Lino Ventura was the only French actor to reach the top of the world box office
The famous Dino DE LAURENTIS has always had an incredible flair for financing mega hits. He knows how to draw inspiration from successes and make films that surf on these trends, whatever the genre. As a wise producer, he suspected that the shooting of “The Godfather,” produced by Paramount and based on a novel by Mario PUZO, could be a success at the Box Office, especially since Paramount had high expectations. In fact, “The Godfather” did much more than that by literally exploding the American box office at its release by remaining 26 weeks at the top of the box office and laminating the competition. The film was a massive success in all the countries where it was released and became one of the biggest hits in history.
The producer DE LAURENTIS has an idea in mind to release the film just after the exploitation of “The Godfather” and to take advantage of the public craze for the so-called “Maffia” films. To do this, he based his movie on a true story, “The Valachi papers” and reformed the duo Terence YOUNG (the director of the best James Bond) and Charles BRONSON.
He has the brilliant idea to enlist the French star of Italian origin, Lino VENTURA, to play the godfather in the film. On the other hand, knowing the popularity of BRONSON in France, the producer suspects that the presence of Lino VENTURA in the credits is an additional guarantee of wide success in our country.
The film, “The Godfather” describes the life of a rich family centered around the father, one of the biggest godfathers in the United States, “Cosa Nostra” describes the life of a man who will climb the ranks of the mafia and who will observe this organization from the inside. So we have an inside view, on the one hand, and on the other, an outside view. Moreover, the film, Cosa Nostra, is based on a true story while the movie, The Godfather, is a story, invented.
The film Cosa Nostra will be an international success in the United States, and the film will benefit from a major promotional campaign. The posters clearly show the violent side of the film. While the last productions with Charles BRONSON did not meet with massive success in the USA, “The Valachi papers” took advantage of the fashion effect linked to “The Godfather” and entered the US top 10 for several weeks and became one of the rare number one films at the US box office for Charles BRONSON, and even more for Lino VENTURA. It becomes an international success and took the lead in the box office in most European markets, including England. In France, the film was released in December to take advantage of the holiday season and quickly took the top spot at the box office, which is not a surprise since both actors are appreciated in France.
In conclusion, the success of the Godfather movie is essentially based on the massive success of the music composed by the great creator, Nino Rota. In contrast, the music of the movie Cosa Nostra (The Valachi papers), written by Riz Ortolani, doesn’t have the same artistic quality as that of The Godfather.