Another Christmas Eve is upon us. Thus I must conclude my annual homage to movies which aren’t necessarily Christmas films, but which could, nonetheless, be considered a bit Christmas(ish). As of this post, I have entered 120 films into this most prestigious ‘Hall of Fame’ and I’ve already got another 24 lined up for next year (and I’m not far away from compiling a list for 2023 either) so despite being, statistically, the least popular feature on my blog, I’m going to continue to run with this folly for as long as I can continue scraping the barrel of mediocre cinema.
But I am ending this year on a high. A very high high. Arguabley one of the greatest movies ever made.
Indeed it seems preposterous to claim to be any kind of a cinephile and not to have seen the Godfather trilogy. But, until recently, I found myself in that very club. Of course I’d always meant to watch Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, but somehow, I’d never quite managed it. So some good has finally come of my travails to document every movie ever made with a tenuous link to Christmas in the form of an annual blog-based advent calendar.
Because I finally got around to watching the original – 1972’s The Godfather.
I was genuinely a little afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the hype, that the near three hour running time would be quite hard-going, that, dare I say it, I would get a little bored.
Fortunately none of those things happened.
It completely lived up to its reputation.
I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the brilliance of The Godfather and it is with some regret that I reflect on the fact that I took so long to watch it. I expect I’ll make up for that by watching it many more times in the future. I’ve sat through it twice this year already, which is no small feat given its considerable running time and the fact that (thanks to Little Proclaims) I rarely have time to watch films anymore.
Marlon Brando won the Academy Award for best actor but all the leads are on top form here, including a young Al Pacino in arguably the role that made him.
But The Godfather is more than the sum of its parts. It is visually stunning, epic in narrative and clearly the forerunner for many subsequent movies of the genre – movies that I have watched and loved over the years, making my failure to watch the most iconic and influential of them all rather inexplicable.
Indeed so great is The Godfather that it must have seemed certain that a sequel could only ever tarnish its legacy. But then The Godfather Part II happened. And no legacies were tarnished at all. If anything they were enhanced.
But the sequel is also a bit Christmas(ish) so I’m quietly confident it will have it’s own place in The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films in years to come. Which will surely be the greatest accolade it will ever gain.
Score for Christmasishness
I wasn’t surprised to find that there was a Christmas scene or two in The Godfather; I assumed it was bound to take in at least one festive gathering. What I didn’t quite account for was just how much of the substantial running time is set at Christmas, but almost a third of the movie is. Not only that but arguably some of the most significant plot and character developments happen over the Christmas period. So not only is The Godfather a truly brilliant movie, but it’s also quite a Christmas(ish) one.