Archive for Eli Wallach

How to Steal a Million

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on July 19, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this elegant “caper” film, Audrey Hepburn stars as the daughter of a wealthy Parisian (Hugh Griffith), whose hobby is copying famous works of art. His replica of a famed Cellini sculpture is inadvertently displayed in an art museum, and he begins to worry that he’ll lose his reputation once the experts evaluate the statuette. Audrey decides to rob the museum, and hires a burglar (Peter O’Toole) for that purpose. But the burglar is really a detective, who has every intention of arresting Audrey and her father when the deed is done.

What people are saying:

“A decent enough film, but I still can’t help but dislike Peter O’Toole for some reason. Hepburn is terrific, as usual. There isn’t much unusual in what’s going on here, but Eli Wallach’s character is a bit of an interesting character so he catches my attention when he’s on-screen.” 2 1/2 stars

“…the sort of genial, fluffy little caper flick that rarely gets made anymore, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.” 3 1/2 stars

“A charming heist movie with a handsome leading man and ever beautiful Audrey, and of course interesting plot, funny jokes and interesting supporting roles that enrich the movie.” 4 stars

“Young Peter teams up with -glamorous as always- Audrey in this romantic comedy, set in Paris and revolving around a museum heist. The characters are entertaining, the plot jolly good fun & the performances remarkable. Overall, a good film to watch on an easy-going night in.” 3 1/2 stars

“Being a huge Audrey Hepburn fan this review may be a little biased. She never ceases to amaze me with how she can be somewhat versatile in her roles without sacrificing her notable style and ethereal beauty. The film itself is quite comical, and is almost like a romantic version of Ocean’s Eleven. Good movie for fans of Audrey, or Peter.” 5 stars

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The Holiday

Posted in Movie Reviews, Comedy, Romantic, Chick Flicks with tags , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Stuck in a vicious cycle of dead-end relationships with two-timing men, Los Angeles resident Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Londoner Iris (Kate Winslet) decide to swap homes. In the process, their trade paves the way for romances they never imagined possible.

What people are saying:

“Loved this film. Typical romantic comedy but got to see all the old guys- which is always special. Eli Wallach and Shelley Berman! What more could you ask for?” 5 stars

“There’s nothing authentic or personal about The Holiday — it’s as chilling as heart-warmers get.” 2 stars

“Watching Kate’s character hopelessly follow an obviously broken relationship was heartbreaking… But seeing her find love in an unexpected, yet genuine man gave me hope.” 4 stars

“Not too bad but a bit long. Sorry but Jack Black just doesn’t cut it as a serious actor in this one. Combination of poor dialogue and bad facial expressions by his character didn’t help. ” 3 stars

“I adore this movie and have watched it many times. The four leads, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Jude Law all play their parts perfectly. Yes, it is somewhat of a fantasy, but after all it is a romantic comedy. It has plenty of laughs but enough tears to hold the viewer’s attention. It is definitely a “chick flick,” so husbands and boyfriends hold your breath and endure. You will have the everlasting gratitude of your significant other.” 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 6/26

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags , , , on June 26, 2014 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

Yesterday, we lost a true legend in Eli Wallach. As of the time that I am writing this, we know that he died of natural causes (something rare to hear these days) at age 98. For those of you that don’t know who he is, these trailers will inform you. I know him best as a star of westerns, usually as the villain as in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

 

 

He also had a part in How the West Was Won

 

 

Personally, I know him best for his role as Calvera in The Magnificent Seven.

 

I’ve always said that when I go, I want people to celebrate my life, rather than mourn my death. I hope that this trilogy of trailers featuring films in which Eli Wallach starred accomplished that feat. If you haven’t checked t hose films out, you really should ASAP!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In a desolate ghost town during the American Civil War, bandit Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez (“The Ugly,” Eli Wallach) narrowly shoots his way past three bounty hunters to freedom, killing two but only badly wounding the third. Miles away, Angel Eyes (“The Bad,” Lee Van Cleef) interrogates a former soldier called Stevens (Antonio Casas) about a missing man named Jackson who has taken on the name “Bill Carson” (Antonio Casale) and a cache of stolen Confederate gold. He brutally guns down Stevens and his eldest son after the interrogation, but not before Stevens pays Angel Eyes to kill Angel Eyes’ employer, another former soldier named Baker. Angel Eyes later collects his fee for Stevens’ killing from Baker, and then shoots and kills him too.

