Those doubts must be pretty strong, because she outright asks him at the end of the first movie if he ordered his brother in law killed, and there is no indication she thinks that the charge is absurd (he denies it, and lies).
In any event, she must be labouring under some pretty heavy duty willful blindness, to live with this guy for years and not know the source of his family’s wealth and power.
My own thought is that she rebells against being treated like one of his possessions, a baby-making machine for the family, rather than a human - the whole tirade about how he is “evil” is insencere (in that he could be as evil as he wants, she wouldn’t care, if only he treated her more like a person). Thus, her glee at turning the knife in by telling him she aborted a male baby.
To my mind, this is just another example of how Michael loses his family by attempting to use the methods of his dad - you definitely get the impression that, by the standards of his mom’s generation, he’s not a bad guy - he provides for his family, he isn’t overtly abusive (he does hit her the once - when she tells him that she’s aborted the baby - but there is no indication he makes a habit of it), he isn’t a womanizer.
How corrupt was the NYPD in 1946? Captain McClusky was into dope-he was protecting the Turk’s fledgling heroin distribution business. But man-going out to eat with Michael (even if the veal was “the best in the city”) was a big mistake! Or were the cops mostly amenable to a few small bribes (bookmaking, illegal lotteries, etc.), but would draw the line at dope?
Incidentally, having barzini hit by the guy impersonating a cop was a work of genius!
But Michael failed to see things; in particular, he failed to see Fredo’s betrayal, which in retrospect was obvious. He also failed to see that Connie’s first husband–the wifebeater Carlo–was not, in fact, conscious involved in the hit on Sonny. This is a subtle point; Michael thinks he beat up on his sister to draw Sonny out, but in fact Connie gets a call from another woman asking about Carlo, which sets her off. He was resentful about being cut out of the family business, but he wasn’t, as Michael assumed, in cahoots with Barzini like Tessio was. Offing Tessio was justified; killing Carlo was not, and even if it was, it served to create the first rift in the family, and started Kay’s doubts about Michael’s sincerity about making the Corleones legitimate. Michael screws up, and that one seemingly slight error (the murder of an insigificant character) begins the chain of events that destroys his family.
Kay is a pretty dim bulb, and on top of that is willfully ignorant. She’s a perfect politician’s wife–indeed, the only thing that is all that appealing in her whitebread, shallow nature is that she’s such a perfect fit for the image Michael wants for his family–but Michael isn’t yet just a good politician; he’s still the Don, and he keeps getting drawn back in to the Byzantine deception and violence. One reason he wants to “kill everyone” (or “only my enemies,” at least) is so that he can tie that history off and begin anew. This only ends up cementing Kay’s perception of his malevolence, though. She’s a twit, through and through; gulliable, and unwilling to accept the reality of being a Corleone.
Yeah-Kay is pretty blind (or stupid). When Michael is visited by his sister (Connie), and Kay is there-Connie goes nuts "you killed my husband’-then barks at Kay-“see what kind of a man you’re married to”…“how many men has he killed-read the papers”!
At this point (were I Kay), I’d be seriously re-evaluating the relationship!
Of course, maybe Michael thought that once he owned a string of hotel/casinos, the old strong-arm days would be gone for good!
I always read the confrontation scene as Carlo tacitly admitting that he was complicit in Sonny’s death. Remember that Sonny told Carlo that he would kill Carlo if he ever touched his sister again. I can see Carlo (having been approached previously by the Barzinis) calling someone and saying, “Look Sonny’s about to be on his way over here to kill me. Can you protect me?”
My impression was that Carlo was in on the fake “call from another woman”. I thought that, before Michael has him killed, he gets Carlo to essentially confess.
In short, Michael was, by his lights, justified in the murders he ordered.
I still think that the claim about his “malevolence” was just a smokescreen for her real concerns, which would have been just as pressing if he did in fact make the transition to politician - namely that she was treated as an appendage at every turn.
Maybe I simply cannot accept that anyone could possibly be so clueless for so long - to me, it strains belief.
The hitman was Al Neri, an ex-cop, and Michael’s chief hitman, his “Luca Brasi” so to speak.
As for the NYPD, remeber Sollozo was new in town and Michael was still widely considered a civilian and a “war hero.” Being mixed up in drugs was a big enough deal that Tom and Michael had the Corleone papers capitalize on the connection and paint McCluskey as a rogue cop who got what he deserved.
