PDA

View Full Version : The Luca Brasi Gambit


Dale Sams
01-26-2014, 01:30 PM
What a horrible idea sending him right into Sollozzo's camp to be killed.

Luca Brasi is the Hulk. Not 007.

Sollozzo already knows that Brasi would never betray the Don, and that he can't be called stopped or reasoned with.

It's like sending Captain America to the Russians and having him tell them he's not satisfied with his pay.

Zeldar
01-26-2014, 01:36 PM
What a horrible idea sending him right into Sollozzo's camp to be killed.

Luca Brasi is the Hulk. Not 007.

Sollozzo already knows that Brasi would never betray the Don, and that he can't be called stopped or reasoned with.

It's like sending Captain America to the Russians and having him tell them he's not satisfied with his pay.

Agreed 100%. Always bugged me. Puzo just got sloppy with that or Coppola did.

When you look at what made GF work it was acting and directing, photography and costumes, settings and music. Not heft of the story lines. Still one of the best movies and (almost) franchises ever.

NeonMadman
01-26-2014, 02:57 PM
In the novel, Brasi is not portrayed as being as stupid as he appeared in the movie, but he was an effective businessman and a shrewd and deadly family operative. In that context, he might not have been so likely to be mindlessly loyal to the Don as in the movie. So it might have been more plausible to Solozzo that Brasi might actually have been willing to think about crossing over for a better deal. In the movie, however, he seemed like one step above a drooling idiot, and it's hard to see in that sort of portrayal how he could have even risen to the level of independent thinking needed to become a traitor.

Dale Sams
01-26-2014, 03:12 PM
Here's a depressing thought. Godfather III (which I have not seen and feels like it was made maybe in 1999) was made TWENTY-THREE years ago. Only sixteen years passed between Godfather II and III.

74westy
01-26-2014, 03:44 PM
In the novel, Brasi is not portrayed as being as stupid as he appeared in the movie, but he was an effective businessman and a shrewd and deadly family operative. In that context, he might not have been so likely to be mindlessly loyal to the Don as in the movie. So it might have been more plausible to Solozzo that Brasi might actually have been willing to think about crossing over for a better deal. In the movie, however, he seemed like one step above a drooling idiot, and it's hard to see in that sort of portrayal how he could have even risen to the level of independent thinking needed to become a traitor.

If Luca Brasi of the movie was not as smart as Brasi of the book, it might be because Lenny Montana was not an actor and couldn't read his lines all the way through without blowing them. I've read but have no cite that when filming Brasi's speech to the Godfather, they eventually gave up, used a take where he blew his line and looked embarrassed and then added the scene where he rehearses his line in front of Michael and Kay. This made it impossible for the movie character to be anything but a big, dumb oaf.

zbuzz
01-26-2014, 06:54 PM
What a horrible idea sending him right into Sollozzo's camp to be killed.

Luca Brasi is the Hulk. Not 007.

Sollozzo already knows that Brasi would never betray the Don, and that he can't be called stopped or reasoned with.

It's like sending Captain America to the Russians and having him tell them he's not satisfied with his pay.

Yeah, it doesn't seem to make sense, but here's an explanation- Sollozzo notes to Tom that the Don was "slipping." For example, the Don is complacent enough to go out with Fredo as his only bodyguard despite the fact that he is clearly concerned about what Sollozzo and the Tattaglias might be scheming. In addition, he doesn't see the big picture about Sollozzo's drug business when both Tom and Sonny do.

Little Nemo
01-26-2014, 10:04 PM
If Luca Brasi of the movie was not as smart as Brasi of the book, it might be because Lenny Montana was not an actor and couldn't read his lines all the way through without blowing them. I've read but have no cite that when filming Brasi's speech to the Godfather, they eventually gave up, used a take where he blew his line and looked embarrassed and then added the scene where he rehearses his line in front of Michael and Kay. This made it impossible for the movie character to be anything but a big, dumb oaf.Another thing I've heard is that the cat wasn't planned. It just happened to wonder on to the set and Brando decided to pick it up and pet it during the scene.

Son of a Rich
01-26-2014, 10:57 PM
There's tons of stuff in the Godfather that doesn't stand up to scrutiny, like how it was so easy to hit all those mob bosses at the same time. Those steps where Barzinni got his were conveniently barren of bystanders. After puffing up the stairs with the shotgun in the flower box, how did Clemenza know his prey would emerge from the elevator when they did? When all those big mob guys are bumped off, Michael, or at least the Corleone family, would be under official scrutiny. Probably not the best time to strangle someone in the driveway in broad daylight. One more: isn't it odd (and convenient) that the Turk wouldn't have had someone sitting outside Louis's cafe in the Bronx during that meeting?

YogSothoth
01-27-2014, 12:23 AM
If Luca Brasi of the movie was not as smart as Brasi of the book, it might be because Lenny Montana was not an actor and couldn't read his lines all the way through without blowing them. I've read but have no cite that when filming Brasi's speech to the Godfather, they eventually gave up, used a take where he blew his line and looked embarrassed and then added the scene where he rehearses his line in front of Michael and Kay. This made it impossible for the movie character to be anything but a big, dumb oaf.

The scene was a happy accident. (http://www.cracked.com/article_20096_6-iconic-movie-scenes-that-happened-by-accident_p2.html) The actor was so nervous being in the same scene as acting legend Marlon Brando that he kind of flubbed his pledge, making the audience see that its not the huge imposing guy that's the true badass, but the man who controls him.

Dale Sams
01-27-2014, 12:29 AM
There's tons of stuff in the Godfather that doesn't stand up to scrutiny, like how it was so easy to hit all those mob bosses at the same time. Those steps where Barzinni got his were conveniently barren of bystanders. After puffing up the stairs with the shotgun in the flower box, how did Clemenza know his prey would emerge from the elevator when they did? When all those big mob guys are bumped off, Michael, or at least the Corleone family, would be under official scrutiny. Probably not the best time to strangle someone in the driveway in broad daylight. One more: isn't it odd (and convenient) that the Turk wouldn't have had someone sitting outside Louis's cafe in the Bronx during that meeting?

All the mob bosses got hit during the baptism sequence. Connie's husband would have been knocked off about an hour after that.

Oglomott
01-27-2014, 05:30 AM
Since we're discussing GF: They shoot Paulie seemingly in the middle of nowhere, and just walk away leaving him in the car. The police couldn't trace the car back to the owner?

And in GF II, when Rocco shoots Roth, then they kill Rocco; they couldn't find out who Rocco was, and who he associated with?

don't ask
01-27-2014, 06:14 AM
My son and went to see Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and afterwards we were wondering what the next reboot would be. It would have to be an older movie franchise that could be done differently. Our favorite choice was a darker version of Beverley Hills Cop, but we never thought of The Godfather Begins

Loach
01-27-2014, 08:27 AM
Since we're discussing GF: They shoot Paulie seemingly in the middle of nowhere, and just walk away leaving him in the car. The police couldn't trace the car back to the owner?

And in GF II, when Rocco shoots Roth, then they kill Rocco; they couldn't find out who Rocco was, and who he associated with?

Could have been stolen or otherwise clean. Or maybe it was in Paulie's name.


The death of Roth was the thing that bothered me most in the first two movies. The mob does not do suicide missions. If they did it would be hard to get good goons.

Dale Sams
01-27-2014, 08:35 AM
Could have been stolen or otherwise clean. Or maybe it was in Paulie's name.


The death of Roth was the thing that bothered me most in the first two movies. The mob does not do suicide missions. If they did it would be hard to get good goons.

The killer in that situation was Rocco Lampone. A Caporegime. Not a random mook.

muldoonthief
01-27-2014, 08:37 AM
Since we're discussing GF: They shoot Paulie seemingly in the middle of nowhere, and just walk away leaving him in the car. The police couldn't trace the car back to the owner?

And in GF II, when Rocco shoots Roth, then they kill Rocco; they couldn't find out who Rocco was, and who he associated with?

The thing to remember in the GF movies was that everyone, including the police, KNEW who was responsible for all the killings - which family, if not specifically which person. It was never a matter of the police having to track down leads to identify a suspect. It was a matter of what they could prove. So the idea wasn't to leave the police with a locked room mystery - it was to deny them any evidence that they could use in court to convict someone. That's why they always left the gun - the untraceable fingerprint-proof gun - if they took it, they ran the risk of the gunman being caught with it, but if they left it, it basically became useless as evidence.

puddleglum
01-27-2014, 09:20 AM
Yeah, it doesn't seem to make sense, but here's an explanation- Sollozzo notes to Tom that the Don was "slipping." For example, the Don is complacent enough to go out with Fredo as his only bodyguard despite the fact that he is clearly concerned about what Sollozzo and the Tattaglias might be scheming. In addition, he doesn't see the big picture about Sollozzo's drug business when both Tom and Sonny do.