Meanwhile, during Tuco’s flight across the desert he runs into a group of bounty hunters who prepare to capture him when they are approached by Blondie (“The Good,” Clint Eastwood), a mysterious lone gunman who challenges the hunters to the draw, which he wins with lightning speed. Initially elated, Tuco is enraged when Blondie delivers him up to the local authorities for the reward money of $2,000. Hours later, as Tuco awaits his execution, Blondie surprises the authorities and frees Tuco by shooting the execution rope; the two later meet to split the reward money, revealing their lucrative money-making scheme. After Tuco’s bounty is raised to $3,000, the two repeat the process at another town before Blondie, weary of Tuco’s incessant complaints about the dividing of the profits from their scheme, abandons him in the desert, keeping all of the money. A livid Tuco manages to make it to another town and rearm himself with a revolver. Some time later in another town, Tuco enlists three outlaws to come with him to kill Blondie. As the three men break into Blondie’s room, Blondie shoots and kills all three of them, but to Blondie’s surprise Tuco climbs up through his back window and aims his gun at Blondie in the middle of a skirmish between Union and Confederate troops. As Tuco prepares to kill Blondie by fashioning a noose and forcing Blondie to put it around his neck, a cannonball hits the hotel and demolishes the room, allowing Blondie to escape.

Following a relentless search, Tuco captures Blondie using the same scheme with another partner (Tuco doesn’t allow Blondie to shoot the rope this time and the unfortunate “Shorty” is hanged) and marches him across the harsh desert. When Blondie finally collapses from dehydration and heatstroke, Tuco prepares to kill him but pauses when a runaway ambulance carriage appears on the horizon heading their way. Inside, while looting the dead soldiers, Tuco discovers a dying Bill Carson, who reveals that $200,000 in stolen Confederate gold is buried in a grave in Sad Hill cemetery but falls unconscious before naming the grave. When Tuco returns with water, he discovers Carson dead and Blondie slumped against the carriage beside Carson’s body. Before passing out, Blondie says that Carson told him the name on the grave. Tuco takes Blondie (both disguised as Confederate soldiers) to a Catholic mission run by Tuco’s older brother Father Pablo. Tuco nurses Blondie back to health, and the two leave, still disguised. They inadvertently encounter a force of Union soldiers (whom they take for Confederates due to thick coatings of grey dust on their uniforms). They are captured and marched to a Union prison camp.

At the camp, Corporal Wallace (Mario Brega) calls the roll. Tuco answers for Bill Carson, catching the attention of Angel Eyes, now disguised as a Union Sergeant stationed at the camp. Angel Eyes has Wallace viciously beat and torture Tuco into revealing Sad Hill Cemetery as the location of the gold, but Tuco also confesses that only Blondie knows the name on the grave. Angel Eyes offers Blondie an equal partnership in recovering the gold. Blondie agrees and rides out with Angel Eyes and his posse. Meanwhile, Tuco, chained to Corporal Wallace, is transported by train to his execution. During the trip, Tuco tells Wallace he has to urinate and distracts Wallace long enough to grab him and jump off the train, taking the Corporal with him. He then beats Wallace’s head on a rock, killing him, and uses another train to cut their chain taking the dead Wallace with it, freeing him.

