovers police officers on Sollozzo’s payroill have cleared on the Corleone’s bodyguards, paving the way for another attempt on Don Vito’s life. Michael thwarts this attempt, but is beaten by police captain Mark McCluskey (played by Sterling Hayden), who is also on Sollozzo’s payroll. Tom Hagen ensures Don Vito’s safety by arriving with more bodyguards and a court order preventing their removal by the police.

This brings us to Sollozzo’s third and biggest problem; the Corleone family now knows Sollozzo has cops on the payroll. Tom Hagen believe protection by the police makes Sollozzo invulnerable, but Michael disagrees. He believes the police can be neutralized by revealing their corruption, leaving the door open to to kill both Sollozzo and McCluskey.

As a result, Michael and Corleone family caporegime Clemenza (played by Richard Castellano) hatch a plot to do just that. Michael manages to convince Sollozo and McCluskey that he is interested in the narcotics business, and arranges a meeting with them. The Corleones discover where the meeting is to be held, and manage to hide a pistol in the men’s room, which Michael uses to kill them both.

Naturally, this provokes a full-fledged war. The police crackdown on all five New York Crime families in retaliation for McCluskey’s murder, meanwhile the Corleones use their influence with some newspapers to expose the corruption of the police. Michael exiles himself to Sicily, effectively going into hiding, while Fredo is sent to Las Vegas ostensibly to “learn the casino business.” Through a turn of events stemming from Carlo’s abuse of Connie, Sonny is lured to his death by being massacred at a toll booth on the highway. Meanwhile, Michael narrowly avoids his own death from a car-bomb.

Devastated by Sonny’s death and wanting Michael to be able to return to America, Don Vito summons the heads of the five Families to a meeting with the intention of ending the war. As part of the negotiated peace, Don Vito agrees to rescind his opposition to being in the narcotics business and promises not to avenge Sonny’s death, but insists that if anything happens to Michael, all deals are off.

Upon his return from Sicily, Michael realizes his father is ready for retirement, and Fredo is not fit for the role, so he assumes the position as the head of the Corleone family. While passing the torch, Don Vito advises Michael that Don Barzini (played by Richard Conte) is who ordered Sonny’s murder. Don Vito also offers a warning that Barzini wants to kill Michael even after the peace deal, and he will do so at a meeting arranged by a traitorous Corleone caporegime.

Michael sees the the future of the family is not in New York, and sets in motion a grand scheme to relocate the Corleones to Nevada. As such, Michael sends Tom Hagen to Las Vegas to manage the family’s operations there; but a hint of what is to come, he tells Tom the moves is being made because he is not a “wartime consigliere.” In even more fore-shadowing of heavy weather on the horizon, when Michael travels to Las Vegas to buy Moe Greene (played by Alex Rocco) out of the family’s casinos, he is flatly refused. Not to mention, Michael is incensed that Fredo shows more loyalty to Green than to him.

Michael knows he can’t break the peace arranged by his father, but when Vito Corleone dies, the road for Michael to “settle all the family business” becomes wipe open. At Vito’s funeral, caporegime Salvatore Tessio (played by Abe Vigoda) approaches Michael to propose a meeting with Barzini. Tessio also tells Michael the meeting can be arranged on his turf, so Tessio can guarantee security. Of course, now Michael knows who the traitor is, and that everything his father told him was correct.

At his point, Michael sets in action his plan to “settle all the family business.” Michael schedules the meeting with Barzini to take place on the same day when he is going to stand at the altar as the godfather for the baptism of Carlo and Connie’s baby. While Michael is at the baptism, his men simultaneously kill Barzini and the other heads of the Five Families. In Las Vegas, Moe Greene is murdered for his refusal to accept Michael’s buy-out offer. Tessio is escorted off the Corleone estate to his execution for his treachery.

“Moe Greene for the new Transitions Lenses…”

Last but not least, after Michael elicits a confession from Carlo for setting up Sonny for his murder at the toll booth, Michael assures Carlo that he will not kill him. Instead, Carlo’s punishment is being sent into exile and no longer being be part of the family. But Clemenza is sitting in the back seat of the car supposedly taking him to the airport; Clemenza garrotes Carlo to death.

Back at the Corleone estate, Connie confronts Michael about Carlo’s death, accusing Michael of planning all along to have him killed. Afterward, Kay asks Michael if he was in fact responsible for Carlo’s death. Michael denies Connie’s allegations; at first Kay seems relieved, but the look on her face changes when several of his caporegimes including Clemenza enter Michael’s office and show their respect by calling him “Don Corleone.” The screen fade to black as one of the caporegimes closes the office door, shutting Kay out.

