Thursday, May 24, 2012

"I'm a Businessman. Blood Is a Big Expense.": Godfather Analysis Part VIII

Go to Part VII: "And don't lose that famous temper of yours, huh, Sonny?"

The scene in which Sollozzo presents his proposition to Tom takes place in what appears to be an abandoned ‘railroad car’ diner – a long, narrow freestanding building. The only lighting in the scene is a source light, a small lantern on the table near Tom and Sollozzo. There are two close shots on Tom and Sollozzo, only their faces lit, everything else very dark before the cut showing us the room and the light. The shot is almost completely black. We can see the outlines of the characters in the far background and a silhouette of a guard in the foreground, but there is not enough light to give much indication as to where they are. For the Corleone family this is the low point of the film. Luca Brasi has been killed, the Don is near death, Tom has been taken and Sollozzo is about to put the screws to the family. The darkness of this scene is a reflection of that despair.

Solozzo enveloped in darkness before delivering the bad news to Tom.

The darkness keeps out a lot of the detail in the room.

A long shot reveals a single source light casting an enormous shadow of Solozzo in the wall  on the left.

Here Sollozzo reveals his powers of observation and what he learned in his meeting with Corleone. He says to Tom:

VIRGIL SOLLOZZO: Sonny was hot for my deal, wasn’t he? And you knew it was the right thing to do.

Remember in the meeting Sollozzo noted how thorough Tom was at information gathering. This would have led him to suspect that Tom thinks things through. And Sollozzo noticed Sonny jumping in to speak out of turn, thus leading him to the conclusion that he was interested in the deal. So Sollozzo knew that his best move would be to get the Don out of the way, give a sound proposition to Tom to smooth things over with Sonny and he would get what he wanted. Again, the theme of business enters this scene. Sollozzo tells Tom, “It’s good business.” And at the end of their conversation he makes the assertion we’ll hear several times in the film that he’s simply a businessman and doesn’t like violence. But of course for these guys, violence is all part of the business.

Then we learn that Vito is still alive. Someone pulls up to inform Sollozzo of the news and he tells Tom saying that it’s bad luck all around. Before the scene ends there is a music cue of the dark, ominous music signaling danger. It’s the same music that will play when Michael is at the hospital later trying to protect his father.

Go to Part IX: "It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes."

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