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Old 04-07-2013, 12:58 PM
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"The Godfather" At What Point Was Sen. Geary Snared?

When Michael decides to make the Corleone family into a "legit" Nevada based casino business, he solicits the corrupt Senator Geary. In the meeting, Geary outlines his price for the granting of a casino license-unaware that Michael has already analyzed the situation (and gotten control of Moe Green). Geary delivers a scathing dump on Michael-saying about how the greasy wops have invaded his beautiful, pristine state. Michael reveals nothing..at that point, is Geary already compromised?
When Sen. Geary is caught in the brothel (with a dead prostitute in his bed) he confesses to Tom Hagen that "he's done this before"-and never killed a woman before.
So did Michael plan this or was Geary already compromised at this point?
I always enjoyed how Geary delivered the "Enrico Fermi and Chris Columbus speech" to the Senate Committee investigating the Corleones-that was a great performance!
Old 04-07-2013, 01:20 PM
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My interpretation (no idea if it was Coppola and or Puzo's):

Michael would gladly have paid a "reasonable" bribe to the Senator and just seen it as business as usual, but he balked because

1- Geary wanted a ridiculous amount (5% of the gross of all four casinoes- millions of dollars per year for what's basically a $75,000 favor tops
2- The "greasy wops" speech (specifically as it applied to Michael's family)
3- To even make a counter off would have encouraged future shake downs and would have made him weak in front of his men (allowing them to remain was a big mistake for Geary)

Geary wasn't compromised by the time he left the office but he was on Michael's list and didn't quite realize how touchable he was.

I've never quite understood the dynamics of the dead hooker, though. Did they have a "let's get a dead hooker into his bed" battle plan just in case Geary ever set foot in the whorehouse, or was it something Tom Hagen cooked up as soon as he got the "Geary in the whorehouse" signal, or did Geary really kill her (because it doesn't seem to occur to him that he's been framed)?

Some of my favorite acting in that scene, btw, other than the drawling of "cor-lee-on-nee", was how Geary went from "I'm going to squeeze you" mode to "Hey ladies, how y'all doing?" charm the second he sees Kay and his wife outside.

Last edited by Sampiro; 04-07-2013 at 01:21 PM.
Old 04-07-2013, 01:37 PM
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Geary didn't even kill the hooker. It was Al Neri, whom you see cleaning up his hands as Tom Hagen arrives. This would mean that they drugged Geary so that he wouldn't wake up.

Last edited by The Second Stone; 04-07-2013 at 01:39 PM.
Old 04-07-2013, 01:52 PM
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The Corleones wanted to do business with Geary. They were willing to pay a reasonable price for this.

Geary refused to cooperate with them and insulted them.

In order to get what they wanted and in order to pay Geary back for the insults, the Corleones set Geary up. They found out he frequented prostitutes. They set him up in a brothel owned by the Corleones, drugged Geary, killed a prostitute and made it look like Geary did it, and then blackmailed Geary.

I'll admit the first time I watched the movie, I missed the subtle nuances. I thought what we saw on the surface was what had actually happened: Geary accidentally killed a prostitute and the Corleones found out and were able to use this to blackmail Geary.

But then I realized how unlikely such a coincidence would have been and how the Corleones wouldn't have left such a thing to chance. They wouldn't have waited in hopes that something would happen on its own that would allow them to blackmail Geary. They'd take action and create the situation.
Old 04-07-2013, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo
But then I realized how unlikely such a coincidence would have been and how the Corleones wouldn't have left such a thing to chance. They wouldn't have waited in hopes that something would happen on its own that would allow them to blackmail Geary. They'd take action and create the situation.
The only thing that made me wonder if Geary was responsible for her death was his "we've done this before" comment (I can't remember the exact line, but it implied it wasn't just your usual "wham/bam/$49.95 Thursday night special" but something kinky and perhaps dangerous) and the fact that Geary doesn't immediately figure out the Corleones killed the prostitute and are blackmailing him. There's some reason he believes it's feasible he's responsible.
Old 04-07-2013, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post
The only thing that made me wonder if Geary was responsible for her death was his "we've done this before" comment (I can't remember the exact line, but it implied it wasn't just your usual "wham/bam/$49.95 Thursday night special" but something kinky and perhaps dangerous) and the fact that Geary doesn't immediately figure out the Corleones killed the prostitute and are blackmailing him. There's some reason he believes it's feasible he's responsible.
He had done it before as far as the sex was concerned. But the point was he had never killed anyone in the times he had done it before. That was one tip-off that this was a set-up.

