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Old 02-22-2007, 09:30 PM #1
Mr. Ryan Mr. Ryan is offline
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Default Was "The Godfather" based on Frank Sinatra?

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Left to right: Paul Castellano, Gregory DePalma, Sinatra, Tommy Marson, Carlo Gambino, Aladena Fratianno, Salvatore Spatola, Seated: Joseph Gambino, Richard Fusco

The character of Johnny Fontane could be viewed as a symbolic representation of the intergenerational icon known as Frank Sinatra. In the short time that Fontane appeared in the first movie, quite a few extreme parallels between him and Sinatra were made.

In the book Johnny Fontane's story unfolds further, culminating in him winning an Oscar for his role in the Woltz production, but the film does not include this scene or any other scenes with Fontane after Connie's wedding. From this drastic change from book to film, and the elimination of any further information about Fontane's character, several possible conclusions can be drawn.

Sinatra obviously had friends, or at least acquaintances in the Mafia, as is obvious from the picture above. It is possible that Sinatra, while associated with the Mafia, did not want his public image to be hurt by his criminal ties. And because he had substantial power in Hollywood by the time the film was made (1972), he could have influenced the minimal usage of Fontane's character because of its similarity to Sinatra himself. This way Sinatra can downplay, and almost deny his connections that were so influential for Fontane.

However, it is also possible that the similarities between Sinatra and Fontane are merely bizarre flukes. Perhaps the movie did not want to lose its central focus on the life and times of the Corleone Family in exchange for more information on a pop singer.

While it has never been proven that criminal activity had anything to do with Sinatra's comeback into in the entertainment industry, one cannot doubt it as a possibility. For one, Sinatra had many known ties with infamous mobsters across the globe and the FBI conducted various investigations on him until his death in 1998. In fact, the FBI had a file of 1275 pages on Sinatra. (Baud). Needless to say, Fontane and Sinatra have quite a lot in common. Were their many commonalities just a series of extremely strange coincidences, or was Puzo's inclusion of Johnny Fontane into The Godfather a planned exposŤ of 'the real Sinatra' to a world that has expressed an unconditional love for him?

Mario Puzo opened the novel The Godfather with a quote from Balzac that read, "Behind every great fortune there is a crime." Those eight words pack quite a punch after thinking about Sinatra's affluence. Did Puzo set out to be a muckraker and thus expose the literate masses (and eventual film-viewing public) to the tremendous power of the crime underworld with the writing of this novel? Puzo never said that The Godfather was in fact a true story, in fact he was committed to his story that he had no help from members of the mafia, and that all the information in the book was purely fictional. (Goldberg) However, the story is remarkably realistic, even according to modern, self-proclaimed mobsters like Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:45 PM #2
TomRiddle TomRiddle is offline
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The Godfather was a novel by Mario Puzo, but Frank Sinatra was somehow involved with the Mafia.

Did you guys play TheMafiaBoss.com ? its quite entertaining.
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:47 PM #3
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In the thread title you make it sound as if the whole story is based on that. But "The Godfather" is a story about 1) family relations, 2) early 20th C. Immigration and 3) the Italian-American crime underworld. The Sinatra-Fontaine connection is just an intriguing subplot.
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:47 PM #4
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No whats the game about, i have the god father game for xbox, and im recently reading the book, both great.
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:54 PM #5
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Originally Posted by kayjay View Post
In the thread title you make it sound as if the whole story is based on that. But "The Godfather" is a story about 1) family relations, 2) early 20th C. Immigration and 3) the Italian-American crime underworld. The Sinatra-Fontaine connection is just an intriguing subplot.
For as rich as you are, it's much better by far,
To be young at heart.
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:55 PM #6
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Originally Posted by Pac_man=God View Post
No whats the game about, i have the god father game for xbox, and im recently reading the book, both great.
its a free web-based game, no downloading, just register, read the rules and your venturing the mafialand.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:01 PM #7
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Originally Posted by TomRiddle View Post
its a free web-based game, no downloading, just register, read the rules and your venturing the mafialand.
You can do the same by living in Nutley, NJ.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:04 PM #8
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for the real thing. lol.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:38 PM #9
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Yes Johnny Fontaine is based on Sinatra. Mario Puzos novel has a few characters based on real life mobsters.

Vito Corleone is said to be based on Frank Costello. Marlon Brando impersonated his husky voice after seeing him testify in front of the Supreme court on TV.

And an nteresting tidbit as well...Tom Hagen is based on real life mobster Frank DeSimone, who was a lawyer turned mobster. And Frank DeSimone is the uncle of Tommy DeSimone who is the character played by Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:43 PM #10
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Originally Posted by Scrappy Diggs View Post
Yes Johnny Fontaine is based on Sinatra. Mario Puzos novel has a few characters based on real life mobsters.

Vito Corleone is said to be based on Frank Costello. Marlon Brando impersonated his husky voice after seeing him testify in front of the Supreme court on TV.

And an nteresting tidbit as well...Tom Hagen is based on real life mobster Frank DeSimone, who was a lawyer turned mobster. And Frank DeSimone is the uncle of Tommy DeSimone who is the character played by Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.
And Roth is based on a real life character as well. Actually in one of the scenes cut from the regular version of Godfather II the young Vito (De Niro) discovers Roth on the street, asks him who his hero is and the guy answers with the name of a Jewish mobster (the one alleged to have fixed the 1917 World Series) and that's how Roth gets his name.

They cut too many of those DeNiro scenes from the Godfather II, including the extra revenge murders in Sicily.
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