Godfather question: Did anybody back home know that Michael got married while he was in Italy?*

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Vinny123, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. swandown

    swandown Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I know that Fredo is dumb.

    I also know that A) Fredo has a very strong instinct to run at the slightest hint of trouble, and B) Fredo was never established as the type of person who would ever go fishing with one of his brother's hit men.

    So, while I do think it's plausible that Fredo could be dumb enough to think that he's back in Michael's good graces, I don't think that it's plausible for Fredo to want to go fishing with Al Neri. It's out of character for him.

    Now, maybe there's some backstory in the book that explains how Fredo is such an ardent fisherman that he'll jump at the chance to go fishing with anyone, anytime, even if it's with his brother's hitman on a small boat. Or maybe Fredo and Al Neri have a long history of hanging out together? But without that kind of context, I just have a hard time believing that the character would do what he did. The scene felt "forced" to me, and the only thing that saved it from being cringeworthy was John Cazale's superb acting chops.
     
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  2. Grunge Master

    Grunge Master Put Captain Solo in the cargo hold.

    Location:
    Michigan
    I think Fredo kind of got forced into it. He was supposed to be going out with Anthony, who got called back at the last minute. At that point, he pretty much had to go out. If he refused to go out with Michael's right hand man, then he would be saying that he didn't trust Neri, which in turn isn't trusting Michael. At that point, Fredo felt like he had just gotten back into Michael's good graces, and didn't want to ruin anything.
     
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  3. genesim

    genesim Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Louis
    I think Hardy's point about Connie and your point about not knowing Roth's death is helpful.

    It would be hard to believe anyone would be that low.

    One thing is for sure..John Cazale sells it. Just watched the Conversation again this weekend...small role but betrayal is a nice preview of GF II.
     
  4. Jack Lord

    Jack Lord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    A) He initially ran and then returned freely after the mayhem in Havana. Even then he is excommunicated and partly banished, but not threatened with death.

    B) Why not? His brother's hit man is a trusted coworker, a member of the Family. Fredo has known him for a decade. He has nothing to fear from him as Mike has publicly forgiven him. Hell, I'd wager Fredo invited Al along. And for all we know, Fredo might figure that kissing up to Al Neri is the first step in regaining his status in the Family.

    The only thing we really know about Fredo's character is that he is not a good fit for the Mafia life. Something Mike finally realized but could not leave at that.
     
  5. Paulette

    Paulette Sweet Child in Time

    Location:
    US
    I was always under the impression that Al would be there for protection.
     
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  6. swandown

    swandown Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    He only returned after Michael told Tom Hagen to let him know that everything was alright.

    But then Michael told him "You're dead to me." And I think that if the Godfather tells you "You're dead to me", then any mobster (even someone as naive as Fredo) would have interpreted it as a death threat.

    Ahhh, but Fredo and Al Neri were no longer co-workers! Fredo was banished from the family business. The funeral was the first time that he'd had any kind of interaction with Al Neri in many months, if not years.

    And that's part of the reason why Fredo's decision didn't "fit" within the context of his character. He had been banished, he had been told he was "dead" to the Godfather, he had been told that the only time he would be allowed in the house was to see his mother (who was now dead, thereby eliminating his only excuse to be there).......and suddenly he's going to go fishing with Al Freaking Neri???

    It just didn't fit Fredo's character very well. Everything we know about Fredo's character says that he would have run.
     
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  7. Paulette

    Paulette Sweet Child in Time

    Location:
    US
    I'm thinking that maybe there's another good point to consider that I haven't seen mentioned.
    How does Anthony fit in?

    I commented before about feeling sick that Connie was used in this scenario but thinking about Anthony makes me even sicker.
     
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  8. Chazro

    Chazro Forum Resident

    Location:
    West Palm Bch, Fl.
    Fun thread! Another angle....we have no way of knowing whether Neri REGULARLY went out on Fredo and Anthony's little fishing junkets. Totally plausible that Michael would want his son protected at all times. If they did a few trips together, Fredo, being the dope he was, wouldn't have suspected a thing. Although Neri was Michael's 'Luca', he was infinitely more accessible and accepted within the family 'inner circle' than Luca ever was. Remember Connie telling him to get Troy Donahue a drink? Even Don Vito would've never barked out such an order to Luca!;)
     
  9. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    I agree with this. We don't know what Fredo spends his days on the compound doing. Maybe he goes fishing by himself or just with Al or another in the boat all the time. Seems perfectly reasonable. I don't know about Fredo kissing up to Al or trying to bond with Al, but I don't think it is unreasonable that Fredo would have felt perfectly safe going out on the boat with just Al. They'd probably done it before.
     
