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Film Historian Peter Cowie's Behind-the-Scenes 'Godfather' to Land in October

Photo of Jacob Combs By Jacob Combs | Thompson on Hollywood August 30, 2012 at 6:18AM

There are only a handful of trilogies that are so deepy ingrained in the zeitgeist of American culture that they seem destined to be timeless classics: "Star Wars," "The Lord of the Rings," "The Godfather." But where the first two were sci-fi/fantasy epics filled with spectacle and flash, the last one, with its dark meditations on violence and loyalty, is in a league of its own.
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Don Corleone (Godfather)

There are only a handful of trilogies that are so deepy ingrained in the zeitgeist of American culture that they seem destined to be timeless classics: "Star Wars," "The Lord of the Rings," "The Godfather."  But where the first two were sci-fi/fantasy epics filled with spectacle and flash, the last one, with its dark meditations on violence and loyalty, is in a league of its own.

Film historian Peter Cowie, a former international publishing director of Variety and of other biographies on Orson Welles and Francis Coppola, is out with a new book, The Godfather: The Official Motion Picture Archives that tells the story behind the making of the multi-million dollar franchise.  

"The Godfather" may be an iconic film today, but at the time it was a troubled project: Coppola was the third-string director, everyone was wary of Al Pacino, and it was Robert Redford (or even Ryan O'Neal) who was slated to play Don Corleone, not the inimitable Marlon Brando.

Cowie's book features previously unpublished on-set photos from the films' production, as well as stills from deleted scenes.  The $45 book will be released in October 2012.

This article is related to: Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.