Two years after the original was made in 1974, the epic sequel of The Godfather comes out which I must add received eleven Academy Awards nominations, winning six including Best Picture of 1974. I was astounded that it could be just as good as the first. Coppola and the author of the novels Mario Puzo managed to pull off making a film that intertwined two stories that work as both prequel and sequel to the original. To give you a little background history, The original Godfather was about the life of the Italian mob's in NYC and how family trumps everything. The Godfather Part II was a little different. The sequel takes us through the life of the new Don, Michael Corleone and transitions back and forth from the early life of the first Don.
It's funny how the one who wanted nothing to do with the family business and thought he was nothing like his father, turns out to be worse than his father ever was. In this sequel Michael is now the new Don, and has a completely different personality to him in my opinion. The aspect of Mise-en-Scene that I decided to focus on while watching this film, was the costumes of Michael Corleone. Throughout this film all Michael ever wore were suits, which defines his character as a serious man who is all about business. In the first scene of the film Michael is wearing a grey suit with a black tie. He is not uptight about work or anything, but he has a serious look on his face. In the sequel he continues to wear light colors but as the film moves along, I began to notice Michael wearing suits for different occasions. For example, when Michael goes to visit Frank who does not want to do business with a man named Hyman Roth, he is wearing a black suit. And with that, he is also angry and frustrated with Frank. Another scene where Michael is wearing a black suit is when him and his wife Kay are having an argument. It seems like when Michael wears a black suit he is either a) angry or pissed off at someone b) about to have someone killed or c) visiting someone who may have betrayed him. Although towards the end of the film he begins to wear the dark colored suits more often than before.
When Michael becomes the new Don he doesn't carry with him the same values as his father. In the original, family was important to Don Vito and he would rather not have a lot of bloodshed where as Michael kills anyone who stands in his way or betrays him. In the sequel you barely see Michael with his kids, and it seems like he has no affection towards them or his wife. In the original Don Vito was always talking about family, and was loving and caring towards them. As the film progresses, I began to notice as Michael is wearing more dark colors, his personality changes and that is why his suits get darker. He becomes very angry at everyone. Angry at Fredo for betraying him, angry at Kay for betraying him as well, and those who stand in his way he feels like he has to take them out. Instead of talking to Fredo or at least trying to forgive him, he pretends like he does not exist which is going against Don Vito's values towards family. Don Vito expressed in the original that spending time with your family was important, and if you did not do so you were not a real man.
As more people betray Michael his character develops into this merciless human being. When the movie transitions from how Don Vito made a name for himself, you can really see the distinctions between the two. In the early days of Don Vito's life he was helping out those who needed it. In the sequel Michael is more concerned about his casinos and less about others, not to mention he hardly spends time with his family. Ever since Michael took control of the family business his character has developed into this ruthless man, who I thought from the original could never be anything of that sort. Overall the film was great and I loved how the author and director wanted us to see the early days of Don Vito and the present Don and how they incorporated it into one film. So what's next? The last scene of the film is Michael alone in the park reminiscing of his childhood and of a time when he was telling his brothers he enlisted in the marines. Will he continue to be absent in his families life? Will he step down from being the Don? Will everyone that ever cared about him leave? I guess we have to watch part III to find out!