Monday, October 1, 2012
I was set up on a blind date over the Labor Day weekend and believe it or not, it actually worked out! (See Tinsel & Tine facebook page for more details).
His name is James Bradford, and best of all he loves my two favorite things - We've had many of dining experiences together (posts forthcoming). And he's also a film buff and good writer. Here's his first guest post, comparing and contrasting the 4 movies based on the life of John Gotti:
On December 16, 1985, John Joseph Gotti, a capo (a high ranking made member of a crime family who heads a "crew" of soldiers), holding membership in the Gambino Crime Family orchestrated one of the boldest moves in mafia history by killing his then boss, Paul Castellano. After it was discovered that members of Gotti's crew were arrested for narcotics' trafficking, the then boss of the Gambino Crime family, Paul Castellano was believed to have begun plans to kill Gotti and those responsible in his crew for dealing drugs and "break up" the remaining members. In a believed pre-emptive strike, Gotti, along with co-conspirators Sammy "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, Frank "Frankie D" DeCicco, Robert "D-B" DiBernardo and Joseph "Joe Piney" Armone ordered the assassination of the Gambino Crime family boss.
Since that time, four biographical movies have been produced detailing the characters and events surrounding this conflict.
The first movie, Getting Gotti was made in 1994 for CBS and starred Anthony John Denison as John J. Gotti. This first accounting focused on Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney, Diane Giacalone, played by Lorraine Bracco (Goodfellas, Sopranos), and her attempts to build a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case against John Gotti and the Gambino crime family. This film, which also starred Ron Gabriel as Sammy Gravano and Peter Boreski as Aniello Dellacroce did not enjoy the success of subsequent films.
The second film, Gotti was released in 1996 by Home Box Office (HBO) and starred Armand Assante as John Gotti. This film production was written from the perspective of crime boss John Gotti and concentrated on his criminal activities from 1973 through his ascension to boss of the Gambinos. It details some of his early crimes, including his role in the killing of John McBratney (the alleged killer of Carlo Gambino's nephew) and subsequent time in prison for this murder, the conspiracy to assassinate his boss Paul Castellano (played by Richard C. Sarafian) and a series of other murders of both Gambino Crime family members and associates. In the end, it depicts the eventual betrayal by his underboss (second in command), Sammy Gravano (played by William Forsythe). Although this film has several historical inaccuracies, it is still a film which "mafia movie buffs" will enjoy. Armand Assante does an excellent job of portraying Gotti. Despite knowing what the real life Gotti looked like, I was convinced at times that I was watching the actual man on screen. The dialogue in the movie is at times hard to understand as it utilizes "street lingo", however it is true to life in its form and content. All in all, this Gotti movie (as of this date) is my favorite.
All four movies cast a list of good actors to portray key characters in the relating of this account. Several of the same actors starred in these various films, playing different characters. These actors included Vincent Pastore (Sopranos, This Thing of Ours), Frank Vincent (Goodfellas, Sopranos, Casino, Chicago Overcoat) and Tony Sirico (Goodfellas, Sopranos). Other notable actors starring in these films are Debi Mazar (Goodfellas), Frankie Valli (singer), Michael Imperioli (Sopranos, Goodfellas), Anthony Quinn (Zorba the Greek) and Dominic Chianese (Sopranos, Godfather 2).
A fifth biographical movie, titled Gotti:In the Shadow of My Father is in pre-production to be released in 2013. This movie directed by Barry Levinson will star actor John Travolta as the father of John Gotti and Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston as Victoria Gotti, wife of John Gotti. Al Pacino will portray Gambino underboss Aniello “Mr. Neil” Dellacroce.
The movie Sinatra Club also tells the story of John Gotti. Here Gotti is portrayed by Danny Nucci and tells the Gotti story prior to his becoming a made member of the Gambino Crime family.