Aired: March 10, 2012

The Offer He Couldn’t Refuse

Ed Falco (Virginia Tech) is the author of the latest installment in the Godfather saga, a prequel to Mario Puzo’s original.  In The Family Corleone, Falco answers questions that have burned in fans’ minds for years – like Vito Corleone’s rise in the criminal underworld and how he became the Godfather.  It seems like an offer you could not refuse, but Falco did the first time.

Also featured: Alfred Hitchcock was the master of suspense. His films like Psycho, The Birds, and North by Northwest still thrill audiences today. Mark Padilla (Christopher Newport University) believes that the reason Hitchcock’s movies seem so timeless is that they are invested with the archetypal symbols and motifs of classical Greek myths.

Discussion

2 Comments on “The Offer He Couldn’t Refuse”

  1. David Thompson

    Concerning this show…how could you repeatedly play music from the soundtrack of “The Godather” and never once identify the composer, Nino Rota, whose themes are as familiar to moviegoers as the performances of Marlon Brando, James Cann and Al Pacino. And John Cazale, not Cavale!

    Mark Padilla is not that impressive as a scholar of Hitchcock movies and Greek Mythology.This segment was disappointing. Once again. no mention of Bernard Herrmann, even though his brilliant score for “Psycho” was played throughout the segment. Let alone the scores he wrote for other Hitchcock films, including Hitchcock’s undisputed masterpiece, “Vertigo”, which Mark Padilla did not mention at all!

    North By Northwest: Yes, the film starred Cary Grant, but it also co-starred Eva Marie Saint, who’s great in that clip you played, but…you never acknowledged her! What’s up with that?

    Psycho: The Greek myth at work in Psycho is definitely not the myth of Orestes. Mark Padilla didn’t get the myth correct. Agamemnon was killed in the bath, by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus, but his “lover”, actually his prize of war concubine, Cassandra, daughter of King Priam of Troy, was also killed by Clytemnestra, but she was not in the bath with Agamemnon at the time of her death. Orestes was a young boy at the time, he escaped from Mycenae and, when a young man, he was ordered by Apollo at Delphi to avenge the death of his father by killing his mother. Orestes was an instrument of the conflict and transition between the older matriarchal religion and society and the newer patriarchal religion (symbolized by Zeus) and society, which is the primary theme throughout Greek myth. He was anything but another Oedipus-bound mama’s boy. I suggest a reading of “The Oresteia” of Aeschylus. As well as Sophocles’ “Electra”, and “Orestes” and “Electra”, the mythologically-revisionist plays of Euripides.

    Norman Bates is certainly an example of Freud’s Oedipus Complex, in the pathological extreme, but there are other mythic themes at work in the film as well. The myth of Hippolytus (which Tony Perkins played more than once), the rejection of Aphrodite, and the dying son/lover, trapped in the Underworld with the Death Goddess. And the dominant mother isn’t always the mother of the main male character. Sometimes (as in “To Catch a Thief”), she’s the mother of the main female character.

    “Veritgo” is Hitchcock’s most mythologically complex film, befitting a cinematic masterpiece. Jimmy Stewart’s character’s mother complex (his best female friend/mother-figure designs bras), his fear of heights, which are associated with movement upward, toward masculine spirituality. His obsession with the Aphrodite/Helen of Troy woman (the icy blond in many of Hitchcock’s films), which morphs into an obsession with the dead goddess, with it’s perverse “Pygmalion/Galateia” twist. Scotty overcoming his vertigo to ascend the church tower, only to cause the death of his fantasy beloved, when Mother Superior appears. Hitchcock had a very complex relationship to his Catholicism.

    And the fall was from the-created for the movie-bell tower at the San Juan Bautista Mission, not a San Francisco skyscraper, buildings SF did not have in 1958.

    Mark Padilla needs to read more Jungian Psychology. not only Jung, but especially James Hillman’s writings on Greek myth. As well as Jungian writings on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, especially the writings on film by the SF-based Jungian Analyst John Beebe, who has written extensively on film and the unconscious, from a Jungian perspective.

    I’ve been involved in personal study, research and experience in Jungian Psychology, Archetypal Psychology and related fields, such as Greek myth, for almost 40 years. I have a degree from UCLA Film School and worked in film in LA for many years, so I believe I have some idea of what I’m writing about.

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