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  10. genesim

    genesim Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Louis
    Dude so true. At least Neri could keep a straight sentence... you think the average Luca could install an average recreation family outing. All he knew was killing and boxy suit uniforms.
     
  11. Instant Dharma

    Instant Dharma Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Bay, Ca
    I always felt that Fredo knew what was going to happen. Doesn't he basically just tell Neri to go ahead with it? I always felt that was a huge moment.

    Michael was ultimately weak and arguably weaker than Fredo who gave up his life once he betrayed Michael.

    One of those Indelibly great moments in film history that are just chilling. When Fredo admits out loud that Uncle Junior, er I mean Johnny Ola brought him to that club and the camera cuts to Michael with a look on his face as if to say, you mother(*^r.
     
  12. reddyempower

    reddyempower Forum Resident

    Location:
    columbus, oh, usa
    Jack, your penultimate sentence reminded me of a passage from the Godfather novel. It deals with Carlo Rizzi and mentions that he envies Sonny his savagery and willingness to kill another. In it, Puzo also mentions that it never occurs to Carlo that this makes him a better man than Sonny.

    This may somewhat apply to Fredo as well. His weakness is that he's not cut out for Mafia life.

    For instance, if I saw my father gunned down- I would do what Fredo did. If I built a life for myself with a man I trusted and now my YOUNGER brother came in and told this guy off, I might do what Fredo did, just not with the same words.
    In part 2 he mentions running some Mickey Mouse nightclub- I couldn't do that, it's hard work and takes some brains.

    It's possible his biggest issue comes from the fact that he's surrounded by a mafia family and wants desperately to fit in but is too good a person to be effective in this world. And this is taken as weakness. Even by himself. And he makes this stupid deal with Roth because he's not evil enough to think it would ever be a murder attempt- his brain is not wired that way because he has never thought of killing anyone (not sure how complicit he is with the dead hooker and the senator). I believe him when he tells Mike he didn't think it would be a hit. Not because of logic, but because of the performance and the character so far.

    This fits in with the overall message as well. These are evil people and this life destroys everything.

    Vito lost his oldest son and saw his youngest son hide for years in sicily.
    Connie lost her brother and husband.
    Michael lost his brother and first wife and had his child aborted by second wife.
    Kay was in an unhappy marriage and grew apart from her children.
    Fredo was never allowed to truly develop as a man, always trying to fit into a life he couldn't handle.

    At the end of part two, that last scene- everyone in it has been destroyed and it's so powerful because you see them before the destruction. Fredo is the only one who congratulates Mike.

    It's easy for me to think that Mike is more evil than his father, and perhaps he is. But his father started the evil and created the environment which allowed this evil to grow.

    My thoughts on this aren't exactly gathered, but I guess I'm saying it's Fredo's strength as a person that creates his weakness in the story.

    I'll tell you one thing- reading this thread makes me realize just how unnecessary part 3 was- even if it was a great movie, the story was TOLD.
     
  13. Paulette

    Paulette Sweet Child in Time

    Location:
    US
    I mean like, using Anthony as kind of a bait.
    And then using Connie to make it seem kinda harmless.
    This thread is kinda making me hate Mike.
    In 3,that priest he confesses to compares his heart to a rock.

    So true.
     
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  14. GregM

    GregM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    Based on what? There's nothing in the movie that indicates he has no feelings and his evil transgressions can all be attributed to a code of conduct that places loyalty to family and paisanos above all else, which is portrayed at the very least a gray area if not the pursuit of a higher law. Being betrayed wasn't an annoyance, it was an existential threat to him and his wife and kids, who he legitimately cares about. I think you've decided he's evil and therefore inhuman. But the movie did not portray him as such.

    It's called having your heart broken.

    I'm not sure how to respond to this. You are arguing against it being an attack on his heritage, but then acknowledge that it is, and then blame that attack on the person being attacked. Keep in mind that throughout the conversation, up to that point, Michael had been conciliatory. He was the only one trying to hold the marriage together, while simultaneously trying to neutralize threats and put the pieces in place to disengage from his illegal activities and go legit. He was not just an agent of evil, crime and chaos; he was living by some code of conduct and genuinely trying to advance on all fronts. He did not want a life of crime for his son, so Kay was a bit off base in accusing Michael of grooming his kids to take over.

