Monday, 19 September 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1974: Michael V. Gazzo in The Godfather Part II

Michael V. Gazzo received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Frank Pentangeli in The Godfather Part II.

Frank Pentangeli is basically an old school member of the mob, who controls the old Corleone territory in New York. Gazzo in his early moments effectively establishes Pentangeli as really an old style mobster, who believes very much in his Italian heritage as well as his pride. Gazzo needs not force the performance at all, and just simply is this type of character from the moment he is on screen.

In terms of the overall structure of the film Pentangeli acts as basically a confused pawn in the whole struggle between Michael, and Hyman Roth. Gazzo effectively portrays this confusion, as well as simply showing Pentangeli as a man who acts as he needs to, and as the circumstance requires it. Gazzo though always also suggests the long history of Pentangeli in the crime world, a history that developed this particularly attitude he has gained.

There is not a great deal of Gazzo in the film,and I can't quite say he makes a huge impact on the film, but he most certainly does add to it. Gazzo simply becomes another fine aspect to the array of characters in the film, he is not the most interesting, or emotionally powerful character, but he does indeed find his place as he should in the film. It is a fairly interesting portrait of a man of very particular values, and a very particular history as well, not an amazing performance but a good one.


Fritz said...

So, I agree with your thoughts on the Godfather-guys!

mister muleboy said...

I was a fan of Gazzo's long before I knew he was an actor, or put the name to the face I'd grown to know.

Early in my career as an actor, I performed a role as a returning veteran who finds himself with a habit. A monkey. A jones. Addicted to horse.

The play wasn't literature, but it was a series of open, searing wounds: how a good guy could go wrong, how an underappreciated son could be ignored in favour of his junkie older brother, how a wife could long for her husband, who is dead [inside] and not available.

You know, stuff like that.

I always found it a particularly moving play.

Playwright: Michael V. Gazzo.

No guinea hood he. . . .

Sage Slowdive said...

Have to disagree with ya here - I think he is entirely weak and not that good here.

Edward L. said...

I like your review, but I think it slightly underrates Gazzo's performance and Frankie's position in the narrative. I think that, after Fredo, Frankie is the most tragic character. He is, as you say, a pawn, and everything he tries to do right goes wrong for him. The stunt the Corleone's pull on him at the Senate hearing is ruthless, and in effect ruins his life. And I think Gazzo is very touching indeed: he plays Frankie as a warm-hearted man who unfortunately does not have a strong enough strategy for survival. He learns the power of the Corleones the hard way. I think Gazzo's terrific and probably my choice in this category (of the nominees - I think it's a shame that John Cazale in this film and John Huston in Chinatown weren't nominated).

Gustavo said...

By far the most colorful performance in the film; perhaps not the best overall (Cazale), but the most affecting one out of the nominees. Underrated.