We next see Blondie, Angel Eyes and Angel Eyes’ gang arriving in a town that’s rapidly being evacuated due to heavy artillery fire. Tuco, wandering aimlessly through the wreckage of that same town, is oblivious of the bounty hunter that survived at the start of the movie (Al Mulock), who tracks and ambushes Tuco who is taking a bath in an abandoned building. Despite the surprise, Tuco shoots and kills the bounty hunter. Blondie investigates the gunshot, finding Tuco and informing him of Angel Eyes’s involvement. The two resume their old partnership, stalking through the wrecked town and killing Angel Eyes’ henchmen before discovering that Angel Eyes has escaped and left an insulting note for them.

Tuco and Blondie find their way to Sad Hill Cemetery, but it is blocked by large Union and Confederate forces who are separated only by a narrow bridge. Each side is preparing to fight for it, but apparently both sides have been ordered not to destroy the bridge. Reasoning that if the bridge were destroyed “these idiots would go somewhere else to fight”, Blondie and Tuco wire the bridge with dynamite. During the process, the two trade information, Tuco revealing Sad Hill Cemetery as the gold’s location and Blondie saying that the name on the grave is Arch Stanton. The two then take cover as the bridge blows up and the two armies resume their battle. The next morning, the Confederate and Union soldiers have gone. Tuco abandons Blondie (who has stopped to tend to a dying young Confederate soldier) to retrieve the gold for himself at the cemetery. Frantically searching the sea of make-shift tombstones and grave markers, Tuco finally locates Arch Stanton’s grave. As he digs, Blondie appears (now clad in his trademark poncho) and tosses him a shovel. A second later, the two are surprised by Angel Eyes, who holds them at gunpoint. Blondie kicks open Stanton’s grave to reveal just a skeleton. Declaring that only he knows the real name of the grave, Blondie writes it on a rock in the middle of the graveyard and tells Tuco and Angel Eyes that “two hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money. We’re going to have to earn it.”

The three stare each other down in the circular center of the cemetery, calculating alliances and dangers in a famous five-minute Mexican standoff before suddenly drawing. Blondie shoots Angel Eyes, who tries to shoot Blondie while he is down only to be shot by Blondie again and roll into an open grave, dead. Tuco also tries to shoot Angel Eyes, but discovers that Blondie had unloaded his gun the night before. Blondie directs Tuco to the grave marked “Unknown” next to Arch Stanton’s. Tuco digs and is overjoyed to find bags of gold inside, but is shocked when he turns to Blondie and finds himself staring at a noose. Seeking a measure of revenge for what Tuco has done to him, Blondie forces Tuco to stand atop a tottery grave marker and fixes the noose around his neck, binding Tuco’s hands before riding off with his share of the gold. As Tuco screams for mercy, Blondie’s silhouette returns on the horizon, aiming a rifle at him. Blondie fires a single shot and severs the noose rope, just like old times, dropping Tuco face-first onto his share of the gold. Blondie smiles and rides off as Tuco, who has his gold but no horse, curses him in rage by shouting “Hey Blondie! You know what you are? Just a dirty sonofabitch

REVIEW:

 In the tradition of great westerns, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly makes a name for itself with great storytelling, action shootouts, and one of the most memorable themes in all cinema.

They say this is a spaghetti western. To this day, I still don’t know what that means, so take it or leave it.

This is the final film in a trilogy by director Sergio Leone, that also included A Fistful of Dollars and A Few Dollars More.

As I mentioned, the  story here is great. One of the things that I love about westerns is how the story usually revolves around some vigilante/mercenary/loner who just wants to be left alone, yet gets dragged into saving a town/damsel/person for whatever reason. Yes, they are pretty much formulaic, but then, aren’t most genres?

I happened to watch the extended, original cut of this tonight, which clocked in at 3 hrs! I’m not one of those people who really cares for long films. My attention span can’t take it and I get ansy, but this kept my attention from the opening credits all the way through to the final showdown.

Having said that, there were some times that lagged. I would have liked for there to have been more gunplay, but that’s just me. Maybe I’m spoiled by my love for The Magnificent Seven, but I am of the belief that you can have your moments of drama in a western as long as the climax is the big payoff and you have plenty of showdowns on the way.

