This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Two things brought me to this memory. First, since I am continuing my Versus AFI: 10 Top 10 arc, this time looking at the Gangster genre, it was only fitting I’d chronicle at least one of them in this series. Second, last week my colleague over at Fog’s Movie Reviews conducted a Great Debate about a couple of sibling films very close to my heart. So, it had to be this one.
“It made me think of what you once told me: “In five years the Corleone family will be completely legitimate.” That was seven years ago.”
December 28, 1974: this film relates to a number of things for the particular years then and now; up there on-screen with the family Corleone, and for me. I really can’t express to you how anticipated this, the first sequel to The Godfather, was during the early 70s. The expectations were so high, in trade papers and newspapers alike, when it was announced and as it was being filmed, moviegoers talked about it like they do today for things like The Avengers, Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises — just without the internet. So much so that when it was released in December, the big showcase theaters in town screening it (in this case, the Hollywood Pacific) were selling out shows left and right.
Standing in a long ticket line, one that wrapped around the corner, was part of the price to be paid to see The Godfather Part II first run in such a venue. We, as in with the girl I was dating back then, did just that. Having seen the pioneering original gangster movie more than two years earlier was the precursor for all those attending that evening. What a difference two years made. I saw The Godfather at a drive-in with my last high school girlfriend the day after I graduated. This time, I was seated high up in the balcony of a prestigious, almost cathedral-like (and quite packed) Hollywood theater with the first girlfriend of my college days taking it all in. It wasn’t lost on me what changes had already taken place.
Those who’ve followed this series may spot the interconnections in this entry. The post on The Godfather was the one that I began the TMT series with. The young lady I took on the movie date to its sequel was the exact same person I took to see the film Chinatown earlier that same summer.