    There is always a court-ruled visitation order in any case of divorce/legal separation. The fact that Connie is pushing for Kay to leave implies a pre-ordained timeshare order that Kay is not honoring, and that she needs to leave. For sure Michael had a lot of influence with the courts and used that influence to his advantage--he hinted to Kay he would do this during the course of their argument where she said she wanted a divorce. The kids were old enough to think for themselves. They saw their dad as an important, busy man and loving father, who provided for them and gave them whatever they wanted. And they saw their mom plotting against him and trying to burn it all to the ground, so the son in particular was not interested in being close with his mom anymore. This seems true to life. Kids always blame one parent or the other, along with themselves and they seek the approval of the parent who seems more important to them.

    I don't think that's in response to anything I said legally, philosophically or otherwise. I agree that killing as a soldier is legal, and killing as a mob boss is not. And I never said organized crime is great so that's just a strawman you're setting up to knock over since you can't address what I really said.

    All the crap? What crap was that? She was shot at but he was the real target as a result of Fredo's stupidity/disloyalty/hostility--however you interpret it--and Michael was trying to get to the bottom of that and eliminate the threat. She was moved to a beautiful estate in Nevada--is that the crap he put her through? She had two beautiful, healthy kids with him--is that crap?

    I don't see how the film supports that, but even if that's your conclusion how does that make Kay a Mother Teresa type saint?

    Maybe I'll explain it to you this way. When you start a family, it's not just you and the other person and your egos and feelings of superiority over the other (real or perceived) that matter. Other people are now involved--namely the children--who contrary to your opinion are the ONLY completely innocent people in the situation. So as a parent, the noble thing is to buck up, put your feelings and your ego and everything else aside, and do what's in the best interests of the kids. The reason I am not particularly a fan of Kay, is that I don't think she did that or made much of an attempt to do that. Because like it or not, it does require coordinating with the other parent. Kay didn't seem to have thought that through. She was acting out of pure emotion, in line with your responses.

    I am not going to page back through the thread but you seemed to admire Vito and demonize Michael. Vito was no more honest about it than Michael. The big difference was circumstantial and rooted in societal norms that shift with the generations.

    That's all well and good, but children were involved and you can't very well put them back where they came from and pretend the whole thing never happened. Vows were exchanged and those kids came into the world and a family was formed around them.

    Are you really saying she could protect and provide for the children better than Michael?
     
  15. Jack Lord

    Jack Lord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    But Fredo is forgiven. Or so it seems. He is no longer banished.

    How much time elapses between Mike's public hug and Fredo's demise? However long it is, Fredo finds a sense of at least semi-normalcy. He thinks he is forgiven while Mike is plotting all along.

    Fredo had the means to escape. Hell, Tom and Connie would have helped him. But he felt secure because Mike had seemingly forgiven him.
     
  16. genesim

    genesim Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Louis
    First of all, relax. We are having a discussion and the amp up is obvious. I quoted you a lot because I am respecting what you are having to say. Let us keep it friendly ok?

    I don't agree that there is "nothing" in the movie that shows he lacks emotion. He lies without mercy, and feels no remorse for it. Do you see any signs of remorse? How about when he hits her?

    As for your assertion that I find inhuman. I don't know where you get this. I can call someone a lying psychopathic criminal. Doesn't make him cease to be a human. At no point did I think he was a statue, or a tiger, or even an alien. Nope, he is still worthy of some empathy, and I said this clearly.

    You see I admit that it could be that, but I struggle with it. You act as if there cannot be any conclusion that is otherwise. Well that is your opinion, please respect mine even if you disagree with it. I am not stating that you only have to think as I do.

    Say what? WHEN? Go back to the original quote. I stated that Kay feels a prejudice based on her personal experience. She made a slur based on his distortions of that heritage. While she no doubt is confused by what she sees, I don't think again that she is attacking all Sicilians. Do you understand this? I have said it twice, so please at least try to understand what I actually said. I blame Michael Corleone because of his criminal distortions. Case in point, if someone threatens my life, threatens my future, and most of all puts me in a position of possibly getting me sent to jail for being involved in something and I say...Hey idiot, you are wrong for doing this to me, and I am taking actions to make sure it doesn't happen to others.... is my "attack" making this person a victim?

    Michael was not being "attacked" by Kay. Michael was getting a NORMAL reaction from someone that was attacked first. I know perhaps you blame a person that fights back after being lied to and "hit" with criminal behavior (and not the slap..but his actions through the years), but you will have to excuse me in thinking that is just a little messed up.

