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Godfather: The Intimate Francis Ford Coppola

Godfather: The Intimate Francis Ford Coppola [Kindle Edition]

Gene D. Phillips

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Product Description

Product Description

WITH A FOREWORD BY WALTER MURCH Gene Phillips blends biography, studio history, and film criticism to complete the most comprehensive work on Coppola ever written. The force behind such popular and critically acclaimed films as Apocalypse Now and the Godfather trilogy, Coppola has imprinted his distinct style on each of his movies and on the landscape of American popular culture. In Godfather, Phillips argues that Coppola has repeatedly bucked the Hollywood "factory system" in an attempt to create distinct films that reflect his own artistic vision -- often to the detriment of his career and finances. Phillips conducted interviews with the director and his colleagues and examined Coppola's production journals and screenplays. Phillips also reviewed rare copies of Coppola's student films, his early excursions into soft-core pornography, and his less celebrated productions such as One from the Heart and Tucker: The Man and His Dream. The result is the definitive assessment of one of Hollywood's most enduring and misunderstood mavericks.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2257 KB
  • Print Length: 436 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0813123046
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky (5 Dec 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H277TLC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,050,199 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a summery of a review I did for the Lexington Herald 25 April 2004
By Don McNay - Published on
You can read the full review at [...]

Coppola: godfather of filmmaking


By Reviewed By Don McNay

At first, I feared that Godfather: The Intimate Francis Ford Coppola would be a stilted thesis. Instead, I found it to convey the research and knowledge of an esteemed academic in a book that is easy to read.
The research is certainly strong; author Gene Phillips, a professor of English at Loyola University of Chicago, knows his stuff. However, I am more impressed with the way the book flows. It covers Coppola's work with just the right amount of detail.
The book is biographical, but the focus is on Coppola's movies and how they were made. Phillips breaks the book into chronological chapters but also groups similar works together. He discusses all three chapters of the Godfather saga as a group, even though they stretch over a 20-year period, during which Coppola was making other movies.
Phillips is obviously a fan of Coppola, but the book comes across as dispassionate and even-handed. It takes us through Coppola's youth, his education at the UCLA film school, and his work for Roger Corman, the king of the B movies.
The book would be well worth the effort just to read Phillips' perspective on how Coppola turned Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather into a classic film trilogy. Coppola saw through some of the more graphic sex and violence in the novel and focused on the drama of the struggle of the family. Graphic scenes were certainly part of the movie, such as the famous horse-head-in-the-bed scene, but Coppola was able to weave the drama and story line of the book in the way that became a film classic.
Coppola was savaged by critics for casting his daughter, Sofia Coppola, in a critical role in Godfather III, and Phillips explains that she was a last-minute replacement after Winona Ryder became ill.
Phillips also examines Coppola's screenwriting, as well as his business dealings in Hollywood.
Coppola won an Oscar as the screenwriter for Patton, in which he captured the eccentric general in a way fans and critics could appreciate.
And while they were developing Apocalypse Now, Coppola and George Lucas, who had been very close, broke their friendship; Coppola finished the film that is now considered an American classic.
Coppola's skill as a director was not always matched by his skill as a businessman, and his money woes included bankruptcy. One of Coppola's low-budget successes was The Outsiders, a movie about teen alienation that helped launch the careers of Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze.
Phillips notes that the Coppola legacy has been passed to the next generation. Sofia Coppola won an Oscar this year for writing Lost in Translation and was nominated for best director for the same film.
A slight irritation is that Phillips injects himself into his book every 30 pages or so. In discussing Coppola's success in the wine business, Phillips writes "For myself, I chose a bottle of dark, dry Coppola claret." So?
But overall, Coppola's movies will be seen for generations to come, and the book Godfather is a good insight into those films and the man who made them.

Don McNay is president of McNay Settlement Group in Richmond and is a weekly business columnist for the Richmond Daily Register. Reach him at [...]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Apt Guide 10 July 2005
By Kevin Killian - Published on
It's a little confusing because Phillips decides to go out of chronological order whenever he feels that grouping films by theme or subject matter would allow him to get his points across better. Thus the three Godfather films are discussed back to back (to back), and even though this allows him a freedom to show the cross-connections among the different parts of the Godfather saga, I wonder if it doesn't screw up our understanding of the amazing ups and downs of Coppola's career. Otherwise it is an amazing read and will be the standard book on the director for some time to come.

It is a measure of the book's evenhandedness that, even when I disagree on Phillips' rankings of the different movies, I still respect his opinion. He rates THE RAIN PEOPLE and FINIAN'S RAINBOW considerably lower than I do, while heaping plaudits on top of BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA and Winona Ryder's performance. I was glad to see that Phillips has seen and likes RIP VAN WINKLE, the episode of that Shelley Duvall fairy tale TV series that Coppola directed at a low point (it was on RIP that Coppola first worked with Eiko Ishioka, the costume designer who later on made the fantastic DRACULA costumes so creepily memorable).

Spelling the "best film of the 90s" as GoodFellows is a little odd, but Phillips is an old school journeyman film writer, with lots of research under his belt, and a level head to boot. He makes us curious about all the footage said to have been cut by Warner from THE OUTSIDERS (1983) and how handy is it that from what I hear this footage has been restored by Coppola for the upcoming theatrical re-release and DVD of the film this fall! I wonder if we will ever see another version of THE COTTON CLUB too--or if Coppola will ever work again with Diane Lane, on whose behalf he labored so long, like John Hughes did for Molly Ringwald or, if it comes to that, as Josef Von Sternberg did for Marlene Dietrich.
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