Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Subtext - The Godfather

Have you ever noticed how the obscure, unquoted, unfamous lines in The Godfather are full of subtext? Here are four that I love, and I'm sure I don’t even have to explain the context.

Tom: “Thank you for the dinner and a very pleasant evening. Maybe your car could take me to the airport. Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news immediately.”

(Man, are you ever screwed. You’re going to find in your bed a small portion of your most prized horse.)

Clemenza: That Sonny's running wild. He's thinking of going to the mattresses already. We have to find a place on the West Side. Try three-oh-nine west forty third street. You know any good spots on the west side?
Paulie: Yeah, I’ll think about it.
Clemenza: Well, think about it while you’re driving, will ya? I wanna hit New York sometime this month.

(You’re a dead man, Paulie.)

Michael: I have to go to the bathroom. Is that all right?

(I’m going to come out with a gun and blow your heads right off.)

Tessio: Barzini wants to arrange a meeting. Says we can straighten any of our problems out.

(Barzini kindly requests the opportunity to kill you.)


Mim said...

My favorite movie reference to The Godfather is that scene in You've Got Mail when Tom Hanks tells Meg Ryan that everything you need to know can be found in The Godfather.

GameArs said...

I need to see this movie again. It's been years.

subtext: "I don't have a Netflix account"

Mim said...

I could be watching it this weekend.

subtext: "Get one."

GimmeABreak said...


subtext: am I the only person in the world who didn't like the Godfather?

Mystery Man said...

Mim - And I agree!

Carl - I watched it again this morning. Gets better every time I see it.

Pat - Yes, you are. Hehehe...

GameArs said...


No. You and Peter Griffin.

Shares Dream World said...

Subtext, really? I agree with your first and last examples, but not the middle two.

GF is an absolute classic (also happens to be tied with GF2 for my favorite movie). Lots of layers to the story. Gets better every time.

Chinatown does that for me, too.

Mystery Man said...

All right, maybe the bathroom line is a bit of a stretch, but Clemenza's interaction with Paulie was FULL of subtext. That was all mind games to distract Paulie, to make him feel perfectly at ease with them, because... they're going to kill him in the car.

And afterwards, they're going to leave the gun and take the canolies. Hehehe...

mernitman said...

... which is actually one of the best subtext lines ever. so loaded! it's like the entire philosophy of the corleone clan stated in one throwaway.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

I don't agree that all of those lines are subtext. Watched Godfather start to finish last night. However, if you're going to quote subtext from Godfather, how can you leave out, "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."?

Mystery Man said...

I thought about quoting that line, but decided against it because I thought it'd be fun to talk about the UNfamous lines no one ever quotes. But you are absolutely correct, MaryAn, in the fact that that line is FULL of subtext.

I reread all the lines. I think there is subtext there, of course, I could be wrong. But when Michael asks to go to the bathroom, that line's really about death, isn't it? I could be wrong.