Ogres are like onions...

Sunday, 25 July 2010

This Blog is called 'So Many Nickels and Dimes' because ...

It was watching The Godfather (Coppola, 1972) as a child that I suddenly realised that a film was more than just a story in visual form. The quotation is from the scene where 'The Turk' asks Don Corleone for money as he wishes to expand his drug-dealing and needs the power and influence that Don Corleone has over the police and local politcians that he carries around in his pockets 'like so many nickels and dimes.'

There are two main reasons why this particular quotation has stuck in my mind: firstly it's such a powerful simile. I love the image of lots of tiny policemen and senators being knocked around carelessly in the deep pockets of an Italian wool overcoat, like Borrowers or Minpins that the Don might take out and trade for a coke.

Secondly, in the narrative of the film this is the turning point. It is because of the refusal of Don Corleone to engage with drug-dealing that The Turk makes a play for his position, resulting in Sonny's death and the shooting of DC himself. Coppola directs the scene with the same steady pace as the opening scene of film (inside the house during Connie's wedding), yet the camera angles belie the high-key lighting to give the scene its sense of unease, so that even a kid with no understanding of politics could pick up that the Meeting Did Not Go Well.

Although as an adult I see the melodrama of this text, I still love its attempt to do Greek tragedy, where Michael is destined to become his father and push away the moral centre that is Kay. And, responding to the film as a child, I think there is an appeal of a culture that has clearly defined rules (albeit abhorrently violent ones) and loyalties; there is something quite logcial about that in a Lord of the Flies-kind-of-way.

I'm intending for this blog to become an outlet for my ideas/reactions to film (and some TV), and will eventually include teaching resources for Film and Media GCSE and A Level. I hope that you find something interesting/useful here.


  1. I, for one, am looking forward to your ideas/reactions to films. Perhaps you could start with a reading of The Iron Giant. I don't know if you've seen that one.

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