Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Incredible Suit's 30-Minute Freeze-Frame Challenge #5: The Godfather

OK. First off, all previous 30MFFCs can now be found on the right of this page somewhere. If you're fully cogniscant of the rules of the game then all well and good. If, like me, you don't really understand it, check out the previous entries - but only after saying in a deep, American voice: "Previously on The Incredible Suit's 30-Minute Freeze-Frame Challenge..."

This week's Challenge was the suggestion of Alfred P Tittlewhistle, who I imagine is a tramp who lives behind Waterloo station shouting obscenities and classic film recommendations at passing tourists and commuters. Like The Incredible Suit but without the internet to hide behind.

Anyway it's The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola's magnum opus about the importance of not forgetting the cannoli. Now I should pause at this moment to point something out: If a film is very long, it's going to have more 30-minute chunks, and therefore more stills in the 30MFFC. And as EVERY still has to impress, longer films stand less chance of passing. Just something to contemplate when suggesting potential test subjects. OK, that said...

0:30:00 Here's Jack Woltz steadfastly, and perhaps ill-advisedly, refusing to give Johnny Fontane a part in his film. His horse is just out of shot, begging him to give the bugger the role. This shot's alright isn't it? God knows what he's wearing though.

1:00:00 Oh dear. Here's Michael visiting his Dad, only to discover that all the guards have suspiciously been given the early off. Unbearably tense scene; boring shot.

1:30:00 Here's the Don being told how the family business is going down the crapper. In the spirit of the rest of The Godfather's cinematography, it's moody, low-key and leaning towards darkness, not unlike the Corleone family. It also shows off Brando's flabby jowls, which is nice.

2:00:00 Here we are in lovely Sicily, where cinematographer Gordon Willis ditches his muted browns and greys for bright, sharp golden sunny delights. And look, there's Michael's great pal Fabrizio wondering how to blow up his boss's wife! Smile for the camera Fabrizio, you're on the 30MFFC!

2:30:00 The Godfather bows out of the 30MFFC in style. Here's Tom watching his Don being buried while Michael's beadies are on the treacherous mafiosi hanging around at his Dad's funeral like flies round a dead horse's head. This shot doesn't just look great but - in context - tells us a coffinload about the characters to boot.


Sorry Mr Tittlewhistle, but it was pretty much Game Over from the second shot. While The Godfather is exceptionally beautifully shot, especially considering its ugly subject matter, even it can't get past the viciously tough judges of the 30MFFC. Maybe choose something shorter next time people; after all three of these stills might have passed, but the other two let them down with their gloomy corridors and peasants staring at the ground.

So come on, what's next?

"Leave the gun, take the cannoli" by Tim Doyle

To comment on this post, click here


  1. Slade in Flame. I may have mentioned this already.

  2. Dude, this is a boring and pointless feature.

  3. It's designed that way so it fits in with the rest of the blog.

  4. I like this feature. Why haven't you done The Empire Strikes Back yet?

  5. Because nobody's asked me to... UNTIL NOW

  6. Loving the rest of your work though. The words 'dead' 'flogging' and 'horse' spring to mind.

    You might as well do a 30 minute audio challenge to see if the dialogue/music/sound effects are up to scratch too.

  7. They say Roger Moore is a wooden actor (appears by permission of forestry commission) but it is just so he won't be caught out by the Incredible Frozen Suit Frame wearing a silly look. He began this in 1973 in 'Live and Let Die'.

    I suggest 'Deep Throat' (1972)for the next freeze frame test.

    Remember the saying 'One swallow does not make a Summer'.

  8. Have you ever seen the frame freeze during projection of a film? The frame in the gate is only supposed to endure the killer watts of heat from the projection lamp for one twentyfourth of a second. Before the system detects the stationary frame, it melts in the centre and bubbles to nothingness just as the lamp shuts down. The take up spool having nothing to restrain it begins to spin violently and this will wake the projectionist who will have to put on the house lights and splice and re-thread the film.

  9. yes well, I happen to love this segment. I suggest that the next victim be Aliens. And I am happy to lay odds at 5 to 1 on that it passes with flying colours...

  10. I've just inspected The Incredible Suit headline strap and see that it promises 4% Twaddle (Silly, Trivial or Pretentious talk).

    Now I know why I'm allowed to post comments. Someone has to deliver that 4%.

  11. Tony, I'll pop round later to borrow your Deep Throat DVD box set. Can you give it a wipe down first?

    Glad to hear the 30MFFC getting some love. Edward, Aliens is already on the list - keep watching to see when it pops out of its slimy little egg-sac.

  12. I don't understand, this is a pass surely, apart from the guy standing in the corner. The jowls are a tremendous shot.

  13. I also think this should be a pass - I like the corridor shot, it's suspensful! What's going on TIS, do you actually know anything about films?

  14. LowRez, you've answered your own query there. EVERY SHOT has to pass for the whole film to pass. It's a tough world out there. Besides that shot of Fabrizio isn't very exciting is it?

    Kay, you've rumbled me. I haven't actually seen a film since Labyrinth in 1986. I prefer ballet and strolls in the countryside to be honest.