Don’t get me wrong, this film has it share of action along the way to the climactic showdown, just not enough for my taste.

There was a bit of the story that I didn’t care for, though, and that was the way that Angel Eyes seemed to disappear for about half of the film. Granted, at the time there were focusing on Tuco and Blondie, but it wouldn’t have hurt to keep the audience informed on what “the bad” was doing, as well as “the good” and “the ugly”.

If you’ve ever seen I Am Legend or Wall-E, then you are aware of how they go long periods of time without dialogue, well this film does the same thing. I think the first 20 min or so are without any speaking of any sorts.

The acting here is on par with the other westerns that I’ve seen in my day. A very young Clint Eastwood shows why he goes on to become a great actor and director. I’m not really sure why they called him Blondie, though. He was far from being blonde.

Eli Wallach is in 2 other western I’ve seen, The Magnificent Seven and How the West Was Won, both of which he lit up the screen with his performance. This was no exception, though I think he was a bit stronger character here.

Lee van Cleef’s character doesn’t have much to say, but then again, neither does Eastwood’s, but he is a presence on the screen that must be reckoned with. A sadistic, twisted villain who makes it known that he finished out the job he’s paid for, he was perfectly cast as “the bad”.

In conclusion, this is a great film that should be on your “must see before dying” list. This is a great example of how movies should be made, unlike many of the craptastic, overpriced, attempts that we see these days. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly deserves its place among the greatest westerns and films of all time. The buildup to the climax is worth it, let me tell you! You shouldn’t hesitate to check it out!

5 out of 5 stars

How the West Was Won

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

As the story opens an otherwise happy family led by Zebulon Prescott (Karl Malden) is introduced as having abandoned a comfortable life in the rural, small town, setting of upstate New York; for the alleged greater opportunity awaiting all, in the as yet unsettled west; via the Erie Canal. The “west” of this time is the Illinois country. In the unnaturally peaceful and safe opening of the Prescott’s long journey they come to meet a Mountain man Linus Rawlings (James Stewart) who is traveling east to Pittsburgh to trade his furs. His daughter Eve (Carroll Baker) and Linus are attracted to each other, but he isn’t ready to settle down.

Linus stops at an isolated trading post run by a murderous clan of “river pirates” headed by “Colonel” Hawkins (Walter Brennan). Linus is betrayed when he accompanies pretty Dora Hawkins (Brigid Bazlen) into a cave to see a “varmint”. She stabs him in the back and pushes him into a deep hole. Fortunately, Linus is not seriously wounded, and is able to rescue the Prescott party from a similar fate. The bushwhacking thieves (Lee Van Cleef plays one), including Dora, are dispatched with rough frontier justice.

The settlers continue down the river, but their raft is caught in rapids and Zebulon and his wife Rebecca (Agnes Moorehead) drown. Linus, finding that he cannot live without Eve, reappears and marries her, even though she insists on homesteading at the spot where her parents died.

Eve’s sister Lily (Debbie Reynolds) chooses to go to St. Louis, where she finds work performing in a dance hall. She attracts the attention of professional gambler Cleve Van Valen (Gregory Peck). After overhearing that she has just inherited a California gold mine, and to avoid paying his debts to another gambler (John Larch), Cleve joins the wagon train taking her there. He and wagonmaster Roger Morgan (Robert Preston) court her along the way, but she turns them both down, much to the dismay of her new friend and fellow traveler Agatha Clegg (Thelma Ritter), who is searching for a husband.

Surviving an attack by Cheyenne Indians, Lily and Cleve arrive at the mine, only to find that it is now worthless. Cleve leaves. Lily returns to work in a dance hall in a literal “Camp Town,” living out of a covered wagon. Morgan finds her and again proposes marriage in a rather unromantic way. She tells him, “No, not ever.”

Later, Lily is singing in the music salon of a riverboat. By chance, Cleve is a passenger. When he hears Lily’s voice, he leaves the poker table (and a winning hand) to propose to her, telling her of the opportunities waiting in the rapidly growing city of San Francisco. She accepts.