The other was the mention that Fredo owned the brothel and Al Neri washing his hands in the background. This was evidence that the Corleones were in control of the situation.

And there was the earlier confrontation between Michael and the Senator. Was there any way that Michael was going to let an insult like that go unavenged? Imagine if the prostitute's death was a genuine accident and it hadn't occurred. In that case, Geary would have gotten away with defying and insulting the Corleones.

As for Geary's apparent acceptance of what he's being told, put it down to the lingering effects of the drugs and the realization that the Corleones now own him. He's a broken man. Even if he believed the Corleones killed the girl he's not in a position to argue with them.
Old 04-07-2013, 02:15 PM
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I kinda like that it's ambiguous and uncertain - exactly as it would appear to Geary.
Old 04-07-2013, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
He had done it before as far as the sex was concerned. But the point was he had never killed anyone in the times he had done it before. That was one tip-off that this was a set-up.
The prostitute is handcuffed to the bed, so the implication is that Geary is into bondage and rough stuff. He thinks he might have overdone it this time because he was drunk.

As has been said, the Corleones used what they knew about Geary to set him up. They could have blackmailed him just because they knew he frequented prostitutes, so Michael probably already had that on him at their initial meeting. But he chose to compromise him even more seriously by setting him up for a murder rap.

From the IMDB Godfather FAQ:

Quote:
Who killed the prostitute found in senator Pat Geary's bed?
Al Neri (Richard Bright). As Hagen arrives to talk with Senator Pat Geary (G.D. Spradlin) to explain his situation, Neri appears in the doorway and Hagen beckons with his head for him to go away. This is corroborated on the bonus disc of the newly restored GF DVD/Blu-ray, where a 'Crime Organization Chart' is given explaining all characters and their crimes. Under Neri, it states that he killed the prostitute that was with Senator Pat Geary. It is also confirmed by Coppola himself during the director's commentary track on the DVD. Coppola had previously received much criticism for allegedly 'glorifying the mafia'. On the commentary, he mentions that the scene with the dead prostitute is to remind the audience that members of the Cosa Nostra are as ruthless as they are honorable. It shows that they would not hesitate to have Neri kill an innocent girl just to put pressure on a senator.

Last edited by Colibri; 04-07-2013 at 02:50 PM.
Old 04-07-2013, 07:35 PM
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I always found it interesting that Geary keeps saying, "Why can't I remember?" and pounding his fist on a table, causing ripples in the half-empty glass on the table.

I think by the end of the scene, when Tom says, "All that remains is our friendship," Geary's expression shows that he knows how completely and totally fucked he is.
Old 04-08-2013, 05:55 AM
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Sen. Geary was fucked the instant he interrupted Michael and uttered the line, "Ok let's cut the bullshit, you can have the license..." By doing this he had done two irreparable things:
  • He had asked for way too large a kickback
    and even more importantly
  • He had completely disrespected Michael & his family
It can't be understated that Michael was 100% right when he said, "We're both part of the same hypocrisy". Here's Geary insulting Michael's way of doing things, but then immediately asking for a huge bribe at the same time! I mean, he was a senator from Nevada, so it came as no surprise that he was just as corrupt.

