Producer Jack Woltz Will See You Now!
One of the great movie locations for “The Godfather” was movie mogul Jack Woltz’s Beverly Hills estate: it’s home to the most shocking scene in the movie!
My wife Alex read that the mansion was close to where we live, and as it turns out, she was right – it was less than two miles away from us!
We drove by, and Alex was so excited when she realized that behind this simple front entrance was the legendary Jack Woltz estate! Here’s an aerial view of what lies behind the gate:
The exterior of Woltz’s mansion was also used as Whitney Houston’s estate in the film “The Bodyguard”. It’s an enormous Beverly Hills estate located just north of Sunset Boulevard and The Beverly Hills Hotel. The address is 1011 North Beverly Drive.
This magnificent estate was built in the 1920s, and had once been owned by William Randolph Hearst. It has sold several times in the past few decades, and was listed for sale at more than $115-million!
The Infamous “Horse Head” Scene!
Of course, this is the estate where Producer Jack Woltz refuses to grant Don Corleone just one favor: to let Johnny Fontaine star in his new war picture. The next morning, Woltz woke up with someone else in his bed with him…
Yes, he woke up with his triple crown-winning horse, Khartoum, in his bed – well, the head at least!
And It Was Real!
This is some of the best “Godfather” trivia. During rehearsals, a false horse’s head was used for the bedroom scene. For the actual shot, a real horse’s head was used, acquired from a dog-food factory. According to John Marley, his scream of horror was real – because it was all a secret: no one told him that a real head was going to be used!
“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
This is probably the most iconic line EVER from a movie…and yes, from the greatest film ever made…so my only question is this: did “The Godfather” read that line from a cue card?
Yes, He Probably Did!
Look at this behind-the-scenes picture, from the filming of the movie…priceless! Robert Duvall holds cue cards for Marlon Brando to read – just one of the many legendary tales of making “The Godfather”!
There are SO MANY incredible stories about the making of the film, starting with the behind-the-scenes antics of Marlon Brando!
Marlon Brando wanted to make Don Corleone “look “like a bulldog,” so he stuffed his cheeks with cotton wool for his audition.
For actual filming, Brando wore a mouthpiece made by a dentist; this appliance is on display in the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York.
If you really want to immerse yourself in this film, there is the perfect way to do it!
The Epic Godfather On Blu-Ray!
Thanks to a phenomenal effort by Paramount home video, you can now go deep, deep, DEEP into the history of “The Godfather”…like this blu-ray release, an amazing collection including all three films, plus hours and hours of extras!
Here are just some of the extras that are included:
“The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn’t,” reviewing in detail much of what has been said about Paramount’s mistreatment of Coppola, about casting fights (Steve McQueen as Michael?), about the studio’s assumption they were getting a quick-and-dirty B-movie, and about producer Robert Evans’ determination to keep his choice of director and unlikely actors under his wing.
“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”
There are so many great lines from the film – as well as great stories about the making of the movie, especially about the iconic cast: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and John Cazale.
James Caan Is Hot-headed Sonny!
Of course, James Caan also became a star as the hot-headed Sonny, who gets set up by his brother-in-law at a toll booth in Jersey…
Here’s a behind-the-scenes picture of the bullet angles for the blood squibs that have been put on Sonny’s face…
How Francis Ford Coppola tricked Marlon Brando
Paramount executives were adamant that Brando not be hired to play Vito Corleone because of the actor’s reputation for problems on set. Finally, they relented by providing conditions that they thought could never be met, including that Brando give them a screen test.
Director Francis Ford Coppola told Brando he wanted to test equipment and get a sample take, very carefully not phrasing the filming as a screen test. When the take had been filmed, even Brando was happy with it, saying he thought he’d gotten the appearance of being “mean-looking, but warm underneath.” In later years, Brando said he’d known all along it was a screen test.
There are many more great anecdotes about the film HERE:
Last year, The Tribeca Film Festival had an incredible cast reunion event:
I would have loved to hear that conversation! You can read more about it here:
Let me know if you’ve ever had the chance to visit Jack’s place!
Categories: 70's Cinema, 70's Music, Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Golden Globes, Great Films, Hollywood, James Caan, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized