‘The Godfather Live’ at Nokia Theater Packs House for Seminal Screening


Article contributed by Greg Michael

What do you get when you mix over fifty strings, ten or so woodwinds, a dozen brass instruments, a mandolin and an accordion with Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 seminal masterpiece The Godfather?


Apparently, an offer that 6,000 or so Angelinos couldn’t refuse.

The Hollywood Studio Symphony took the stage Saturday evening, January 24 at the Nokia Theater at LA Live to provide a live soundtrack to CineConcert’s presentation of Coppola’s opening installment of the familia Corelone trilogy.

There was a sense of voyeurism – as if audience members had been transported out of Nokia and were eavesdropping in a production studio as the film’s original soundtrack was being recorded back in 1971.

Under the direction of Justin Freer, all of the onscreen betrayal, ritual and celebration was synched perfectly to the euphonic sounds of the classic underscore written for the film by Italian composer Nino Rota.

Guests filled the 7100 seat Nokia to near capacity – and represented a broad spectrum of area residents in wardrobes that ran the gambit from red carpet worthy black evening gowns to not so red carpet worthy cut off shorts.

The film, the first in a trilogy, was based on a novel by Mario Puzo (who also co wrote the screenplay with Coppola) and starred Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Cann and Robert Duvall. It chronicled the family business run by mob boss Vito (Brando) on the mean streets of New York from 1945 – 1955.

Although many films about gangsters preceded The Godfather, Coppola’s nuanced treatment of the Corleone family and their associates, and his portrayal of mobsters as characters of considerable psychological depth and complexity was an innovation.

And even after 43 years and countless likely viewings by most audience members, the films riveting dialouge and imagery still engages – with a number of humorous outbursts throughout the showing to iconic lines like “Leave the gun. Take the cannolis.”

The event was hosted by CineConcerts – a firm founded and run by Freer and dedicated to the preservation and concert presentation of film, tv and media music set to a picture.