1. The Godfather Part II (1974)

16 Apr

Roger’s Original Rating :

Should be :

Roger only gave this great, great movie 3 stars in his original review (click here).  Roger said,

“The flashbacks give Coppola the greatest difficulty in maintaining his pace and narrative force. The story of Michael, told chronologically and without the other material, would have had really substantial impact, but Coppola prevents our complete involvement by breaking the tension. The flashbacks to New York in the early 1900s have a different, a nostalgic tone, and the audience has to keep shifting gears. Coppola was reportedly advised by friends to forget the Don Vito material and stick with Michael, and that was good advice.
There’s also some evidence in the film that Coppola never completely mastered the chaotic mass of material in his screenplay. Some scenes seem oddly pointless (why do we get almost no sense of Michael’s actual dealings in Cuba, but lots of expensive footage about the night of Castro’s takeover?), and others seem not completely explained (I am still not quite sure who really did order that attempted garroting in the Brooklyn saloon).”

He finishes by saying, “But Coppola is unable to draw all this together and make it work on the level of simple, absorbing narrative. The stunning text of ‘The Godfather’ is replaced in ‘Part II’ with prologues, epilogues, footnotes, and good intentions.”
Roger later added this to his Great Movies series, but in that review (click here)  said, “Of all of the reviews I have ever written, my three-star review of ‘Part II’ has stirred the most disagreement. Sometimes it is simply cited as proof of my worthlessness. I’ve been told by many that “Part II” is a rare sequel that is better than the original. Have I changed my mind? No. I have read my review of ‘Part II’ and would not change a word.”
What? “Some scenes seem oddly pointless”, “Coppola prevents our complete involvement by breaking the tension”, “Coppola never completely mastered the chaotic mass of material”. You don’t want to change any of those words?
If this is now one of your Great Movies then your first review was way, way off. By the way fourteen critics and fifteen directors included The Godfather, Part Two in their list of the greatest movies of all time in the Sight and Sound Poll. I think they all probably thought the narrative was pretty absorbing.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 16, 2009 in Roger Ebert's worst reviews



One response to “1. The Godfather Part II (1974)

  1. Jose Joseb

    January 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Dear Mr Ebert,
    You must agree with everything Jack says.


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