Geary frequented prostitutes, that was just part & parcel of him being a powerful politician from Nevada. From there it was incredibly easy for the Corleones to entrap him via their underworld connections in Vegas. Find out when & where he bangs hookers, go there, slip him a mickey, and brutally murder the hooker. They may have taken photographs while he was unconscious too just for good measure (and to help the hooker to cooperate thinking that's all they intended on doing, blackmailing him with pictures).
Old 04-08-2013, 10:02 AM
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My take is that Micheal knew Geary liked to beat up hookers before the meeting. Geary was trying to show how important he was and let Micheal know he wasn't going to be given the same respect his father was given. The meeting was Geary's attempt to get back power in the relationship and the hooker killing was Micheal's way of punishing Geary and making sure he stayed in Micheal's pocket where he belonged.
Old 04-08-2013, 10:26 AM
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I think that Michael had actually recorded his meeting with Geary-Geary was a Nevada hick who hadn't the slightest bit of intelligence (on how to solicit a bribe). Most smart politicians know that :
-you never ask for money in person (bribes are handled by a 3rd party- a "bagman")
-you never meet face-to-face (the room could be bugged)
-you never speak plainly (it is always best to refer to bribes as "help"or "campaign contributions")
In the words of a several times indicted MA politician: "never write when you can speak, never speak when you can wink, never wink when you can nod".
In politics, discretion is important.
Old 04-08-2013, 04:45 PM
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Geary was compromised the minute he was "for sale".

It was just a matter of time.

Now I have to go home and watch Godfather II for the umpteenth time. You done got me all worked up!
Old 04-08-2013, 09:17 PM
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I look at it as another comparison between how Vito and Michael run the family. Vito kills horses to make friends; Michael kills hookers. Since Geary (in my interpretation) honestly believes he is the guilty party, there is no blackmail involved. That makes Michael's way of doing business a lot more insidious because, as said, all that's left is their friendship.
Old 04-08-2013, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by zbuzz View Post
I look at it as another comparison between how Vito and Michael run the family. Vito kills horses to make friends; Michael kills hookers. Since Geary (in my interpretation) honestly believes he is the guilty party, there is no blackmail involved. That makes Michael's way of doing business a lot more insidious because, as said, all that's left is their friendship.
Assuming Michael knows of the dead hooker. It could be all Tom Hagen's order as Michael was in Cuba at the time (or leastwise not in Nevada).
Old 04-08-2013, 09:53 PM
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Since Geary (in my interpretation) honestly believes he is the guilty party, there is no blackmail involved.
I'm not sure I follow you: why ain't it blackmail if your target honestly believes he's guilty? Heck, wouldn't it be blackmail if your target honestly is guilty?
Old 04-08-2013, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post
Assuming Michael knows of the dead hooker. It could be all Tom Hagen's order as Michael was in Cuba at the time (or leastwise not in Nevada).
Thematically, I think Michael has to know (despite where he is when it happens). I mean, it's Michael's movie, right? We watch it though his lens. It's all a reflection of the fallout from his choices, his hypocrisy, his failure to be the man his father was.
Old 04-08-2013, 11:47 PM
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I'm not sure I follow you: why ain't it blackmail if your target honestly believes he's guilty? Heck, wouldn't it be blackmail if your target honestly is guilty?
Well, because I'd characterize it that they've duped Geary, not blackmailed him. So, Tom doesn't offer to fix the situation with demands, he offers to fix it with friendship; a friendship Geary accepts as earnest (well, I mean, not like they are now all OMGBFF, but you get the idea).
Old 04-09-2013, 01:30 AM
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Well, because I'd characterize it that they've duped Geary, not blackmailed him. So, Tom doesn't offer to fix the situation with demands, he offers to fix it with friendship; a friendship Geary accepts as earnest (well, I mean, not like they are now all OMGBFF, but you get the idea).
No, they haven't 'duped him'. They haven't pulled the wool over his eyes, they straight up blackmailed him (with a great deal of help from Geary's own corruptness). And the problem with Geary's attitude being that Michael's the bad guy so it's ok to fleece him, like Michael said how is he any better? Was Geary going to give that money to charity to try and counter the mafia's bad with his good? Hell no! He was just going to line his pockets with it and live a more extravagant lifestyle. Absolutely no different than what Michael was doing. Worse actually, because Geary is presenting a completely false image of being a public servant to constituents, when in fact he's nothing but a criminal.

