MY FAVORITE FILM OF ALL TIME is THE GODFATHER NOVELLA.
Not The Godfather Part II, which I could as well assert is my favorite film, but THE GODFATHER NOVELLA (also known as The Godfather Saga, and also known as The Godfather: A Novel For Television). The Godfather Novella has never been released on video. It can only be seen now on cable tv’s USA Network as The Godfather Novella. It originally aired in 1977 (as The Godfather: A Novel For Television) on NBC over a period of four nights.
Am I confusing you? What, you ask, is The Godfather Novella? Okay, The Godfather Novella is an interwoven version of both The Godfather and The Godfather II, edited in chronological order, and ripe with scenes that are not to be found in the original Godfather I and II releases (not to be confused with The Godfather I, II, III boxed sets of each individual film). Ingenious and an absolute masterpiece. If you further ask what I mean by chronilogical order, I mean in chronological order of events. For example The Godfather Novella does not begin with Vito Corleone receiving guests on the day of his daughters wedding, but it begins with the first scene from Godfather II which is the funeral of Vito’s brother Paolo in Sicily. From there it works its way up to Connie’s wedding and includes a host of scenes that were previously cut out of the original releases – such as Michael’s revenge on the Sicilian bodyguards who sought to murder him but accidentally murdered his wife Apollonia instead. Got it now? Great!
Why Coppola / Paramount Pictures / USA Network… or whomever needs to get together on this – have never decided to get together on this and bring it to video boggles the mind. Certainly it would rack up a ton of sales.
While The Godfather Novella is indeed my favorite film and hands-down a far more outstanding production than The Godfather III, I do indeed have an appreciation for The Godfather III. There are aspects of The Godfather III that Coppola kept in sync with its two sister films and I’ve always appreciated that. But more importantly I have a particular fondness for the story line of Vincent Mancini as portrayed by Andy Garcia. The Godfather III is Vincent’s story. I’ve always bemoaned the fact that we’ve never seen a sequel that chronicles Vinny’s reign as the new mob boss.
Below is my tribute to the character Vinny and actor who gave brilliance to this third installment of The Godfather. It’s a Vincent Mancini Primer of sorts.
The Pulse of The Godfather III
Portrayed by Andy Garcia
VINCENT MANCINI (in his Black Leather Blazer Jacket)
With his AUNT CONNIE, his UNCLE MICHAEL CORLEONE
AND Corleone Family BODY GUARD – AL NERI…
in the celebrated VINCENT MANCINI vs. JOEY ZASA SCENE.
This photo below is just after Vincent bites Joey’s ear – who is
then escorted out of the office.
In this scene above, Sonny’s “bastard” son VINCENT warns his Uncle , The Don – MICHAEL CORLEONE, that JOEY ZASA is trouble waiting to happen. He convinces Michael to take him under his wing in order to protect him. This takes place in Michael Corleone’s East Side Penthouse home office during the reception of a Papal Knighting Ceremony honoring Michael Corleone’s charitable deeds. Young Vincent crashes the party in order to try and get a meeting with Michael via his Aunt Connie. Connie escorts Vincent into the office saying to Michael – “You remember Vincent Mancini… Sonny’s boy.”
HERE IS THE SCENE IN ITS ENTIRETY:
Michael, you know Vincent Mancini — Sonny’s boy.
How you doin’ Mr. Corleone?
How you doing?
I’m doin’ good. How you doin’?
Oh you like it?
Yeah, I had to sneak in.
Well, you’re dressed for it.
So, what’s the trouble between you and Mr. Joe Zasa?
Joey Zasa Sends Two Petty Thugs
to Murder Vincent Mancini.
It Backfires. They are killed by
the sharp-witted Vinny.
There’s trouble. I’ll take care of it.
That’s foolish of you.
Foolish of ME? It’s a little foolish of this guy, don’t you think? Right? RIGHT?
MICHAEL (to himself)
Temper like his father.
(then, to Vincent)
Vincent. Mr. Joe Zasa now owns what used to be the Corleone family business, in New York. Out of the kindness of his heart he gave you a job in his family. Contrary to my advice, you took the job. I’d offered you something, better, in the legitimate world. You turned me down. Now, you both come to me with this bad blood. And what do you expect me to do? Am I a gangster?
No, you’re not a gangster….
That’s was Papa’s neighborhood, now it’s a sewer. Zasa runs it like a disgrace that’s what the women tell me.
That’s the past Connie.
I earned that territory with my talent. Commission gave it to me, and you approved…
Uncle Michael, I came to the party here — I’m not here to ask for any kind of help. I could just kill this bastard, he’s the one who needs the help.
So kill him. What has all this have to do with me?
Well, he’s going around behind your back saying fuck Michael Corleone all time. That’s it, see, that’s one thing it has to do with you.
