I HAD some substantial reservations about Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, though they were outweighed by my admiration for it. I have some admiration for his The Godfather, Part II, though rather more reservations. In some ways, part one was a happy accident, and its excitement in some degree derives from one’s sense of the excited discovery in its making that, out of such trashy materials, could be made something good. In Part II, everything is weighed down with the sense that, out of such materials, is being forged something artistic, something important. In The Godfather, a story about some gangsters unexpectedly, if ambiguously, seemed to speak to us about our own American family lives and business dealings. In The Godfather, Part II, the saga of the Corleone family is intended to be a Gotterdammerung for the whole of American civilization.
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