The Godfather’s winning epic

STORY – Fifty years ago, the first part of Coppola’s triptych on the mafia came out. The success was immediate for this feature film which boldly reinvented the figure of the gangster. A look back at a cinematographic saga that almost never happened when the film is back in theaters and is coming out on DVD.

The night of the premiere, it was snowing. On March 14, 1972, a storm paralyzed New York. Limousines lined up in front of Loew’s State Theater. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was invited. Producer Robert Evans paraded on Ali MacGraw’s arm, unaware that his wife was cheating on him with Steve McQueen, his co-star in ambush. Marlon Brando, who had been entitled to the covers of Life and of Newsweek, had not come. In his place, he had sent an Indian in traditional dress. When the lights came back on, Henry Kissinger whispered to his neighbor: “Bob, if you can sit and watch a gangster who has killed hundreds of people and when he dies the audience is in tears, you’ve done a masterpiece.” A party was given after the screening at the St. Regis Hotel. The orchestra, of course, was playing Nino Rota’s famous waltz over and over.

What a story! The characters are a young director who has just chained three flop in a row…

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