Shared from the 2017-05-01 Chattanooga eEdition

Coppola and ‘Godfather’ cast reunite at Tribeca Film Fest

NEW YORK — Debilitating studio battles. One miraculously still cat. Mooning contests between James Caan and Marlon Brando. Those were the memories shared, 45 years later, on the making of “The Godfather” in a rare reunion of the film’s cast and director Francis Ford Coppola at Radio City Music Hall.

With the stage decorated to resemble the library of Brando’s Don Corleone, and a portrait of the actor hanging above, Coppola and cast members Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire, gathered together once again on Saturday. The night was organized by De Niro as the closing evening of his Tribeca Film Festival, which preceded the affair with a grand double feature of “The Godfather,” parts one and two.

That made for a long day — the event spanned nearly nine hours — but one of giddy delight for devotees of Coppola’s masterpieces.

While both films are widely viewed as among the finest ever made, Coppola and cast spoke again and again about the films’ humble origins, when Coppola was a young, untested director, Pacino was an unknown theater actor who the studio, Paramount, was loathe to cast, and few thought the source material — Mario Puzo’s best-seller — was the stuff of great cinema.

Even Coppola, himself.

“I was disappointed in the book when I first read it because it’s very long,” said Coppola, who called Puzo’s book “a bit of a potboiler.”

“Much of the book — about a third — is about Lucy Mancini’s anatomy,” he said.

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