Sunday, October 05, 2008

"Food and drinking are prolific throughout the movie ..."

Yesterday, I made an appearance at a mercifully short wedding before I made a quick-change and headed downtown for the Vanderbilt-Auburn game (Yeah, Vandy!). After the wedding, I was talking to the brother of the bridegroom about weddings in general when the opening scene from The Godfather (a wedding scene) entered the conversation.

The bridegroom's bro spent the next 15 minutes trading "Remember when ...?" Godfather riffs. As soon as I mentioned the scene in which Al Pacino's character gets schooled 'bout how to cook for "twenty guys," he informed me - rather authoritatively, in fact - that there were 40 scenes in the Godfather in which people were either eating or discussing food.

Intrigued by the bridegroom's bro's assertion, I did some research today. Seems he was off by about 20 scenes. There were 40 eating/drinking scenes alright ... plus twenty more. According to the Internet Movie Data Base:

"Food and drinking are prolific throughout the movie. There are approximately 61 scenes or shots with people eating, drinking, or with food featured.

So there!

Now, while I'm on the subject of the Godfather, and while we're discussing food, I want to tell you about my favorite scene from said movie ...

The Corleone family has gone to the mattresses after an attempt on the Godfather's (Marlon Brando) life. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is still a civilian at this point, and he enters the family kitchen to take a phone call from his girlfriend. When he hangs up, he gets schooled on how to cook tomato sauce, er, gravy by Clemenza, one of his family's hoods. Here're Clemenza's instructions:

"[Y]ou start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some [canned whole]tomatoes, tomato paste. You fry it and you make sure it doesn't stick. You get it to a boil and you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs. Add a little bit o' wine. And a little bit o' sugar, and that's my trick."

Try that sometime and you'll have one fine tomato gravy. I know, 'cause I've tried it. That said, here's why that scene is my favorite scene from the movie ...

If you listen to Francis Ford Coppola's commentary on the Godfather DVD, during the making-tomato-gravy scene he admits that the original script called for Clemenza to say, "Then you brown some garlic." Mario Puzo, who penned the novel upon which the movie was based, stepped in and said, "Gangsters don't 'brown.'" So, the script was changed to be more gangster -- and for the better if you ask me.

All of a sudden, I'm in the mood for some penne, sausages, and homemade tomato gravy!

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