Carlo didn’t have any choice; Michael promised him that he wouldn’t kill him if he’d just confess. Even if Carlo was in on it, killing him off was a bad move; it alienated Connie, and thence Kay. And he gained nothing for it; unlike Tessio–who was a key player in the conspiracy–Carlo was a nobody from a business standpoint.
She was an appendage. What else did she expect? All the women in the family are second class citizens–pillarized, in the case of Mama, but exist primarily to cook and keep the kids out of the way. Kay spent the years that he was in Sicily waiting around, marking time as a schoolteacher, and then marries Michael with barely a protest about his disapperance. The only thing she’s really good for is to be an appendage, and she’d be perfectly happy (or at least contentedly unhappy) being married to some WASPy Westchester executive or politician. She’s just unhappy about being an appendage to Michael, who clearly isn’t going to be the statesman his father hoped.
First, he knw about Fredo, he just didn’t want to acknowledge it. You get all sorts of signs he knows during the conversation at the cafe in Havana where Fredo apologizes for an unspecified wrong (“I was real mad at ya, Mike”) He looks at Fredo as Fredo starts speaking Spanish and then asks how to say banana dacquiri (in an inartful attempt to look like the newcomer to Cuba he claims to be) and during the intro to Johnny Orla where Fredo acts like they’ve not met. Michael already knew Fredo was a weak link. Hell, this goes back to Fredo sticking up for Moe Greene and pissing Michael off in the processs.
Second, Carlo was in on it. Carlo set it up. I think this is pretty clear.
Carlo was killed because he “had to be killed.” He set up Sonny, and that was that.
It was Michael who killed Carlo because Vito couldn’t bring himself to hurt his daughter (his favorite) in that manner. They waited until Vito’s death to make amends so that Vito wouldn’t see the pain that would bring to his family. This, of course, is akin to the decision that Michael makes in GF2, not to kill Fredo until their mother passed.
His complicity makes sense though. Only he could have ensured that the phone call would really result in the ful-blown beating of Connie. We aren’t given any reason to disbelieve his confession, in the movie at any rate (again, I haven’t read the book).
I agree that the murder makes no sense from a utilitarian point of view. Another theme that appears in the movie is that it is often bandied about by various gangsters that ordering people killed is “just business”, but it is obvious from how they react that revenge is a huge motivator for them (consider how the GF goes back to Sicilly and risks his life to personally stab to death the guy who persecuted his parents).
Maybe this isn’t really a contradiction, though - as ‘being feared for your implacable revenge’ is, in a sense, supremely good for business - as the terror of crossing the Don is one of the main things keeping people loyal and mouths firmly shut.
Agreed, but maybe she didn’t see it that way; she clearly expected Michael to be different, as he was when they first met - only to discover as he grew older that he was becomming more and more the same as his dad.
Nope. the Don had him specifically cut him out of the family business: “Give him a living, but nothing more.” And it’s not as if Connie had an inside track; heck, she even had to wait in line to see Michael at the beginning of GFII.
Whether Carlo was a patsy or whether he was in on the plan to kill Sonny, Michael’s orders to execute Carlo was the beginning of his downfall. This is apparent in the end of the first movie, when, after being confronted by Connie and assuring Kay (agreeing to talk just this once about his business) that he had nothing to do with Carlo’s disappearance, she sees him taking over the role of Don and accepting subservience from other Mafia figures. It’s only then that she knows, or at least accepts, what he is.
She has no excuse, though. Michael himself said to herMichael: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.
Kay Adams: Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed.
Michael: Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?
She’s duller than a butter knife. I don’t have much sympathy for her.
Vito says this way before the hit on Sonny. Carlo’s dangerousnes was made clear when he set Sonny up. You lose on the argument that Carlowas no threat. He undid Sonny. We have the story as evidence of what Carlo was capable of.
Connie had to wait to see Michael because she had disassociated herself with the family. She didn’t even know her son had been picked up for shop lifting.
His downfall was inevitable. All tragedies are inevitable. Your argument was that Michael was out of the know. Carlo’s role in the hit on Sonny is not an example of that. Period.
The first rift and greatest threat to Michael comes in Vegas when Michael gets upset at Fredo for siding with Moe Greene (this is before the hit on Carlo). The family is set to implode. It has nothign to do with the hit on Carlo. It is ievitable.
it is absolutely INSANE to think Michael could have given Carlo a pass. HE participated in a hit on the acting eff-ing Don!