Linus joins the Union army as a captain in the American Civil War. Despite Eve’s wishes, their son Zeb (George Peppard) eagerly enlists as well, looking for glory and an escape from farming. Corporal Peterson (Andy Devine) assures them the conflict won’t last very long. The bloody Battle of Shiloh shows Zeb that war is nothing like he imagined and, unknown to him, his father Linus dies there. He encounters a similarly disillusioned Confederate (Russ Tamblyn) who suggests deserting, to which Zeb agrees.

However, by chance, they overhear a private conversation between Generals Ulysses S. Grant (Harry Morgan) and William Tecumseh Sherman (John Wayne). The rebel realizes he has the opportunity to rid the South of two of its greatest enemies and tries to shoot them, leaving Zeb no choice but to kill him. Afterwards, Zeb rejoins the army.

When the war finally ends, he returns home, only to find his mother has died. She had lost the will to live after learning that Linus had been killed. Zeb gives his share of the family farm to his brother, who is more tied to the land, and leaves in search of a more interesting life.

Following the daring riders from the Pony Express and the construction of the transcontinental telegraph line in the early 1860s, two ferociously competing railroad lines, the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad, one building west and the other east, open up new territory to eager settlers.

Zeb becomes a lieutenant in the U.S. cavalry, trying to maintain peace with the Indians with the help of grizzled buffalo hunter Jethro Stuart (Henry Fonda), an old friend of Linus. When ruthless railroad man Mike King (Richard Widmark) violates a treaty by building on Indian territory, the Arapaho Indians retaliate by stampeding buffalo through his camp, killing many, including women and children. Disgusted, Zeb resigns and heads to Arizona.

In San Francisco, widowed Lily auctions off her possessions (she and Cleve had made and spent several fortunes) to pay her debts. She travels to Arizona, inviting Zeb and his family to oversee her remaining asset, a ranch.

Zeb (now a marshal), his wife Julie (Carolyn Jones) and their children meet Lily at Gold City’s train station. However, Zeb also runs into an old enemy there, outlaw Charlie Gant (Eli Wallach). When Gant makes veiled threats against his family, Zeb turns to his friend and Gold City’s marshal, Lou Ramsey (Lee J. Cobb), but Gant is not wanted for anything in that territory, so there is little Ramsey can do.

Zeb decides he has to act rather than wait for Gant to make good his threat to show up someday. Suspecting Gant of planning to rob an unusually large gold shipment being transported by train, he prepares an ambush with Ramsey’s reluctant help. Gant and his gang (one member played by Harry Dean Stanton) are killed in a shootout. In the end, Lily and the Rawlings travel to their new home.

A short epilogue shows Los Angeles and San Francisco in the early 1960s, including the famous four-level downtown freeway interchange and Golden Gate Bridge, indicating the growth of the West in 80 years.

REVIEW:

An epic tale of immense proportions, How the West Was Won follows four generations of the Prescott family as they tame the unsettles American western frontier.

This may be classified as a western, but with the exception of the shootout at the end, and some battles with the Arapaho Indians, there really isn’t much that you see in your traditional western. I think that this is the reason this is listed as one of the greatest films of all time, though. It was a groundbreaking epic masterpiece that pushed the genre to its limits.

As I was watching this evening, I couldn’t help but notice the all-star cast. I swear the only major stars from this era who do not appear are Steve McQueen and Yul Brenner.

There isn’t a bad performance to be found in this masterpiece, but the most impressive role has to be George Peppard. Most of us know him as Hannibal from The A-Team, but apparently, he was quite the competent actor before he took that role, as can be seen here where shines.

This epic tale is told in different parts, chronicling the life and times of the Prescott family. Starting in their humble beginning and ending with their great grandson’s life as a marshal.

While there is a bit of action to be had here, especially in the later parts of the flick, I tend to think this more of a drama. How is it that this can seem like two different flicks? Well, it was directed by 3 different directors, each taking on separate periods of time. When you watch this film and take that into consideration, you can barely tell.