    Ok, I gotta pause on this....so Michael, the criminal, who lies to Kay, and has people killed, is being polite? Again, I don't know why Kay would believe anything he has said. I am not buying it for one single solitary second, and even the director at one point talked about the hypocrisy of it all on how a twisted illegal criminal can never get "legit" on a foundation of evil. Al Capone was a very polite man. Perhaps the people that knew who he was were "rude" for ever questioning what he did. So the man says please and thank you, and I call him a murdering SOB....gee that must make me attacking him huh? How about that is me calling it like I see it (I am sure he would try to have me shot and it would be justified in some people's eyes right??).

    Where are you getting this "court-ruled" visitation? I want proof of this, not something that is assumed. Dude, so Kay is now plotting against Dad to destroy his illegal empire? Right... I got it, Kay is the evil one all along!

    No offense, but you seem to be implying it again. So let us be clear since I am being accused of strawman. Killing as a mob boss is wrong. So wouldn't it stand to reason that if Kay is trying to shield her son from it, stop dad from doing it, and furthermore keep more children from being harmed by the action....what does little Anthony have to be mad at mom about? What did she do to deserve his hate other than be brainwashed by Michael? I see no evidence that she did anything wrong to her children and was actually taking steps to protect them by getting away from the monster or at least putting an end to this "legitimization" crap that was more hot air. Have we not seen how abundantly clear how futile this prospect was?

    You seem to equate wealth with nurturing. This is the Michael Corleone school of thinking.

    Wait didn't you just accuse me of strawman? Where did I say Mother Teresa saint. I said she was innocent. Big difference...though compared to Michael Corleone....most would be saints.

    Right, so to explain it to me, you should suck up to the criminal and somehow admit...even though you killed no one...that you are not innocent and just as complicit as the person that lied to you?

    Kay didn't have to attempt anything. She owed Michael NOTHING. He is a criminal and deserved worse. What I don't get is how you protect Michael since he is all polite about his lying ass ways..but if Kay has a normal reaction of being pissed about the ruse then she ceases to be innocent? If there is one thing she is guilty of, it is getting tangled up with this man to begin with. Her worst mistake was getting into the car after the absence. The worst mistake she ever made. She should have thanked her lucky stars when she broke free. Though I am not 100% sure how he would have reacted then.

    No, you actually should. While you are admitting that you are making an assumption, my only reference point was comparing Vito to Michael. It was the lesser of two evils. Vito was absolutely more honest about it, because unlike Michael, he didn't treat his family like complete and utter crap....or did I miss the part where Vito went off and married another woman? Did I see Vito slapping his wife around. Funny how you talk of honesty, but yet forget Michael's actions. I "demonize" Michael because he wasn't a very admirable person.

    YET, I still feel that Vito was a criminal, and I no I don't "admire" him. I understand and have empathy...yes, but ADMIRE? Are you kidding? What is to admire other than him messing with a pedophile (though again, is it really hurting a pedophile, or is it more to do with getting a friend a part in a movie)?

    I really think you should re-read a lot of my posts because you sure have gotten some very different views. When you see red, don't think ketchup or blood...just see red. It is nothing more than that. I called it as I see it. If I say that a German Shepherd is better than being attacked by a Bear that doesn't mean I want either mauling.

    Yeah you can. People do it all the time, and I don't blame anyone for not honoring vows made to an arguably psychopathic killer. Matter of fact, in the right circumstances you swoop up those kids, gut them from their father, and in some cases, they may never see their father again until they are grown. Certain criminals have no "right" to visitation. Surely you are aware of this. The vows don't mean squat in that capacity and the state will grant divorce based on that ground.

    UH HELL YES! Anyone else she marries will probably ensure those children of having a more normal less corrupt life.

    Dude we are so far apart. You go on believing that Michael Corleone the criminal mob boss is the best thing for children. I believe in the school of Kay being one of the few truly innocent people in the entire saga. You can demonize her all you want, but man I just don't see it. She was a good person and made very sound criticism and at least tried to get away. I hate the third movie in this capacity. When Michael was alone at the end, you can bet that Kay did everything in her power to get away from him (or at least in my world she did). Then again, she did have that weakness...lots of co-dependents are like that.
     
  17. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo

    Location:
    California
    People: times are tough, and Michael needs to pay the palatial estate bills. It would be nice if the olive oil business were able to generate the kind of coin that pays for that kind of real estate, but there's only so much demand for olive oil in a country full of meatloaf consumers. Would Michael have preferred not to off Carlo, Tessio, and Fredo? Sure, but, again, times are tough and Michael has to do what is necessary to pay the bills.

