Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scene Analysis: The Baptism Scene

            Out of all the gangster films I have seen, one particular scene sticks out in my memory. In the film, The Godfather, the baptism scene is without a doubt one of the best scenes in all gangster films. The scene happens after Vito dies and Michael realizes what kind of situation he is in. He knows that he is going to take the lead role of the Corleone family, but he also realizes that there is something bigger. He realizes that he and the Corleone family is about to be a war between the Corleone family and Barzini family.
            The scene, like a few scenes in the film, uses montage editing. The scene cuts in and out of Michael at his nephew’s baptism and his men murdering his rivals. The montage editing also reveals that the baptism and the killings are going on at the same time. The montage editing cuts between the peaceful, calm, and religious ceremony to the violent murders that are going on. The background music and priests voice also adds suspense and excitement to the scene as well. The setting of the church also gives off a gloomy feeling as well. The lighting inside of the church is dark, which gives off a gothic vibe of the church. The music and voice of the priest seems to get louder as each man is murdered as the scene goes on. The voice reaches it loudest point when the priest asks Michael if he rejects the glamour of evil and if he rejects Satan and all of his works. The scene cuts and shows Michael’s rivals being murdered by his men. The guns blasting throughout the scene are very loud as well. The camera is stationary and uses medium shot and medium close-up on Michael. There are also camera shots that are medium and medium close-up of Michael’s rivals as they are being killed. One part of the scene where this happens is the rival who is lying down and getting a massage. The camera has a close-up and the viewer can almost see the bullet go into the man’s eye. The end of the scene ends with the conclusion the Michael is now the new Godfather of the Corleone family.
The editing montage separates the holy and unholy traits of Michael’s character. It shows the he is good and evil. It also captures what Michael’s new life as the Godfather may endure. The scene shows Michael in a ruthless light. It reveals how inhumane and violent he is by how he says he renounces Satan at the same time he has his men murdering his rivals.

Phillips, G. (2004). Francis ford coppola. Jackson: The university press of mississippi.

Here's a link to the scene:


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