And Tom doesn't present Geary with any other 'options' because they only want one thing from him, to be in their pocket. And they're 100% guaranteed to get it because Geary has no other options and they both know it.
Old 04-09-2013, 05:33 AM
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No, they haven't 'duped him'. They haven't pulled the wool over his eyes, they straight up blackmailed him (with a great deal of help from Geary's own corruptness)
Geary conveys zero indication (as I recall) to the audience that he thinks the Corleones are behind the murder. No side glances, nothing he says. In fact, there's that part where he tries to clean the blood off her. That's the action of a guilty person, or at least a person who thinks he's guilty. He's been duped into thinking he's killed a person.

And then in walks Tom with his calm and understanding tone and he practically absolves Geary of any sin. He doesn't have to threaten or even cajole Geary, because he's giving him exactly what he wants. He's acting like a friend (again, friend being relative).

They set him up, yes, and he ends up in their pocket, yes, but in between that, through the duped eyes of Geary, the family comes to his rescue.
Old 04-09-2013, 08:43 AM
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Something that confused me a bit: Later, when Michael is forced to testify before a Committee that includes Geary, Geary does little to help and just leaves for another meeting. Am I missing something?
Old 04-09-2013, 09:21 AM
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Geary conveys zero indication (as I recall) to the audience that he thinks the Corleones are behind the murder. No side glances, nothing he says. In fact, there's that part where he tries to clean the blood off her. That's the action of a guilty person, or at least a person who thinks he's guilty. He's been duped into thinking he's killed a person.

And then in walks Tom with his calm and understanding tone and he practically absolves Geary of any sin. He doesn't have to threaten or even cajole Geary, because he's giving him exactly what he wants. He's acting like a friend (again, friend being relative).

They set him up, yes, and he ends up in their pocket, yes, but in between that, through the duped eyes of Geary, the family comes to his rescue.
Eh, I'd just chalk that up to the dramatic pacing of the scene. Geary was in total shock at the horrific reality of the situation, and while he at first couldn't remember what happened, once he calmed down I think it would have been pretty obvious to him who killed her.

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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Something that confused me a bit: Later, when Michael is forced to testify before a Committee that includes Geary, Geary does little to help and just leaves for another meeting. Am I missing something?
He does make that little soapbox speech about Italian-Americans, but then he says something about having to leave. But I assume if he was a member of the Senate committee investigating Michael he would still ultimately get a vote, and he'd vote for acquittal.
Old 04-09-2013, 10:22 AM
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I have sometimes thought that Geary's final look at Tom, after the "All that's left is our friendship" statement, indicates the beginning of a realization that not only is he totally screwed, but that the Corleones were the ones who killed the prostitute. I'd bet that as time passes, he may be certain of that, but with no proof. Also, like the movie producer, he realizes that they could have just as easily killed him.
Old 04-09-2013, 01:04 PM
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Something that confused me a bit: Later, when Michael is forced to testify before a Committee that includes Geary, Geary does little to help and just leaves for another meeting. Am I missing something?
Geary can do nothing publicly except that speech, which is a bit too much. What he does privately is spy for the Corleones, letting them know who the government's secret witness is: Frankie Pantangelli. That knowledge allows Michael to arrange to have Dominic Pantangelli immediately flown in from Italy to show Frankie when he is testifying that Michael can get to anyone, anywhere with great ease. It may have also caused Frankie to realize that had Michael tried to have him killed, he would have been dead, and that Roth never intended the hit on Frankie to be fully successful. However, Frankie wasn't likely that smart. He probably just knew his family was in grave danger.
Old 04-09-2013, 03:30 PM
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My take is that Micheal knew Geary liked to beat up hookers before the meeting. Geary was trying to show how important he was and let Micheal know he wasn't going to be given the same respect his father was given. The meeting was Geary's attempt to get back power in the relationship and the hooker killing was Micheal's way of punishing Geary and making sure he stayed in Micheal's pocket where he belonged.
This is my take as well. Michael does a little research into the senator and finds out he likes S&M with hookers. Micheal files that fact away and when the senator pisses Michael off by not being reasonable, Michael decides to use the information to set up the senator the next time he visits one of Michael's brothels. I assumed they drugged geary and murdered the hooker. Once you are a senator in a mob brothel with a dead prostitute, you really aren't in a position to cop an attitude with Michael.

