cover image Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of ‘The Godfather’

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of ‘The Godfather’

Mark Seal. Gallery, $28.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-982158-59-0

Journalist Seal (The Devil and Harper Lee) expands his 2009 Vanity Fair article “The Godfather Wars” into a revealing and entertaining look at the behind-the-scenes machinations of Francis Ford Coppola’s epic film. Fifty years after its premiere, The Godfather still preoccupies the minds of film critics and historians, but Seal states that “some things remain overlooked, or misrepresented” about the film. With this he “untangle[s] the competing narratives and self-aggrandizing contentions that continue to enshroud [it].” Through extensive research and interviews with key actors and production staff, Seal weaves his tale with enthralling portraits of The Godfather’s main architects: author Mario Puzo, whose original 1969 novel saved him from an “insatiable” gambling habit; Paramount Pictures executive Robert Evans, who was struggling to save his tanking studio; Coppola, a Hollywood newcomer in need of a hit to establish his reputation; and, most importantly, a number of real New York Mafia kingpins who nearly derailed the film entirely. Along the way, Seal dishes up fascinating morsels for fans to savor—including how actor Richard Castellano came to improvise his famous line, “Take the cannoli,” and a detailed look at the way Marlon Brando transformed himself into the aging Godfather, Vito Corleone. Masterpiece yields masterpiece with this exuberant page-turner. Agent: Jan Miller, Dupree Miller & Assoc. (Oct.)