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Cowie's book features previously unpublished on-set photos from the films' production, as well as stills from deleted scenes.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.