Last edited by madmonk28; 04-09-2013 at 03:31 PM.
Old 04-09-2013, 07:27 PM
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That was the only foul murder Michael (more correctly, Al Neri) committed.
Old 04-09-2013, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by the_diego View Post
That was the only foul murder Michael (more correctly, Al Neri) committed.
Unless you count all the others.
Old 04-10-2013, 12:08 AM
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Geary can do nothing publicly except that speech, which is a bit too much. What he does privately is spy for the Corleones, letting them know who the government's secret witness is: Frankie Pantangelli. That knowledge allows Michael to arrange to have Dominic Pantangelli immediately flown in from Italy to show Frankie when he is testifying that Michael can get to anyone, anywhere with great ease. It may have also caused Frankie to realize that had Michael tried to have him killed, he would have been dead, and that Roth never intended the hit on Frankie to be fully successful. However, Frankie wasn't likely that smart. He probably just knew his family was in grave danger.
There was a thread about this a while ago, but I still maintain that Michael bringing Pantangeli's brother into the courtroom was NOT a threat that if he testified he'd have his brother killed. Rather, it shamed him into realizing that he was about to commit an infamnia, an intolerable act (being a rat). The look on his brother's face shows this, he's not afraid for his life, he looks at his brother with 'old-world' incredulity that he's even considering testifying. In an earlier scene when Pantengili's talking to the FBI guys guarding him he's already expressing his regret at the choice he's had to make. Seeing his brother convinced him to say screw the G-men and keep his family's honor instead.
Old 04-10-2013, 01:38 AM
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It's both a threat and a shaming. Frankie knows that Michael has to be sure. And if he was quick enough, he would have figured that Michael didn't put out the hit on him.
Old 04-10-2013, 09:47 AM
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That was the only foul murder Michael (more correctly, Al Neri) committed.
I think Fredo's murder was the worst. His own brother, and the only one who supported him when he joined the marines during WWII.
Old 04-10-2013, 10:00 AM
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There was a thread about this a while ago, but I still maintain that Michael bringing Pantangeli's brother into the courtroom was NOT a threat that if he testified he'd have his brother killed. Rather, it shamed him into realizing that he was about to commit an infamnia, an intolerable act (being a rat). The look on his brother's face shows this, he's not afraid for his life, he looks at his brother with 'old-world' incredulity that he's even considering testifying. In an earlier scene when Pantengili's talking to the FBI guys guarding him he's already expressing his regret at the choice he's had to make. Seeing his brother convinced him to say screw the G-men and keep his family's honor instead.
Good point-is there any evidence that any members of either the Kefauver or McClellan Committees (in the US Senate), which investigated organized crime, ever had compromised investigations through blackmail (like the fictitious Sen. Geary)?
Old 04-10-2013, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
There was a thread about this a while ago, but I still maintain that Michael bringing Pantangeli's brother into the courtroom was NOT a threat that if he testified he'd have his brother killed. Rather, it shamed him into realizing that he was about to commit an infamnia, an intolerable act (being a rat). The look on his brother's face shows this, he's not afraid for his life, he looks at his brother with 'old-world' incredulity that he's even considering testifying. In an earlier scene when Pantengili's talking to the FBI guys guarding him he's already expressing his regret at the choice he's had to make. Seeing his brother convinced him to say screw the G-men and keep his family's honor instead.
