What? No Mario Puzo? Well, the late Puzo penned a screenplay that essentially filled in the history not covered during the flashback moments of The Godfather 2 film. Further story development includes more detail on Vito’s rise in power during the 20′s and 30′s, how Sonny entered ‘the life’, Tom Hagen’s college days, the youngsters Michael, Fredo and Connie’s innocence, what the family business would entail following prohibition, etc.
Here’s the backstory to, well, the creation of this backstory: Puzo passed away in 1999, but what he envisioned as a prequel film to The Godfather series wasn’t going to sit on a shelf forever. Instead, college professor/author Ed Falco (yes, he is related to The Sopranos star Edie Falco) was asked to look at, and excerpt from, screenplays Puzo wrote and develop it into novel form.
The end result is a winning combination of conflict, glory, family structure and often bloody resolution. Deeper into the characters, Falco convincingly paints a picture of not the just minute details of looks and mannerisms (which he does a wonderful job of), but also gives a solid understanding of what’s going through each of their minds. As Don Vito expressed to Sonny in the first film – “never let anyone know what you’re thinking” – thankfully Falco lets us in on the emotional strife, thought patterns and, sometimes, joy that resides in many of the characters we’ve come to know and love (and a few we meet for the first time).
Plot details will not be given away here, but expect a violent opening and a climactic finale. You will get know what made guys like Luca Brasi, Clemnza and Tessio (whom you’re familiar with) really tick. And how exactly did Vito feel about his eldest Sonny getting involved – tortured emotions indeed. Yes, all the expected elements fans have come to know and love about The Godfather are packed inside the pages of The Family Corleone. There are mob hits, bootlegging wars, and backstabbing – none of which hold a match to the pressures of maintaining family values!
While the main five crime families are fictional of course, woven into the fabric of this mafia saga are also little doses of creative non-fiction to tie in, from a realistic perspective, the cutthroat nature of a business that sprawls beyond the borders of New York, e.g. real life gangsters like Chicago’s Al Capone and Frank Nitti are made mention of during some character conversations.
Ed Falco did The Godfather series of books justice… bloody, dramatic, entertaining justice! Below, watch the clever and entertainingly humorous video trailer for the book release. Good stuff!
The Family Corleone is released on May 8th in hardcover by Grand Central Publishing.
Christian Cipollini is a freelance entertainment & true crime journalist, and the lead designer/co-founder of mob-themed apparel line Knokaround.