This page is an abstract from our full analysis of The Godfather, one of the most appreciated movies ever and a masterwork of scriptwriting.
Sequence 15. Moving + Michael vs. Kay. 162-166
Cut to: a moving truck with men busy moving pieces of furniture.
The men are in the process of conducting the move to Las Vegas that Michael spoke about.
Connie gets out of a car, panicked, in tears, and enters Michael‘s office. She insults him: „Michael, you lousy bastard, you killed my husband!“
Kay joins them and tries to calm Connie down. Connie continues: „All the time he knew he was gonna kill‘im… Wanna know how many men he had killed with Carlo? Read the papers… that‘s your husband!“
Act I and catalyst of a new plot: Michael vs. Kay. Hero: Michael, goal: convince Kay that he didn‘t kill Carlo (that he‘s not a monster), Antagonist: Kay, goal of the Antagonist: get to know the truth, Helper of the Antagonist: Connie.
Side-note: Connie just informed us that Kay and Michael are now married, a fact not disclosed before. This important fact has been considered implicit since Michael had been trying to convince Kay to marry him.
Michael takes Connie into his arms, but she is still furious. He asks her to leave.
Beginning of the Act II.
Kay stays. She is still clearly in doubt. Michael turns away, but Kay seems upset, she needs to know,and so she asks him: „Is it true?“ Michael refuses to answer her. He becomes angry and tries to stop her interrogation. He succeeds. A long, tense silence follows.
This dramatic moment leads us to remember the promise Michael made to Kay after they met again about the murders „being over“. Since then, we have witnessed the murders of: Barzini (and his bodyguard and driver), Tattaglia (and his unfortunate female companion), Strachi, Don Cuneo, Moe Greene, Tessio (implicit) and Carlo. Thus far there have already been 10 murders which Michael has initiated…
Characterization. Michael‘s reaction is an angry one. This is one of the first times he loses composure.
Kay continues to insist. Michael finally tells her: „Alright, this time…this one time I‘ll let you ask me about my affairs“.
This line allows us to consider the arch of Michael‘s character. He has completely changed his personal position. At the beginning of the story it pleased him to be different from his family, to remain separate from them. Now that he is has assumed power, it is the contrary. His character undergoes a complete transformation.
When Kay asks again whether the murder accusations are true or not, he confidently answers: „No.“ For once, she seems to accept his answer. The two embrace.
Act III, crisis and climax.
We know with certainty that Michael is not telling the truth in an effort to save his marriage. In a way, we admire his ability to quickly regain his composure after his moment of anger. Thematically, we remember the self-control that was one of the sources of his father‘s charisma, a self-control that Sonny lacked.
Information effect, and very strong dramatic irony, that isolates Kay from our point of view: we know more than her.
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