Have I ever said how much I love Godfather II? The only time I catch it is on AMC when they do the Coppola tribute. I've never seen Godfather I, but every time I see Godfather II, I'm riveted by the writing, the acting and the action.
It's almost Shakespearean in a way with the betrayal, politics, love, loyalty and tragedy as Michael starts becoming more and more calcified because of the disloyal actions by his brother and wife as he's besieged by his enemies.
The movie's also a marvel to me in the flashbacks to Don Vito's beginnings. It's unusual in a way -- it's like Michael is trying to follow his father's footsteps, but Michael isn't his father and Kay isn't his mother. Kay's a byproduct of the feminist moment and the times. She's not going to act complicit and turn a blind eye to her husband's actions -- unlike his mother.
The scene between Kay and Michael when she says she got an abortion, is always makes me stop in my tracks. It's like the battle between old traditions and the changing times with feminism. When she says she it was an abortion and not a miscarriage, it's like the final slap in the face -- the severing of ties. Watching the rage and realization come onto Michael's face is horrifying, but you can't turn your eyes away.
As an orphan, Vito also didn't have the disloyal, jealous brother that Fredo is. Fredo's a tragic character in my mind -- passed over as Don and never taken seriously, Fredo gives in to his petty impulses, only to have it end badly.
The funny thing is that Michael was never supposed to be the Don -- Sonny was, up until he got shot. Michael was supposed to be the legitimate son, the son who lead a straight life. However, he steps into the role and the requirement of loyalty changes him to someone more ruthless, cunning and calculating.
I still need to see Godfather III. But the thought of Al Pacino's hedgehog hair scares me slightly. Nevertheless, I'll give it a shot.