At just under 3 hrs, this film was a little on the lengthy side for my taste, but that really is my only qualm with this film. If I could set aside 3 hrs in my schedule, you can guarantee that I would be watching this blueprint of excellence again. Often time in these reviews, I say that today’s films don’t stack up to those of yesteryear. If ever there was proof of that, this film is it. Check out what real filmmaking is!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Godfather, part III

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film opens with Michael Corleone sitting alone on a bench (which was the same way and where Part II ended as the last scene), thinking back to his past of people such as Fredo Corleone, Sonny Corleone, Kay Adams, Vito Corleone, with flashback scenes from both Part I, and Part II, in order, as well as showing scenes from the house that the family originally lived in in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. This is also narrated by Corleone, giving an update of what has happened since. Sometimes, the flashback scenes are not shown and therefore edited out on some televised airings of the movie.

The film then flash forwards on February 23, 1979. Michael Corleone is nearing 60 and feeling tremendous guilt for his ruthless rise to power, especially for ordering the murder of his brother Fredo two decades before. By now, he has mostly retired from the Mafia, selling the Las Vegas casinos and leaving the Corleone family’s criminal interests in the hands of former enforcer Joey Zasa. His adopted brother Tom Hagen is now dead and the Corleone compound at Lake Tahoe has been abandoned. Michael and Kay have been divorced since 1959, and Michael gave her custody of their children, Anthony and Mary. He has since returned to New York City, where he is using his tremendous wealth and power to restore his reputation via numerous acts of charity. In an attempt to break with the past, Michael creates a charity, the Vito Corleone Foundation, in memory of his father, which he has endowed with $100 million to use for the betterment of Sicily.

At a ceremony in St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, presided over by Archbishop Gilday, Michael is named a Commander of the Order of St. Sebastian. At a lavish party following the ceremony, Michael and Kay have an uneasy reunion. Anthony tells his father that he is going to drop out of law school to pursue a career as an opera singer. Kay supports his choice, but Michael disagrees, wishing that his son would either finish law school or join the family business. Anthony steadfastly refuses, stating that while he loves his father, he will never be part of the family business. Michael eventually, though somewhat reluctantly, acquiesces to Anthony’s wishes.

Meanwhile, Vincent Mancini, the illegitimate son of Michael’s brother Sonny, shows up at the party. He is embroiled in a feud with Zasa, who has involved the Corleone family in major drug trafficking and turned Little Italy into a slum. In Michael’s study, Vincent and Zasa tell him about their feud, a discussion that erupts into a fight, in which Vincent bites off part of Zasa’s ear. Zasa is escorted out and Michael scolds Vincent for losing his temper, but is nevertheless impressed by Vincent’s passionate loyalty to him, ultimately agreeing to take Vincent under his wing.

That night, as Vincent has a one-night stand with Grace Hamilton, a journalist he met at the party, two men break in and try to kill him. Vincent quickly gains the upper hand, and kills one in order to frighten the other into revealing that Zasa is the man who sent them. Once the second assassin has surrendered, Vincent kills him, too. Meanwhile, Michael busies himself with the biggest deal of his career: he has recently bought up enough stock in Immobiliare, an international real estate holding company known as “the world’s biggest landlord”, to control six of the company’s 13-member board of directors. He now makes a tender offer to buy the Vatican’s 25% interest in the company, which will give him majority control. Knowing that Archbishop Gilday, who serves as head of the Vatican Bank, has run up a massive deficit, he offers to pay $600 million to the Bank in exchange for the shares.