The Hidden Sports Analogy:

Today, the name Louis Jacobs has been relegated to the dustbin of history. Even that of his son is seeing the sunset of it’s own relevance. Despite the fact Jeremy Jacobs* still owns the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins, he has delegated all the day-to-day duties of club management to his son while time continues to nudge him toward full retirement. But there was a time when Louis Jacobs was known as “The Godfather of Sports.”

Louis Jacobs rose from the most modest of roots. Born at the turn of the 20th century in New York City to Polish-Jewish immigrants, Jacobs founded his first business in 1915 with his brothers Marvin and Charles. Originally known as Jacobs Brothers, as the business grew, the name changed to Sportsservice, which it retains to this day as a division of Delaware North, a multi-national conglomerate.

At first, Jacobs Brothers was a theater concessions business. But in the days before air conditioning, many theaters would close in the hot summer months because crowds would avoid what they took to be stifling hot sweatboxes. Instead they opted for open-air ball parks, and Jacobs Brothers followed them. In 1919, Jacobs Brothers began offering food and beverages at Offerman Stadium in Buffalo…and the sports concessions industry was born.

That same year, they began handling the concessions for the Baltimore Orioles of the International League (not to be confused with the Major League franchise of today). But minor league or not, baseball was king in 1919, and Jacobs Brothers had hit the “big-time.” By 1927, Jacobs Brothers (now known as Sportsservice) was operating in Major League ballparks, the first being Detroit’s Navin Field.

In no time at all, Sportservice became wildly successful. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s many smaller sports venues began to struggle. This is when the Jacobs Brothers got the idea that instead of contracting for business in sports arenas, they could own and operate them. Their first foray into arena ownership came in 1939 when they bought a racetrack. This was a huge gamble in the midst of the Depression, but it paid off.

From there, the Jacobs Brothers parlayed arena ownership into team ownership. While they already had the concession business at the New York State Fair Coliseum in Syracuse, they decided to purchase the minor-league hockey team which played there, the Syracuse Stars.

With World War Two on the horizon, the Jacobs Brothers gambled again, this time by introducing the concessions business into Washington D.C.’s National Airport. in 1941. This proved to be another monstrous pay-off.

Now, the business had grown to such a point it need to be re-organized. Sportsservice became a division of the newly-created Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment. Throughout the war and for the years following it, Delaware North continued to grow, and by the 1950’s Louis Jacobs was so firmly entrenched in the sports world and had amassed such tremendous wealth that he was an undeniable force. Much like Vito Corleone grew a international empire from an olive oil storefront., Louis Jacobs built his dynasty on a foundation of stadium popcorn, peanuts, and soda.

The “Godfather of Sports” was born in 1951. Connie Mack, the long-time owner of the Philadelphia Athletics, found his franchise in financial difficulty, particularly with the rise in popularity of the “Whiz Kids” Philadelphia Phillies who went to the World Series the season before. Jacobs gave Mack a bail-out interest-free “loan” of $250,000. Not so coincidentally, Jacobs played a major role in architecting Mack’s sale of the Athletics to Arnold Johnson, who moved the team to Kansas city. I wonder who had the concession business in the new ballpark in Kansas City?

The next year, Louis bought out his brothers and gained sole control of Delaware North. Now, his rule was unquestioned.

Now that Jacobs found his recipe for success, he repeated in several times over Jacobs then went headlong He parlayed his connections in Baltimore to broker a deal to move the St. Louis Browns there in 1954…where he still owned the concession right After he moved the Syracuse Stars to Buffalo, he became the managing partner of the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. He became driving force behind the National Hockey League’s expansion into Buffalo in 1970…where he still owned the concession rights.

But he wasn’t going to stop there. Jacobs took Delaware North international in 1960 when he secured all the food and beverage rights for the 1960 summer Olympics in Rome. Eventually, Jacobs would finally reach the ranks of an owner of a “big-league” sports franchise, when he purchased the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) of the National Basketball Association.

By the time he passed away in 1968, Jacobs had amassed a colossal fortune and his connections gave him the kind of muscle that when flexed could affect everybody from the smallest peanut vendor, star players in two sports, and the wealthiest owners regardless of league. To this day, his legacy lives in the fact Delaware North is a multi-national sports and hospitality leviathan built in that fashion that only a true “Godfather” could.

It was almost as if Louis Jacobs unleashed the beast by popping his popcorn in Genco olive oil.

The Moral of The Story:

Power isn’t something you give. Power is something you take.


*- Jeremy Jacobs figured prominently in our list of the worst owners in sports.

Check out Dubsism’s Movies and Blog-A-Thons page for a full schedule of projects past, present, and future!

Got a question, comment, or just want to yell at us? Hit us up at  dubsism@yahoo.com, @Dubsism on Twitter, or on our Pinterest, Tumblr, or Facebook pages, and be sure to bookmark Dubsism.com so you don’t miss anything from the most interesting independent sports blog on the web.

Let me Know what you think!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.