A blog mostly dedicated to cinema (including both new and old film reviews; commentary; and as the URL suggests - movie lists, although it has been lacking in this area to be honest), but on occasion touching on other areas of personal interest to me.
next section opens with some stock footage establishing shots of Hollywood and then a few
long range shots of Tom making his way around the studio back lot until he
finds the soundstage where Jack Woltz is. We know from the last conversation in
Don Corleone’s office that Tom was meant to go to California that night. These establishing shots
remind us of that conversation and the problem that Johnny is having with
getting a part in a new war film.
finds Woltz and proposes the deal explaining that if he gives Johnny the part
in the film, some future union problems will disappear. Woltz interrupts Tom,
insisting he can’t be muscled. Tom looks as though he either expected this
reaction or has seen it before. He simply tells Woltz he will wait for his
call. Tom is a professional and likely a seasoned veteran at these kinds of
negotiations. He knows Woltz will send someone to check him out and that when
he learns who he works for, his tune will change.
enough, it does. Next we see Tom and Woltz walking around the exterior of his
mansion. Tom tells Woltz he doesn’t like to use Corleone’s name unless it’s
“really necessary.” Woltz takes Tom to his horse stable to show off his prized
possession: a $600,000 race horse named Khartoum.
Woltz is obviously very proud of the animal (and what he paid for it,
highlighting that Russian Czars probably never paid that much for a horse).
Little does he know he’s just given Tom the ammunition he needs to get to him.
Tom and Woltz are eating dinner together inside. Woltz indicates he respects
Tom’s and Don Corleone’s position, but that there’s no way he can grant this
favor. He explains explicitly in a perfectly-delivered speech:
JACK WOLTZ: Johnny Fontane never gets that movie. That
part is perfect for him. It’ll make him a big star. And I’m gonna run him out
of the business. And let me tell you why. Johnny Fontane ruined one of Woltz
International’s most valuable protégées. For five years we had her under
training – singing lessons, acting lessons, dancing lessons. I spent hundreds
of thousands of dollars on her. I was gonna make her a big star. And let me be
even more frank just to show you that I’m not a hard-hearted man, that it’s not
all dollars and cents. She was beautiful. She was young, she was innocent! She
was the greatest piece of ass I’ve ever had and I’ve had ‘em all over the
world! And then Johnny Fontane comes along with his olive oil voice and guinea
charm. And she runs off. She threw it all away just to make me look ridiculous.
And a man in my position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous!
takes this whole speech in stride, continuing to eat, continuing to demonstrate
his professionalism and also probably the fact, as mentioned before, that he’s
probably seen this happen many times. He thanks Woltz for the dinner and asks
for a car to the airport because “Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing
bad news immediately.”
Tom leaves there is a dissolve, indicating the passage of time, to a tranquil California morning
outside the mansion. The theme music comes in softly giving an indication that
something is about to happen. At this point we have heard about what Don
Corleone is capable of. There is a cut to Woltz’s bedroom and we see him asleep
under his covers. The camera slowly pushes in as the score becomes more
ominous. Woltz begins to stir awake and we can see some blood on his covers.
Woltz then begins to sit up and slide back the sheets revealing his hand and
pajamas covered in blood. At this point neither Woltz nor the audience knows
what has happened. We assume, as I’m sure Woltz does, that he’s been wounded in
his sleep. He begins to panic, moving more quickly, throwing the covers back to
reveal his legs soaked in blood and finally tosses the sheets away and we see
the head of Khartoum
at the foot of the mattress. This entire shot lasts 1 minute and 5 seconds with
constant camera movement. It’s a great technique combined with the tonal shift
in the score to build the tension of the scene. Woltz begins to scream off
camera and then we see him in three different shots, progressively farther
away, screaming. Now the audience has witnessed firsthand what the Don is
capable of and the lengths to which he will go to help his family.
Coppola cuts from a medium close...
...to a long shot...
...to an exterior after Woltz finds the horse's head.