Don Altobello, an elderly New York Mafia boss and old friend of the Corleones (as well as Connie’s godfather), soon visits Michael, telling him that his old partners on the Commission want in on the Immobiliare deal. A meeting is arranged at an Atlantic City hotel, and Michael appeases most of the Mafia bosses with generous payoffs from the sale of his Las Vegas holdings. Zasa, however, gets nothing, and furiously declares that Michael is his enemy and storms out. Altobello follows close behind, allegedly attempting to calm him down. Minutes later, a helicopter hovers outside the conference room and sprays it with submachine gun fire. Most of the other mob bosses are killed, but Michael, Vincent, and Michael’s trusted bodyguard, Al Neri, escape. Back at his apartment in New York, Michael is told that those mob bosses who escaped the massacre quickly made deals with Zasa, and comes to the realization that Altobello supported Zasa in carrying out the hit. As Michael considers how to respond to the situation, he suffers a diabetic stroke and is hospitalized. In his delirium, Michael cries out Fredo’s name shortly before he is loaded on an ambulance to the hospital.

As Michael recuperates in the hospital, Vincent begins a romantic relationship with Mary, despite being first cousins, and also plots revenge against Joey Zasa. During a street festival hosted by Zasa’s Italian American civil rights group, Vincent’s men gun down Zasa’s bodyguards. Vincent, disguised as a mounted police officer, then murders Zasa himself. When Michael discovers this, he berates Vincent for his rashness. Michael also insists that Vincent end his relationship with Mary, because Vincent’s involvement in the family’s criminal dealings puts Mary’s life in jeopardy. Vincent agrees.

The family takes a vacation to Sicily in March 1980, in preparation for Anthony’s operatic debut in Palermo. They stay at the villa of Don Tommasino, the Mafia boss who sheltered Michael when he was on the run in the first film. Michael tells Vincent to speak with Altobello and falsely tell him that he is planning to leave the Corleone family. Altobello supports the idea of Vincent switching his allegiance, and introduces him to Don Licio Lucchesi, a powerful Italian political figure. Michael realizes that the Immobiliare deal was a conspiracy by Lucchesi, Archbishop Gilday, and Vatican accountant Frederick Keinszig to swindle him out of his money, and visits Cardinal Lamberto, the man favored to become the next Pope, to speak about the deal. Lamberto convinces Michael to make his first confession in 30 years, in which he tearfully admits to ordering Fredo’s murder.

Shortly after the meeting between Vincent and Lucchesi, Altobello travels to the small village of Montelepre, where he meets Mosca, an elderly, veteran hitman with whom he has previously done business. Altobello hires Mosca and his son, Lupe, to assassinate Michael. A few days later, Mosca and Lupe, disguised as priests, make their move, attempting to hijack Don Tommasino and force him to allow them entry to his villa. Tommasino refuses, and Mosca kills him with a lupara. Touring Sicily with Kay, who has arrived for Anthony’s operatic debut, Michael asks for her forgiveness. As they both admit that they still love each other, Michael receives word that Tommasino is dead.

After the death of Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Lamberto is elected Pope John Paul I, which means that the Immobiliare deal will likely be ratified, due to his intention to “clean up” the dealings of the Vatican. The new Pope’s intentions come as a death knell to the plot against the ratification of the Immobiliare deal, prompting frantic attempts by the plotters to cover their own tracks. Vincent tells Michael that he has learned from Altobello of Mosca’s plot on his life. Vincent wants to strike back, but Michael cautions him, saying that if he goes ahead with such a plan, there will be no turning back. Vincent insists on revenge, and Michael relents, making Vincent the new Don of the Corleone family. In exchange, Vincent agrees to put an end to his relationship with Mary.

The family travels to Palermo to see Anthony perform the lead in Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” at the renowned Teatro Massimo. Meanwhile, Vincent exacts his revenge: Interspersed with scenes from Anthony’s performance are the brutal murders of the enemies of the Corleone family:

  • Frederick Keinszig is abducted by Vincent’s men, who smother him with a pillow (first having a rosary dropped on his face) and hang him from a bridge to make his death look like an apparent suicide.
  • Don Altobello, also attending the opera, eats a poisoned cannoli that his goddaughter Connie gives him. He soon dies a silent death as Connie watches from her box.
  • Al Neri travels to the Vatican, where he shoots Archbishop Gilday as he climbs a spiral staircase and throws his corpse down the gap between the stairs.
  • Finally, Calo (Tommasino’s former bodyguard) meets with Don Lucchesi at his office, claiming to bear a message from Michael. After being thoroughly frisked for weapons, Calo stabs Lucchesi in the throat with Lucchesi’s own glasses, killing him before being shot by Lucchesi’s bodyguard.