    Interesting that we see or hear Carlo and Fredo's deaths, but no way is Coppola going to show Abe Vigoda die onscreen. Tessio's gentle and smart ways of doing business with the Don over many years ameliorates a tough situation for Don Corleone. It is hard to imagine how Tessio might have died at the will of the Don, but at least the audience is spared from seeing or hearing him die onscreen. We can remember the times when Tessio and the Corleones were on the same page without his onscreen death spoiling all of that. For Tessio, his betrayal was merely business, not personal.

    Fredo, on the other hand, hoo boy. You don't talk to Moe Green like that? How about you don't go against the family, Fredo? That's pretty personal right there. Fredo forsaking the family unity by making unholy alliances and betraying the family's best interests forced Michael's hand in killing his brother. Michael could not wait any longer, for Fredo was a loose cannon with no regard for the future family stability, loyalty to family, or acquiring the brainpower needed to be a mafia kingpin or mafia thinker of any worth. Fredo says that he is smart, but he is not. He is dumb to the point of recklessness, and self centered to the extreme (if I may quote and paraphrase Grateful Dead). Michael had to kill Fredo when he did. Times are tough, Fredo. That's the breaks, kid.
     
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  18. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly...

    To be fair, when Fredo finds out Anthony wasn't coming on the boat with him and Neri, Fredo does mutter to himself "Oh, sh-t" so you could interpret that as Fredo knowing what was going to happen, knowing he was powerless to do anything about it and thinking, "Well, to hell with it- if this is how it's going to be, hopefully Al makes it quick..."
    Connie had to know the truth about what happened to Fredo. She may have been in denial about it -hence buying into the whole "drowning" story- but deep down Connie had to know what really happened. She knew better than most people what Michael was capable of doing.
    Based on the handful of lines he had in the films, sure:laugh: Al Neri's a man of few words...
     
  19. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    You would think so. How they pulled off the drowning story puzzles me also. Looked like Al was about to shoot Fredo in the back of the head. That could make an open casket at the funeral a problem, and there would be no reason NOT to have one if someone simply drowned and washed up on shore. Or was this one of those "body never recovered, presumed drowned" things?
     
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  20. Phil147

    Phil147 Forum Resident

    Location:
    York UK
    Jeez... imagine having Luca along for a family picnic :D He was the type of guy who made even the great Don himself nervous to be around.

    I always took it when watching Part II that Al and Fredo regularly went out fishing together and that this was another normal outing. So I tend to go down the path that poor old Fredo was not suspecting he would be whacked, at least not by Al.
     
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  21. Phil147

    Phil147 Forum Resident

    Location:
    York UK
    'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer' :yikes:

    I can't remember if the film makes it clear how long it is between Mama Corleone's funeral and the ill fated fishing trip but I get the impression Fredo has settled down as you say into some level of normalcy. So just another day on the compound fishing with Al...
     
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  22. Phil147

    Phil147 Forum Resident

    Location:
    York UK
    I always took it that the body was never found - given Al Neri's 'expertise' I imagine he weighted the corpse down before chucking it over the side. Then he rows back home and tells Michael the job is done. Then Michael, or maybe Tom, tell the rest of the family there has been a terrible accident...
    Deep down I think Connie would know what has happened, I mean anyone who has been around Michael for any length of time would suspect the worst, she just chose to take the party line rather than acknowledge Michael has had his own brother murdered in cold blood.
     
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  23. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly...

    That's more or less how I think it went down as well.
     
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  24. BEAThoven

    BEAThoven Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey
    The scene right before Fredo was murdered on the boat, to me, showed that Fredo was never more "smart" or clear-headed than at this point... He finally knows that he can't escape the decisions he made no matter how remorseful he might be... He now knows exactly how Michal operates, and from this resignation comes a "Hail Mary" prayer as he awaits his fate.
     
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  25. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Maybe. They did make the point of him telling little Anthony how his trick to fishing was saying a "Hail Mary" and how he got fish when his other brothers didn't. I agree him reciting the prayer is supposed to make it vague as to whether he knows he is about to die or not, but it just doesn't seem like Fredo to go calmly to his death. When Connie pulls Anthony away, there doesn't seem to be any recognition pass over his face, like what you saw with Tessio when he realized he was through.

    It's a great scene. I still lean more towards Fredo not knowing.
     
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