Luca Brasi sleeps with the fish, but it could be better than where he comes from …
A movie like The Godfather works so well because we enter a work with no explanations. It is a world that exists before our eyes where a family controls much of the labor force in a city and is part of the heartbeat of American life.
In the opening scene of the wedding, Michael explains to Kay how his family gains loyalty to them by doing things the police cannot do for the locals. The main executor of this family is Luca Brasi. He is the man you send when you want a message to be heard.
Kay: Michael, that man over there is talking to himself. See that creepy guy over there?
Michael: He’s a very scary guy.
Kay: Well who is he What is his name?
Michael: His name is Luca Brasi – and sometimes he helps my father.
But where did Luca Brasi come from and why was his original story so violent and terrible that they removed it from the film?
Check out this video explainer from CineRanter and let’s talk after the jump.
Why Luca Brasi’s genesis was too intense for The Godfather
The book for The Godfather tells many stories about the characters who never made it into the film. Sometimes it seems that they were cut because those descriptions were too fantastic or violent, so much so that they took away the serious tone of the film.
This is especially true for Luca Brasi. We learn that in the book Brasi was an insane hit man who was so loyalty-minded that he once killed a man who worked for the Corleone family because he thought he was going to make them look bad.
He also took part in the Olive Oil Wars, where he was in the room with six other hit men, killing them all in various bloody ways. Another of his origin stories intersects with real life.
Brasi allegedly killed two of Al Capone‘s henchmen hired to assassinate Don Corleone. In typical Brasi fashion, he beat up these guys, tied them up and gagged them with towels and cut one up with an ax while the other henchmen suffocated on the towel.
This was all discussed but cut out of the film because it made the character unappealing. We liked to think that he was just a big uncle, nervous about speaking to the godfather, and not someone whose actions resembled the Zodiac killer.
What do you think of leaving out? Would it have been too strange to hear about Al Capone in the movie, or too violent to hear about hacking someone up with an ax? I mean we see a horse’s head, is a human that much worse?
I think explaining the mystery behind these people takes some of the wonder, and adding too much violence would make it sound like an action movie, or as if we should expect to see things like that again instead of being carefully executed Action, pun intended.
Dealing with the backstory is a delicate dance.
Let me know what you think in the comments.