The killings are too late to save the Pope, however. Even as Michael and Vincent’s men wipe out the plotters, His Holiness drinks poisoned tea provided to him by Archbishop Gilday and soon dies in his bed.

Mosca, still disguised as a priest and armed with a sniper rifle, descends upon the opera house during Anthony’s performance, killing three of Vincent’s men and preparing to shoot his target from a box, but the opera ends before he has the chance to pull the trigger. The assassin retreats to the opera house façade’s staircase and tries to shoot Michael there. At the same moment, Mary is confronting her father about the forced break-up with Vincent. Mosca fires his handgun twice, wounding Michael and killing Mary. As Mosca is wrestled to the ground by a group of real priests, Vincent kills him with a single shot. As Kay weeps, Michael cradles Mary’s bloody body in his arms and screams in agony.

The scene dissolves to a short montage of Michael’s memories, the first being a dance with Mary, the second being a dance with his first wife Apollonia, and the last being a dance with Kay — symbolizing the women he has lost.

The film ends with Michael as an old man, seated alone in the front yard of his Sicilian villa. After slowly putting on a pair of sunglasses, he drops an orange from his hand. He slumps over in his chair, collapses to the ground, and dies, completely alone.

REVIEW:

The Godfather, part III opens with the haunting melody that has framed the score of all three films. When you hear this, then see New York City, you know that you are in for a real treat, in terms of cinematic beauty and accomplishment.

This film picks up where The Godfather, part II left off, only years later. Michael Corleone is now an old, gray-haired man trying to turn the Corleone family legitimate. Unfortunately, it seems that at every turn, something throws a monekywrench into the plan and pulls him back in.

Al Pacino has grown as an actor since The Godfather. If you have seen the earlier two films, then watch this picture, you can see what I’m talking about (once you get past that he hasn’t aged very well).

Diane Lane plays an important, yet unimportant role in this film. In the previous pictures, she has been a major character, but in this one, she is there just as the ex-wife, which is what she is. This, however, is a waste of her talents, but I guess there are no small parts, right?

The most impressive part of the cast has to go to Andy Garcia. His Vincent Mancini (later changed to Corleone) is, as one writer put it, a mixture of the Corleones. Now that I think about it, this does sum up his character. Think about it, though. For one man to portray a mixture of all the Corleones is one major undertaking, and I have to give props to Garcia.

Sofia Coppola has been blasted for her role as Mary Corleone. This is my take on her role. No matter how good an actor you are, there is only so much you can do with the material you’re given. Mary didn’t really have much to do, except for a couple of scenes that let her shine. That being said, these scenes weren’t that great for her. She could have done much more with them than what she did.

Violence is a tad toned down in this film, as opposed to the previous films, but there is still some bloody scenes.

On the negative side of things, again, this film is a bit on the long side for my taste, but that’s a personal issue. Towards the end of the film, ti does get a bit confusing trying to figure out who is in on the plot to keep Michael from gaining power in the Illuminaire and who Vincent has sent on the job. I got lost there, but upon a second or third viewing, I may be able to keep up.

The conclusion the The Godfather saga has been ripped apart by film critics left and right. Quite honestly, I don’t see what they’re getting so up in arms about. Sure it isn’t as good as its two predecessors, but at the same time, the drop-off isn’t that far. Not to mention that we are introduced to some new characters as well as see how some others have grown over the years. Someone said that this wasn’t necessarily a sequel, as much as it was an epilogue. I can live with that. In any case, it is a fitting end and final chapter to one of the great trilogies in cinema. Don’t deprive yourself of seeing this fine film, or the entire trilogy.

4 out of 5 stars