Not much makes me miss the Seventies. Certainly not Blazing Saddles. Not even The Godfather (1972), a highly overrated film that’s mostly long stretches of beige.
As Steve Sailer has noted, that’s thanks in large part to the stranger-than-fiction shenanigans of those pioneering racial grievance-mongers, the Italian-American Civil Rights League.
In the “ethnic pride” spirit of the era, the League pretended to find the then in-the-making Coppola epic “offensive to Italians“ and held huge rallies to that effect.
That this “civil rights” organization was run by Five Families don Joe Colombo, Sr. wasn”t, as I vaguely recall, considered worth dwelling upon by most of the media.
(And I guess when you consider how many shakedown artists populate similar groups…)
Real-life wiseguy Gianni Russo got the coveted role of brother-in-law “Carlo” in the film, in exchange for brokering an agreement between the League/Mafia and Paramount Studios, who”d been subjected to such “shame if something were to happen to it” goings on as the studio’s front gates getting blown off.
Or maybe that should read “Paramount Studios/Mafia” because, at least as Russo (who also claims to have murdered a number of men “ “in self defense” “ and bedded Marilyn Monroe as a teenager) tells it:
“Charlie Bluhdorn just bought Paramount, Gulf and Western, and had connections with the mob in Milan and he didn’t want that to come out. And that’s what the threat and the rumor was all the time, about they [the studio] was gonna pull the plug out because the last thing he wanted to do was make a mob movie.”
Meanwhile, “[The League] are picketing the FBI building down on Madison Avenue about “anti-defamation” and all that. It was all bullshit.””¨”¨Russo says he told Colombo and his fellow mobsters to read the script “ “cuz I knew they couldn’t read anyway” “ and he”d pass their “suggestions” along to The Godfather crew. (The word “Mafia” isn”t uttered once in the finished movie.)
Besides, the League was wasting their time selling “Italian Pride” buttons at League protests for a buck, Russo told “Senior.”
He”d fix it so the mob would get to sell exclusive tickets to all The Godfather premiers for “a hundred bucks a pop” instead.
“That’s all they were interested in, makin’ money,” Russo says today. “They didn’t care about ‘defamation’ and anything like that. They’re all killers.”
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