Jon LewisNov 21, 2022
The Godfather, Part II
British Film Institute/Bloomsbury Publishing 2022
Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) is a magisterial cinematic work, a gorgeous, stylized, auteur epic, and one of the few sequels judged by many to be greater than its predecessor. This despite the fact that it consists largely of meetings between aspiring 'Godfather' Michael Corleone and fellow gangsters, politicians and family members. The meetings remind us that the modern gangster's success is built upon inside information and on strategic planning. Michael and his father Vito's days resemble those of the legitimate businessmen they aspire or pretend to be.
In his book The Godfather, Part II (Bloomsbury, 2022), Jon Lewis provides a close analysis of the film and a discussion of its cinematic and political contexts. It is structured in three sections: “The Sequel,” “The Dissolve,” and “The Sicilian Thing” – accommodating three avenues of inquiry, respectively: the film's importance in and to Hollywood history, its unique, auteur style and form; and its cultural significance. Of interest, then, is New Hollywood history, mise-en-scene, and a view of the Corleone saga as a cautionary capitalist parable, as a metaphor of the corruption of American power, post-Vietnam, post-Watergate.
Jon Lewis is the University Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at Oregon State University and the former editor of Cinema Journal. His books include Road to Nowhere: Hollywood Encounters the Counterculture, Hard-Boiled Hollywood: Crime and Punishment in Postwar Los Angeles, The Road to Romance and Ruin: Teen Films and Youth Culture, Whom God Wishes to Destroy … Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood, Hollywood v. Hard Core: How the Struggle over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry, and for the BFI’s Film Classics series, The Godfather.
Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics, found at https://fifteenminutefilm.podb... and on Twitter @15MinFilm.