Saturday, June 25, 2011

"That is not justice. Your daughter is still alive."

for my friends of the Method,
Toby and Bobby, remembered

The AFI has named its top 10's again, and to no one's reasonable surprise, The Godfather (1972) reigns in the Gangster category. Only a soloist entrepreneurship, then, explains the exclusion of Chaplin's talkie on the lone wolf of free enterprise, Monsieur Verdoux (1947), in which, as Agee remarked, the master exhibited murder as business by other means. It remained for this fine distinction to be laid into Francis Coppola's depiction of business organisations, to warrant the "gangster" epithet. Here, in an ancient still from rehearsal in youth, it is gorgeous to see the voice of that distinction acquiring its perfect pitch.

James Agee
Review of Monsieur Verdoux
Time, May 5, 1947
James Agee: Film Writing and
  Selected Journalism
Michael Sragow, editor
The Library of America, 2005©

Marlon Brando

Francis Ford Coppola, director
Mario Puzo and
  Francis Ford Coppola, screenplay
The Godfather
op. cit.

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