Among those of us who love mafia stories (both fiction and non-fiction), there’s been a constant discussion of what we’d do with a 4th Godfather movie. Would we continue the tale of Anthony Mancini? Find another story about Michael Corleone? Take another angle?
I recently rewatched the first two Godfather movies and was struck at how they’re less about the mafia and more about family (which is why I think they took the cheap route in III by giving Sonny a spawn from an extramarital affair). How do family dynamics, immigration, crime, etc. all come together?
My idea for IV was to move the focus from Mancini and completely de-glamorize the mob image given by its gaudy predecessor films. Both The Sopranos and GoodFellas do this with varying degrees of success. But I’d take it all the way, make almost an anti-film. It’s not a good life, especially when it impacts your family.
All that to say, you could probably take my ideas and apply them to the life of Al D’Arco, the diminutive gangster whose unlikely rise to acting boss of the Lucchese Crime Family whose brief reign coincided with the decline of New York’s Five Families at the height of their powers would be the perfect tale to tell.
Al doesn’t make for the most interesting of mob characters: he’s basically a career bureaucrat whose competence kept him afloat for many years. He doesn’t do drugs, barely drinks, doesn’t sleep around on his wife. He’s not that interesting except for the life he leads for his day job, in which case, he’s very interesting.
D’Arco briefly held the title of boss while his superiors Vic Amuso and Phil Casso were on the lam due to a major case that impacted all of organized crime in New York City. And he tried to placate their paranoia while sanctioning hit after hit until he finally realized that nothing would be good enough. In other words, the mob kept feeding him violence until he couldn’t take it. And he decided to protect his wife and kids by turning state’s evidence.
For me, this would make the perfect conclusion to the Godfather‘s narrative arc: a stark contrast from Michael Corleone (and to a lesser extent Vito) who put business ahead of family. D’Arco’s tale returns the story to what mob life has always been about as it meets its brutal end.