The movie would have been so much more epic if Richard Castellano and F.F. Coppola could have worked something out, because Puzo/Coppola's original backstory involved a Clemenza angle. When the Pentangeli role was still Clemenza, the revelation was that Clemenza had an illegitimate family he'd sent to Sicily at some point to live under his brother's protection, and the brother's presence was a threat to that family if he sang (the brother being hardball mafioso).
Old 04-11-2013, 01:03 AM
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Yeah, I heard the story that Pantangeli was supposed to be Clemenza but the actor asked for too much money to do the sequel (so they just killed him off). Personally I think it was fortuitous, I just don't think that the guy who played Clemenza had the acting chops to have pulled off that role. Pantangeli had a lot of subtlety to his character, and Richard Castellano just seemed to lack that. He was just a great stereotypical 'goomba'!
Old 04-11-2013, 10:08 AM
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I think Fredo's murder was the worst. His own brother, and the only one who supported him when he joined the marines during WWII.
You are right-poor Fredo-saying his prayers when Michael has a bullet fired into his head-that was the most cold blooded murder in the movie. Was that necessary? He could have set Fredo up in a position where he would be harmless...but Michael was no longer capable of human emotion. The glance to Al Neri at the mother's wake sealed Fredo's doom.
I would have high tailed it out of Nevada at that point.
Old 04-11-2013, 02:49 PM
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It's both a threat and a shaming. Frankie knows that Michael has to be sure. And if he was quick enough, he would have figured that Michael didn't put out the hit on him.
Also, when Tom was talking to Frank through the chain link fence, trying to convince Frank to kill himself, he mentioned that Roman soldiers who had dishonored themselves could throw themselves on their swords to regain honor and ensure that their families would be safe. That seems to me to be a promise that if he does that, there will not be any reprisals against Frank's family.
Old 04-11-2013, 08:18 PM
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You are right-poor Fredo-saying his prayers when Michael has a bullet fired into his head-that was the most cold blooded murder in the movie. Was that necessary? He could have set Fredo up in a position where he would be harmless...but Michael was no longer capable of human emotion. The glance to Al Neri at the mother's wake sealed Fredo's doom.
I would have high tailed it out of Nevada at that point.
Yes, but -- Fredo nearly had both Michael AND Kay killed. He was so stupid he was dangerous. Even his father knew it.
Old 04-11-2013, 09:28 PM
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Also, when Tom was talking to Frank through the chain link fence, trying to convince Frank to kill himself, he mentioned that Roman soldiers who had dishonored themselves could throw themselves on their swords to regain honor and ensure that their families would be safe. That seems to me to be a promise that if he does that, there will not be any reprisals against Frank's family.
They were both on the same side of the fence. Yeah, that's pretty self-explanatory. And again, I don't think it referred to Pantangeli's actual family, as in his brother, I think it just referred to his crime 'family' and his reputation in general. He did have every reason to believe that it was Michael who tried to have him killed, so his 'indiscretions' after that (him joining witness protection etc.) could be forgiven too...
Old 04-12-2013, 11:24 AM
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Yes, but -- Fredo nearly had both Michael AND Kay killed. He was so stupid he was dangerous. Even his father knew it.
And Fredo was smart enough/stupid enough/crazy enough to withhold information from Michael until the last minute. That's when Fredo tells Michael that the Senator who heads the committee against Michael has a Jewish lawyer in Hyman Roth's pocket. Fredo could had told Michael before the 11th hour, if he wanted to actually help Michael.

That's a pretty funny exchange right there. The Italian Mafia owns senators. The Jewish Mafia owns Congressional Committees. You'd think Francis Ford Coppola would worry about making an implication like that, if you thought the Jews really did run Hollywood.
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