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The Offer

Behind the scenes, making The Godfather was as dramatic as Mario Puzo's classic tale.

For producer Albert S. Ruddy, making The Godfather was as dramatic as the story penned by writer Mario Puzo.

There were standover tactics, a spray of bullets and dead animals in beds -all before a frame of the legendary film had ever been shot.

Paramount+ drama The Offer is based on Ruddy’s own experiences from novel to box office glory. Miles Teller plays the Jewish-American programmer at Rand who has ambitions of movie-making and gets his big shot at Paramount Pictures under studio boss Bob Evans (Matthew Goode).

Along the way he will chug through lesser-known projects and co-create Hogan’s Heroes (who knew?) before his chance with Mario Puzo’s (Patrick Gallo) book. The novel proved to be a best-seller and Puzo’s salvation from his debts, but New York’s Italian community considered him a ‘traitor’ for the revelations in his fiction. Frank Sinatra (Frank John Hughes) was also convinced he was the basis of a character and remained furious.

Rising mobster, Joe Colombo (Giovanni Ribisi) acting though the Italian American Civil Rights League, was one of several working to stop Hollywood from making the movie, including plans to shoot in New York.

But assistant Bettye McCartt (Juno Temple) helped Ruddy to secure Francis Ford Coppola (Dan Fogler) to direct and co-write the epic, who in turn wanted the likes of Marlon Brando (Justin Chambers) and Al Pacino (Anthony Ippolito) for his story.

Above all else, the creatives were convinced The Godfather was about family, a metaphor on American capitalism, and the price that sons will pay for the sins of their fathers.

Paramount’s own tale of a classic is surely lengthy, clocking in at an unecessary 10 episodes. That leaves a lot to explore, which is both good and bad news.

You get plenty of old Hollywood to celebrate, from pick-the-star impersonations (Ann-Margret, Ali McGraw, Vic Damone) to classic locations on the Paramount lot and swingin’ LA pool parties.

But the pacing is uneven and some scenes feel superfluous. In an age of content overload, and a time-poor audience, what might have been distilled into a ripping feature film?

None of this detracts from some fine performances, with Miles Teller anchoring this story and Matthew Goode perfectly flashy as the studio boss. Juno Temple, and Nora Arnezeder as Ruddy’s girlfriend Francoise Glaze, are both excellent and welcome in a male-dominated ensemble.

Giovanni Ribisi’s menace belies his light mobster tone, whilst Dan Fogler provides the necessary passion to bring the story to screen.

There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes trivia and movie-making disputes to tickle fans… you’ll love Ruddy’s one sentence pitch to Gulf + Western boss Charles Bluhdorn on why rights to the movie should not be sold to Jack Warner at Warner Bros.

There’s a flurry of ’70s inspired dramas upon us at the moment, and if you have room The Offer may be one you can’t refuse.

The Offer is now screening on Paramount+.

One Response

  1. Yes agree with the pacing its to slow but also I ;have seen on extras the godfather dvd the real people talk about how this all came about so its seems like a bit of a waste of time same with the staircase and with tiger king its better to watch the doco with the real people

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