(then, to Zasa)
Right? Say it to his face, one time say it to his face, one time!
Mr. Corleone, all bastards are liars. Shakespeare wrote poems about it.
What am I gonna do with this guy, Uncle Michael? — WHAT AM I GONNA DO WITH THIS GUY?!
Joey. If there’s some guy running around this city saying “fuck Michael Corleone”, what do we do, with a piece of shit like that? He’s a fucking dog, no?
ZASA (pauses, then)
Yes it’s true. If anyone would say such a thing, they would not be a friend. They would be a dog.
MICHAEL (to Vincent)
My interests don’t conflict with Mr. Joe Zasa’s…
Oh you don’t know how much your interests conflict with Mr. Joe Zasa’s, Uncle Michael.
Michael — He needs your support, Michael.
Don’t let me work for this guy no more Uncle Michael, let me come work for you.
As what? Tough guy? I don’t need tough guys — I need more lawyers.
MICHAEL (to Joey)
Since we have no conflicts, no debts, I accept your tribute. I wish you well.
(then, to Vincent)
Vincent — Make your peace with Mr. Joe Zasa. C’mon…
The two men embrace
ZASA (quietly to Vincent in his ear)
Vincent then grabs Zasa and pulls him in close and bites into his ear lobe. Joey cries out in pain.
Joey Zasa is lead out of the office by his bodyguard.
VINCENT (still explaining)
Uncle Michael, I told Connie it wasn’t the right time for this thing –
Uncle Michael, listen — I know you’re into banks and Wall Street, but everyone knows you’re the final word, you’re like the Supreme Court. All I want to do is protect you from these guys and your lawyers can’t do that.
And you can?
Yeah, I can do that.
Disguised as a Cop.
Vincent shoots down Corleone nemesis Joey Zasa.
And why should I be afraid of Joe Zasa?
Well, he knows you’re stopping him from rising up in the commission, Uncle Mike. I say we make him dead. You give me the order, I’ll take care of it.
You’ll take care of it?
Maybe you should, uhh, come with me for a few weeks. See what happens.
See if you learn. And, umm, we’ll talk about your future.
I won’t let you down.
CUT TO: The stairway where the family are getting a photo taken.
We’re just about ready .. no, it’s all right…
Vincent walks up next to his mother Lucy.
So what happened?
What happened? They put me in a room with Joey Zasa — what’s gonna happen? I bit the guy’s ear off.
MICHAEL (to the photographer)
(he steps out from amongst the family and walks over to Vincent)
Take the picture with me – c’mon…
Vincent walks over and steps in next to Mary.
MARY (to Vincent)
Vincent Mancini in the Corleone Family Portrait. The Genesis of his acceptance as a true Corleone.
Vincent Mancini’s mother Lucy from The Godfather I, having an affair with the already married Sonny Corleone. She was Connie Corleone’s Bridesmaid.
In The Godfather III Lucy Mancini looks on proudly
as her son Vincent Mancini
joins The Corleone Family for an official Portrait.
Vincent Mancini Matures
under the tutelage of his uncle
Michael Corleone whom
he lovingly guards
VINCENT MANCINI BIO:
Brilliantly portrayed by Cuban Actor ANDY GARCIA, Vincent Mancini-Corleone was born Vincenzo Santino Mancini. He was born out of wedlock to Lucy Mancini (a friend of Connie Corleone and Bridesmaid at her wedding to Carlo Rizzi). She was one of the many lovers of the married SANTINO (SONNY) CORLEONE (who was the short-lived Corleone Don, and the oldest of the VITO CORLEONE sons). He was notorious for his hot temper, He was also known for his over-sized genitalia and bedroom prowess (see the original novel – THE GODFATHER by Mario Puzo). Vincent inherited both traits. Sonny perished in a gruesome turnpike ambush and from there no more is ever heard about the character Lucy Mancini until THE GODFATHER III where we see that she is moved and honored as Vincent is called upon by the family head MICHAEL CORLEONE to pose in the Corleone family portrait.
After proving himself a loyal, diligent, and cunning enforcer for the Corleone family, Vincent is honored with the blessing of the Corleone name. This takes place during the finale of THE GODFATHER III – after his Uncle – MICHAEL CORLEONE relinquishes his helm and passes it on to Vincent, thus instructing Santino’s “bastard” son to now call himself and be recognized by the name of “CORLEONE.”
THE GODFATHER III and the character Vincent Mancini was penned by the original author / creator Mario Puzo, along with the brilliant film director Francis Ford Coppola.
Follow Janet Walters Levite’s News and Entertainment Posts on Twitter: @JanetWLevite
“When All Is Said And Done… You’ll Go To The Movies” – JWL