Sending Luca was a result of Sonny's outburts. When he says to Sollozzo " You mean to tell me..." it showed Sollozzo that there were people in the family who were interested in getting in the drug business but that the Godfather was holding them back. If Sollozo got rid of the Godfather then they could all partner together in the drug business. Luca's motivation betraying the godfather was all of the money he could have made in the drug business. Since most mobsters are psychopaths who only care about money it would have been easy to believe that he would betray the godfather for money. The Godfather sees this as soon as Sonny opens his mouth. What he does not see is the involvement of Tattaglia and he lets his guard down. He still was way ahead of everyone else in the family.

johnspartan
01-27-2014, 09:31 AM
You could also argue that Vito tasked Luca with being the mole because he's such an unlikely candidate to be a mole. There's a logical thread that says "If I send someone known for being cunning and quick to go be Sollozzo muscle, they might come to the same logical conclusion that he'd make a good plant. I have to pick someone that appears so dense my enemies might even feel comfortable discussing delicate issues in front of him because they think he's a nimrod."

The "c'mon, wouldn't they be able to trace back the gun/car/murderer?" kind of misses the point. If Michael had been in trouble he... would have had to leave the country for a couple of years? Get called before a special hearing dedicated to looking into the Mafia? Imagine that ;-)

Zeldar
01-27-2014, 10:08 AM
Not to rain on a perfectly fun thread, but wouldn't it be cool to look at other esteemed classics in movies and TV and point out how illogical and Implausible some of their main points and characters are in the cold light of day?

I'm reminded of an old Gahan Wilson (or one of his imitators') single-frame cartoons where this little old lady was reading from a book of nursery rhymes to a toddler and says, "Hey, diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon...Preposterous!)

Son of a Rich
01-27-2014, 10:13 AM
Not to rain on a perfectly fun thread, but wouldn't it be cool to look at other esteemed classics in movies and TV and point out how illogical and Implausible some of their main points and characters are in the cold light of day?



Sounds like a good idea to me. Post it and they will come.

running coach
01-27-2014, 10:16 AM
Not to rain on a perfectly fun thread, but wouldn't it be cool to look at other esteemed classics in movies and TV and point out how illogical and Implausible some of their main points and characters are in the cold light of day?



Sounds like a good idea to me. Post it and they will come.

It would probably be easier to list the movies that don't qualify. :D

Zeldar
01-27-2014, 10:17 AM
Sounds like a good idea to me. Post it and they will come.

Just might! Thanks for the support for the notion.

ETA: You must be right, runner pat, or else the thing would be boring as stump water. :)

Shodan
01-27-2014, 02:08 PM
I thought the killing of Brassi was just to get the Godfather's most formidable and devoted assassin out of the way. Solozzo never expected him to betray the Godfather, but he needed some excuse to arrange a meeting so he could be killed, as part of the plot to kill Don Corleone and take over his rackets.

The Tattalgias thought little of Sonny, from his stupid remark showing that he might consider joining in the drug deal (as puddleglum describes), and Fredo was weak. So, they thought, was Michael, or perhaps that he would not get involved in "family business". And they grabbed Tom the lawyer to do the negotiations. I don't recall that anyone expected Luca to do anything beyond (maybe) find out what was going on. But my impression was that this happened before it was widely known that Don Corleone was dead or incapacitated.

Regards,
Shodan

Loach
01-27-2014, 02:29 PM
The killer in that situation was Rocco Lampone. A Caporegime. Not a random mook.

Exactly. It makes it even less likely for him to be sent on a suicide mission. You might be able to fan wank that a random guy was blackmailed or his family threatened to carry out the hit. But not someone like Rocco. And there is no way he could get out of there alive or free.

Dale Sams
01-27-2014, 02:42 PM
Exactly. It makes it even less likely for him to be sent on a suicide mission. You might be able to fan wank that a random guy was blackmailed or his family threatened to carry out the hit. But not someone like Rocco. And there is no way he could get out of there alive or free.

Well, an Al Neri or Luca Brasi would do it. A Clemenza or Tessio probably wouldn't.

Had the incident already been novelized, I'll bet Puzo would have addressed that by saying Lampone was dying already or was fanatically devoted.

(Shrug) That kind of exposition would have seemed cumbersome in the movie.

ExTank
01-27-2014, 04:47 PM
I always had the impression that Luca somehow failed a "smell test" at his meeting with Sollozzo and Tattaglia.

Sollozzo makes his pitch, and holds out his hand to shake with Luca, and Luca kinda nods absently and takes out a smoke instead.

So by refusing to shake with Sollozzo, I think Luca indicated either he was going to hold out for more money, or wasn't really serious in the first place.

The Second Stone
01-27-2014, 05:20 PM
It could also be that Vito wouldn't mind losing Luca Brasi as it is pretty plain he fears Brasi.

BMalion
01-27-2014, 07:54 PM
"Leave the gun, take the canollis."

