Scenes That I Love: Luca Brasi Is Just Happy To Be At The Wedding

97 years ago, on this date, Lenny Montana was born in Brooklyn, New York.

Montana started out as a boxer and a wrestler.  He eventually ended up working as a bouncer and a bodyguard for the leadership of the Colombo Crime Family.  However, Montana achieved his immortality as a result of veteran tough guy actor Timothy Carey turning down the role of Luca Brasi in The Godfather.  Brasi was the Corleone Family’s most feared enforcer and Carey, who had made a career out of playing psychos, was one of the most feared men in Hollywood, one who was rumored to have pulled a gun on more than a few directors.  (For the record, Stanley Kubrick loved him.)  When Carey turned down the role in favor of doing a television series, Francis Ford Coppola offered the role to Lenny Montana.  Montana may not have had Carey’s screen acting experience but he brought real-life authenticity to the role.  When Michael says that Luca Brasi is a “very scary man,” one look at Lenny Montana confirms it.  Unfailingly loyal to the family and willing to do anything for the Don, Luca Brasi represents the Family’s strength.  When Luca Brasi is killed, you know that the old era of the Corleones is ending as well.  Without Luca, the Corleones are in deep trouble.

My favorite Luca Brasi scene comes at the beginning of the film.  Surprised to be invited to Connie’s wedding, Luca wants to thank the Don personally.  Nervous about acting opposite Marlon Brando, Montana flubbed his lines.  The scene, with the flub, was kept in the film and it served to humanize both Luca and Don Corleone.  (The Don’s smile was due to the fact that Marlon Brando was having trouble not laughing.)  It’s a nice little scene, one that reminds us that even gangsters are human.

2 responses to “Scenes That I Love: Luca Brasi Is Just Happy To Be At The Wedding

  1. On the commentary track of the blu-ray, Coppola says he added a scene with Al Pacino and Diane Keaton discussing Luca, who he filmed sitting outside the room practicing his speech…it was added AFTER he botched the scene with Brando as a way to salvage the terrible performance…as you say, it humanized him which pays off big later in his last scene – won’t say how it plays out but c’mon everyone MUST have seen it by now?!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 3/13/23 — 3/19/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.