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The Godfather Commentaries #49

“He had made headlines by purchasing the famed English racing horse Khartoum for the incredible price of six hundred thousand dollars and then announcing that the undefeated racer would be retired and put to stud exclusively for the Woltz stables.”

The Godfather, Chapter 1, Page 54, Paragraph 4, Sentence 18.

Italian peasants do not believe in animal rights. Yet, living or non-living, it is a peasant value to respect value itself.

In spite of Don Vito’s ruthless readiness to kill Khartoum, you can believe that he does not disrespect this great creature. For the Don, life and death are always present, and they are always – where possible – his to will. By having Khartoum executed, as we will see, he saves the lives of humans. This, for the Don, will be no sin. But, I can assure you, he does not forgive Jack Woltz for placing him in this situation. Why not? Because, he respects the money the horse is worth, yes. But more because he respects the power of the animal’s destiny no less than he respects the destiny of any man whose life he has decided must end.

You may reject Don Vito’s values, but you cannot argue that he fails to respect Khartoum. On the other hand, Jack Woltz has no respect for this amazing creature, any more than he respects the children, little girls, he preys upon, or anyone or anything else. Jack Woltz is a man without respect.

If we didn’t know this by any other means, the fact that he has chosen to remove a great racer from the racetrack would be sufficient. He is oh so very Hollywood. Picture this horse if you will. Picture his competitive force. Picture his will to dominate the track, to defeat his enemies, to win, to feel the glory of his prowess. Now, picture him sold as stud, and this alone, no chance ever to run the race again. Is this not a type of death in itself? And why?

For no other reason than to satisfy this evil man’s evil ego. This is a tragedy.

[originally posted March 18, 2012 at my Facebook]

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