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Sat Mar 19, 2022, 10:01 AM

Frank Sinatra hated 'The Godfather' and told Mario Puzo to 'choke'

"The Godfather" holds a revered position in film history with the Corleone crime family saga – starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan – perched at No. 2 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest American Films of All Time.

However, the 50th anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 mob masterpiece has resurrected the negative opinion of one influential critic: Frank Sinatra.

The Chairman of the Board was not a fan of "The Godfather," an opinion Sinatra made abundantly clear as Mario Puzo's 1969 novel was being adapted for film. In a legendary blowup at Hollywood eatery Chasen's, Sinatra snarled, "Choke. Go ahead and choke" at Puzo, who was taking a meal break from writing the film's screenplay.

The infamous confrontation sparked the imagination of Michael Tolkin, creator of "The Offer," a new Paramount+ series (premiering April 28) about the making of "The Godfather," which features a re-creation of the fracas.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/movies/2022/03/18/godfather-50th-anniversary-frank-sinatra-famous-fight-mario-puzo/6997604001/

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Reply Frank Sinatra hated 'The Godfather' and told Mario Puzo to 'choke' (Original post)
Jilly_in_VA Mar 2022 OP
hlthe2b Mar 2022 #1
empedocles Mar 2022 #4
ShazamIam Mar 2022 #2
empedocles Mar 2022 #5
ShazamIam Mar 2022 #7
empedocles Mar 2022 #3
Casady1 Mar 2022 #6
empedocles Mar 2022 #11
Casady1 Mar 2022 #20
Srkdqltr Mar 2022 #8
Jilly_in_VA Mar 2022 #9
underpants Mar 2022 #16
Auggie Mar 2022 #10
underpants Mar 2022 #12
rsdsharp Mar 2022 #14
underpants Mar 2022 #17
Auggie Mar 2022 #15
Casady1 Mar 2022 #21
Auggie Mar 2022 #22
Casady1 Mar 2022 #23
Chainfire Mar 2022 #13
Buckeye_Democrat Mar 2022 #18
ificandream Mar 2022 #19

Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 10:11 AM

1. I can understand why he would have been sensitive...

both on the superficial level as a person of Italian descent and obviously given his close "relationships" with mobsters at points during his life. The impact of the movies in reinforcing certain stereotypes was probably predictable to him.

That said, I think the Godfather trio were exceptional films, but ones I don't feel the need to rewatch very often.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 10:29 AM

4. I can always watch Brando segments when I come across them.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 10:16 AM

2. Sinatra sided with the Italians who considered it derogatory.

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Response to ShazamIam (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 10:31 AM

5. Perhaps Sinatra did not like a widely read and viewed version of Sinatra being

'over-the hill'.

There is an old film clip somewhere of Frank singing with Elvis - a variety tv show I think. Sinatra had to regret that appearance.

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Response to empedocles (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 10:42 AM

7. Yes, I agree, probably the real reason Sinatra hated the reference to his

career revival with that movie, From Here to Eternity.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 10:27 AM

3. A report I remember from years back, was that Sinatra was told that Puzo was dining in

the same restaurant. Sinatra had a fit, and threw his pasta and sauce plate hard against the restaurant wall.

[Seemed to fit Sinatra's arrogant, offstage character]

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Response to empedocles (Reply #3)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 10:40 AM

6. At one point

early in his career my mom loved Sinatra( 1940"s). She had a professional voice and took lessons for years in her youth. She would tell me all the time that Sinatra never practiced. My mom sang scales all the time.

Then in the 1980's he was playing blackjack in a New Jersey casino and called the dealer a "chink". My mom flipped out and hated him from that point on. He was a total asshole.

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Response to Casady1 (Reply #6)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 11:17 AM

11. I have a cousin, other cousins call him 'Frank' because of the physical resemblance - and the

swaggeer.

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Response to empedocles (Reply #11)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 02:51 PM

20. except he is a dick.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 10:46 AM

8. It was derogatory to Italian people, most of whom are hard working

Folks. Sure some thought it made Italians look glamorous and dangerous and powerful. Most knew that it was illegal and hurtful to anyone involved.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 11:06 AM

9. I am not, was not

a Sinatra fan. Ever. Just could not stand the guy. OTOH, I love The Godfather saga and watch the whole thing every few years, maybe 5 to 7 years. it's one of those things I will devote a weekend to. It's not so much the story as the acting. I find new things in it every time. It's like re-reading a favorite book.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Reply #9)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 12:40 PM

16. We've been meaning to watch that with our daughter.

She’s never seen it.

I really looking forward to the movie about it. The studio wanted Caan to be Michael (he was a huge box office draw then) but Puzo demanded it be Pacino. Pacino was a stage actor and had no big draw. Other than Brando, the main characters(Pacino, Caan, Duval, and I think Cazale each got $30K for a 6 week shoot and that’s all The Godfather money they’ve ever seen. Caan said in an interview “the rest is Mario’s money”.

Every movie John Cazale was I. Was nominated for Best Picture. All 5 of them.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 11:17 AM

10. A young Sinatra endured a lot of beatings in Hoboken because of his heritage

It was touchy subject for him.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #10)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 11:55 AM

12. I always took the Johnny Fontaine character to be referential to Sinatra

There’s his heritage as well as his being a bag man for the Mafia.

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Response to underpants (Reply #12)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 12:16 PM

14. The Johnny Fontaine scene regarding having trouble with his voice

and needing a part in a movie to make a comeback, is a very transparent reference to Sinatra’s situation before he appeared in “From Here to Eternity.”

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Response to rsdsharp (Reply #14)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 12:43 PM

17. That's what I've always understood .

And the Fontaine character was not a good image for Sinatra regardless of basically outed him for mafia ties.

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Response to underpants (Reply #12)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 12:18 PM

15. Whatever ...

he was an opinionated, temperamental person (as we all can be) who had to live life under a microscope. He had faults -- huge faults by most standards -- but he also had compassion for those oppressed and did what he could to help.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #15)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 02:56 PM

21. except for the chinese

dealer he called a chink at a NJ casino. My mom who loved him in the forties and thought he quit practicing and she couldn't even listen to him later never forgave him for that. My mom had a professional voice who took many singing lessons said to me in the sixties that he stopped practicing and she could tell immediately.

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Response to Casady1 (Reply #21)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 03:05 PM

22. Wow, what a great reason to cancel him 60 years in the future

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Response to Auggie (Reply #22)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 03:25 PM

23. except he did it in the eighties in Atlantic city

My mom and dad who I can guarantee suffered far more discrimination than Sinatra were sensitive to this especially my mom. My dad couldn't swim in the public pools in St. Louis in the 30's and my German grandmother was arrested in 1910 for being with my Chinese grandfather in Illinois. I have the newspaper article. Sinatra was a dick.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 11:59 AM

13. Without the mob Sinatra would have never gotten out of low-rent dives.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 01:10 PM

18. I assume that lech didn't mind...

... this Francis Ford Coppola movie scene:

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Mar 19, 2022, 01:16 PM

19. Not surprised. He hated things that put in a light he didn't like.

But hey, I love his music. Never got to see him, unfortunately.

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