Thursday, January 20, 2011

Apollonia's role in Michael's transformation

"In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns," Sicilian bodyguard Calo tells Michael Corleone during the latter's exile from America in FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA'S "THE GODFATHER."
I watched the 1971 classic on DVD last night. Although I have seen the film many times, each additional viewing reveals another detail or aspect I missed the previous times.

That's the hallmark of a great film.

Last night, I paid attention to AL PACINO'S Michael, his transformation from idealistic civilian to hardened mob boss, and the role that Sicily might have played.

Certainly, the death of Michael's Sicilian wife, Apollonia (SIMONETTA STEFANELLI) in an assassination attempt meant for him, helped complete Michael's transformation, which began in America with the murders of Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo (Al Lettieri) and the corrupt Capt. McCluskey (the always great Sterling Hayden).

Michael seems changed before Apollonia's death, but is absolutely transformed by the time of his American return.

Was it the loss of someone he loved that turned Michael completely over to the dark forces? Perhaps women are more dangerous -- or at least more influential -- than shotguns.

That was a theory to ponder at the film's conclusion.

That's another hallmark of a great film: There's always something else to ponder.

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