Sunday, September 02, 2007

this n that. read The Godfather by Mario Puzo. I've seen the movie bunches of time tho not recently. it's pretty faithful to the book. not surprising as Puzo wrote the screenplay with Coppola. much of the movie's dialogue (which is good) comes straight from the book. Coppola wisely excised some superfluities. Sonny's lover, hardly a plot point in the movie, pointlessly pairs with a Vegas surgeon, and there's overmuch of Johhny Langone too. tho it is intimated in the movie that Luca Brasi is a terror, all we see is a big lug. he doesn't do much narratively in the book, but stories are told of his viciousness, very creepy. Coppola got the right actors for the job. I have no idea if Abe Vigoga or the guy who played Clemenza are what you call good actors, they fit in the movie. James Caan, Robert Duval and the guy who played Solozzo are perfect. Diane Keaton in the movie and Kay in the book suck life from the respective works. the horse head scene in the book is surprisingly undersplayed. in teh book, Woltz thinks logically that if these people are willing to kill a $600,000 horse, they might mean business. the movie plays more on the horror. the dramatic highpoint of the movie is the attack on the 5 families. in the book Puzo is just tying up loose ends. think of Lord of the Rings, where it seems like they didn't have the book handy when they were working up the script. The Godfather stays true to the book, probably because there's so much life in the tale and the people. I also watched Dracula, Bela Lugosi's version. being one of those movies that I saw as a child, it will always have its authenticity as a horror flick. the stiff stage acting works oddly in it favour, everyone seems transfixed. Lugosi is extremely mannered and that bemused smile of his really unsettles. when he vamps out, he always does so slo-mo, his hands tensely poised. he draws slowly towards his victim and just as you start to get a sexual vibe, the scene changes. the book is quite rollicking, which I didn't expect. the movie skipped much of the book's plot, really just made it a star vehicle for Lugosi. Coppola's version sticks close with the book. whereas the Lugosi vehicle gains atmosphere via dry ice, Coppola pulls out all the tools of movie magic, to little more effect. he's got Gary Oldham and Anthony Hopkins hamming it up, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder barely registering, but Stoker's plot (not always making sense) bounds long. worth watching if not respecting. my father saw the play some time late in Lugosi's career when morphine had I guess taken its toll and Lugosi was playing an exaggerated imitation of himself. Lugosi in Plan 9 is almost funny, but more tragic really. it's an artist thing in which the manners of the art remain but not the soul. I also watched 300 again. I found myself wanting to see its visual flair, its translation of comix art to cinema. the democratic pieties are plangent. it comes down to the split between those willing to work on their abs and pecs and those not. and who wouldn't want to get out the spear and sword and get some hearty exercise? I scanned the graphic novel some time ago and found it faithfully rendered by the movie and low octane as a reading enterprise. it's a preposterous story but transmogrified into a cinematic experience, it has some gumption. with its same old comix artwork, the book hasn't much to offer.
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