The Godfather is one of America's most perfect films, all due to the brilliance of Francis Coppola. Coppola was no newcomer to Hollywood, having written scripts for The Rain People, Patton, and directed a small number of films including, get this, Finian's Rainbow. However, Coppola hadn't really had his big chance, yet, and knew it.
With a lot of misgiving, Paramount called on Coppola... after trying to court other more experienced directors. Besides, Coppola was an experienced screenwriter, so he could work with Mario Puzo to come up with a final script. Despite that, several other directors were asked to drop by and have a look at the production in case Coppola had to be replaced. How's that for a confidence builder?
The story has been told of Coppola cringing in the stall of a restroom while he heard a couple of experienced crew people talking about how pathetic he was. Instead of pathetic, Coppola crafted a movie that defined our vision of the criminal underworld called "The Mafia."
It's also said that a lot of present-day gangsters started wearing suits and ties after seeing the dapper style of the post-WWII mobsters. Coppola had created a movie so powerful that reality started to bend toward the fictional screenplay. All this on a picture that was supposed to be basically a "B" movie along the lines of The Valachi Papers.
By the end of the film, the audience is torn, appalled by the violence but somehow sympathetic to so many of the characters. Coppola's genius is to bring us all into "the family" with domestic strife, dinner at the family table, crying kids, and characters we secretly identify with.
The Godfather, along with The Godfather II – the world's most well-cast sequel – form an indelible picture of the post-war organized crime scene. So ingrained are we to Italian-Americans as gangsters that without the Little Italy accent, a criminal would have to show us his rap-sheet to prove he was a bad guy. For better or for worse, this image is going to plague Italian Americans for a long time to come.
To tell a story, you have to really know it, to be immersed in it. With his Italian-American background, those family scenes are right out of Coppola's own past. With that fact in mind, it's easier to think of The Godfather as not just another gangster movie, it's your own personal invitation to join the Corleone family. And that's an offer you may not be able to refuse.
The point is, he's right. As a long time film electrician, best boy, and gaffer, I always told my guys that we were responsible for the one invisible thing that could kill anyone, anywhere. Our sacred duty is to do our work safely and reliably first, then to meet the aesthetic needs of the shot.
I'm afraid that thanks to a certain ex-president and his crowd, the spiritual home of the Movie Biz, an entire industry is battling escalating losses. It is our duty to be the best example of disciplined professionals to protect ourselves, our crewmates, and our industry.
As we've all seen, sometimes a valid rant becomes a self-perpetuating diatribe leaving everyone in a 5-mile radius glad THEY aren't the target of the verbal thrashing. Should he have had his say and backed off, sure. But this is a guy who does his own stunts to extremes. He does his part 200%, so expecting 100% is a compromise.
I've seen enough prima donnas rave about stuff that only affected them like, "I told you I wanted 6 phones in my trailer, goddamnit!" (real rant) and I don't care if we're just running lines, I want the crew OUT-OF-MY-EYELINE!" (another real one). Note that Cruise's rant talks about the industry, people in the industry out of work, and the possible end of the movie industry as we know it. I didn't once hear him say HE didn't want to get sick, etc. That's kind of telling... all in all, I'd like to see everyone think a little about how their actions affect others.
In solidarity, Don Cely
Good Lord... some of these are the dumbest ideas I've ever heard... shoulder mount? Mount it upside down? Wooden jib arm... with the lightweight tripods used these days? Extend a leg for a tracking shot?
I can think of about a dozen ways easier to do most of the rigs mentioned here. And you missed the best one! Mount your camera securely to the head and loosen the pan and tilt knobs fully. The rest can be done with the legs set at any length, but the best is collapse one as fully as possible, the next halfway, and the last, fully extended.
Now, from an elevated location, preferably a cliff, tall structure away from people below, or a building if you must. Start the camera while hand holding the tripod. Now, throw the whole rig off the cliff in a way to make the whole thing spin.
Let me know the results!