Elendil's Heir
01-29-2014, 10:12 AM
From a non-Doper friend who's a big fan:

If you read the book, you would understand the undying loyalty that Luca gave Vito Corleone. It was based in the Mafia lore, plus Vito had protected him from a murder back in Italy. Luca killed a bastard newborn child of his. Vito protected him sensing he could get favors from the man to which Luca reciprocated. Luca Brasi was the only man Vito was scared of and that was because of his might.

puddleglum
01-29-2014, 10:43 AM
I thought the killing of Brassi was just to get the Godfather's most formidable and devoted assassin out of the way. Solozzo never expected him to betray the Godfather, but he needed some excuse to arrange a meeting so he could be killed, as part of the plot to kill Don Corleone and take over his rackets.

The Tattalgias thought little of Sonny, from his stupid remark showing that he might consider joining in the drug deal (as puddleglum describes), and Fredo was weak. So, they thought, was Michael, or perhaps that he would not get involved in "family business". And they grabbed Tom the lawyer to do the negotiations. I don't recall that anyone expected Luca to do anything beyond (maybe) find out what was going on. But my impression was that this happened before it was widely known that Don Corleone was dead or incapacitated.

Regards,
Shodan
The plot is very subtle. Barzini was behind it the whole time. He sends Solozzo and Tattaglia to the Godfather while concealing his own involvement. When Sonny slips up, the Godfather takes the threat lightly because he doesn't respect Tattaglia. This leaves him vulnerable to Barzini who is able to target the Godfather, kidnap Tom, and kill Sonny using Sollozoo and Tattaglia men and hide his involvement. Thus he is able to weaken two other families at no cost to his own. Barzini is able to get the Godfather to acquiesce to the drug trade at no cost to himself while Sollozzo is eliminated by Micheal. It was a subtle and very effective plan. It fooled the Godfather which is how the Luca Brasa gambit happened. He didn't put his best man on the job because he thought Tatagglia was too dumb to see through it and Sollozzo wouldn't make a move without backing from a family. Barzini saw the opening that Sonny's remark was, and jumped in with decisize action.

Doyle
01-30-2014, 02:29 PM
It's been years since I read the book, but as I recall, Puzzo did a very nice job of making most of these stories real and plausible. Coppolla just didn't have time to explore them thoroughly.

In the case of Brasi, the Don knew Lucca might not be coming back but was willing to take that chance because he himself feared Brasi to a certain degree and did know if he could control him. Also, Brasi did it for the Don for covering up the Brasi's murder of his Irish girlfriend and throwing their infant baby into a flaming furnace.

Enright3
02-03-2014, 05:09 PM
There's tons of stuff in the Godfather that doesn't stand up to scrutiny, like how it was so easy to hit all those mob bosses at the same time. Those steps where Barzinni got his were conveniently barren of bystanders. After puffing up the stairs with the shotgun in the flower box, how did Clemenza know his prey would emerge from the elevator when they did? When all those big mob guys are bumped off, Michael, or at least the Corleone family, would be under official scrutiny. Probably not the best time to strangle someone in the driveway in broad daylight. One more: isn't it odd (and convenient) that the Turk wouldn't have had someone sitting outside Louis's cafe in the Bronx during that meeting? I don't think some of that stuff is so implausible. There had been peace for 10+ years. All of the Dons had let down their guard. I think that's why Michael was able to get to them. Regarding being barren of bystanders... why are you saying that an issue? He would have been killed even if there were bystanders. It's not like there are usually thousands of people on stairs at any other time. What is there about the elevator that makes the timing of it matter? If you know someone is eventually coming by elevator, you just sit and wait. Not only that but what if it's something that occurs at the same time everyday. I think you're reading too much into it to try to make it NOT work. Regarding the cafe; are you talking about where Michael shot the Turk? All the backtracking they did, and the fact that the Turk would have kept the location to as few people as possible; it's easy to believe no one else was there. Remember the police captain was there too. No one thought anyone had the balls to kill an NYPD police captain.

In the novel, Brasi is not portrayed as being as stupid as he appeared in the movie, but he was an effective businessman and a shrewd and deadly family operative. In that context, he might not have been so likely to be mindlessly loyal to the Don as in the movie. So it might have been more plausible to Solozzo that Brasi might actually have been willing to think about crossing over for a better deal. In the movie, however, he seemed like one step above a drooling idiot, and it's hard to see in that sort of portrayal how he could have even risen to the level of independent thinking needed to become a traitor.Not only that, but Luca was trying to make it look like he wasn't happy with the Don, and tried to put himself in a position to be approached. He didn't go looking to be a traitor. Regardless, they still killed him, knowing there was no way he would betray Don Corleone; but that was a gamble the lost. Maybe more proof of Don Corleone slipping in his old age.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.