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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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March 27, 2022 1:40 pm

CBS Sunday Morning,

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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March 27, 2022 1:40 pm

Host: Jane Pauley. David Martin looks back at the Kremlin's earlier quagmire in Afghanistan and how it relates to Ukraine, while Christina Ruffini visits the studios of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Plus: Seth Doane talks to a Russian oligarch critical of sanctions; Tracy Smith delves into the making of "The Godfather"; David Pogue examines one of Hollywood's most innovative directors, Buster Keaton; Lee Cowan reports on the controversy of trans athletes in sports; Kristine Johnson attends a museum exhibition curated by security guards; David Edelstein offers his Oscars predictions; and Faith Salie visits a sparkling exhibit of gems at the American Museum of Natural History.

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I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. The fighting in Ukraine is moving into a second month, with invading Russian forces largely held in check, but relentless Russian shelling continues to devastate the country. We'll have reports from national security correspondent David Martin in Washington, and Christina Raffini in Prague. But first, economic sanctions were among the West's first responses to the Ukraine invasion, aimed in particular at those so-called oligarchs. Russia's billionaire businessmen, many of them close to Vladimir Putin, who saw their assets frozen around the world. So just who are these mysterious oligarchs?

Seth Doan talks with one of them this morning. If you put your ATM card in the ATM... No, my card is blocked, you know, so I could not get any money. Mikhail Friedman made billions in Russia, and now the West is making him pay for it. It's so-called collateral damage, right?

You are collateral damage? Yeah, because you know what? Who cares about these greedy oligarchs? Ahead on Sunday morning, we get the rare chance to speak with a sanctioned Russian oligarch. Of course, it's Oscar Sunday, so we're going to the movies. Perhaps tonight's biggest prize is the Oscar for best picture. Tracy Smith this morning sits down with some of the stars, along with the legendary director of one of the best, best pictures ever. I'm just a second-rate director. Come on. But I'm a first-rate, second-rate director. Okay, that's it.

Just like that now. Hold it. 50 years ago, that second-rate director made a movie that still stands as one of the greatest ever. I'm going to make him an offering camera for you. We can walk past the camera. Let's just go. Francis Ford Coppola.

You slow down. You see he's directing this. And the story behind The Godfather, coming up on Sunday morning. They're breaking records on the track and in the pool, and making waves in the culture wars. Leigh Cowan will look at the complex debate surrounding transgender athletes. We don't have to be a swimmer to know the name Leah Thomas, a trans woman athlete at the center of an emotional debate. When it comes to women, they're just supposed to say, this transgender person is really bullied, so please make way for a transgender athlete. The hatred and vitriol that we are seeing in the world is just, it's obscene, and it's unacceptable. Balancing inclusion and fairness in sports.

Is it even possible? That question, later, on Sunday morning. Historian Douglas Brinkley has an appreciation of the life and times of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Plus, critic David Edelstein on the Oscars, humor from Jim Gaffigan, and more. On this Sunday morning for the 27th of March, 2022. We'll be right back. Despite 150,000 troops and superior firepower, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has stalled badly. David Martin remembers an earlier Russian invasion and finds some striking parallels. Long before Russia invaded Ukraine, long before you ever heard of Vladimir Putin, Russia invaded Afghanistan. By all accounts, the Soviet takeover was meticulously planned and skillfully executed.

It was Christmas of 1979, and Michael Vickers was working for the CIA. Nobody gave the Afghans a chance in 1979. Russia, back then it was still the Soviet Union, went in to install a puppet regime. Ten years later, the last Soviet tank rumbled out of Afghanistan, defeated by Afghan rebels, armed by a secret CIA operation run by Vickers.

Well, it was the only time the Red Army had been defeated in its history. It's only a month into Putin's invasion of Ukraine, and already what was supposed to be a cakewalk has turned into a bloody slog. Putin's in a probably even a tougher box than the Soviets were then.

A tougher box, how? And his economy is being destroyed. You have to look at this and see Russian power being destroyed, you know, both militarily and economically, and its international position, and, you know, how long are you going to let this go on?

Well, how long? The Soviets are in Afghanistan for 10 years. Is that the kind of time frame we're looking at for Ukraine? I think the time frame is shorter, but I don't see how Russia takes the pain over a sustained period of time. The Kremlin sent 100,000 troops into Afghanistan, 150,000 into Ukraine.

Soviet army, as bad as it performed in a lot of cases in Afghanistan in the 80s, did a lot better than the Russians are doing in Ukraine. Putin has been unable to achieve his initial goal of seizing the capital of Kiev and overthrowing the Zelensky government, although he is expected to regroup and try again. When people talk about Putin doubling down, what can he double down with? He's really doubled down on this population destruction strategy, the scorched earth strategy.

I mean, that's really all he's got left. If Putin succeeds in seizing Kiev and installing a puppet regime, what happens next? Well, I don't think a puppet regime could survive at all. The Russian army really can't pacify the country.

The population hates them. The parallels between the wars in Afghanistan and Ukraine are striking with one glaring difference. In 1985, when the Red Army was mired in Afghanistan, the man at the top in the Kremlin was the reform-minded Mikhail Gorbachev. He said, all right, we're going to try to win this war one last time.

I'll give you more troops, but you got a year or two to win it. Gorbachev, in effect, doubled down? He did double down. And then by early 86, he started looking for an exit. In the months and years after, the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed. Could Ukraine bring about the collapse of Putin's Russia?

I think for the first time in 22 years, his continued role is more of a question mark. Even if he survives, the Russian state is likely to be severely weakened. An invasion intended to restore the Russian empire. So now what does he do when you're losing for the first time?

You know, if you had won smaller victories and now you're losing big, what do you do? Radio Free Europe. You may have thought of this as a relic of the Cold War, but as Christina Raffini explains, its mission remains the same, fighting disinformation behind the Iron Curtain.

This is Christina Raffini. In the fight against disinformation, this is the front line. In Prague, writers, producers, and social media hosts for Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty are battling Kremlin propaganda. Our role is to provide surrogate journalism, essentially local journalism, in countries where freedom of the press is under assault. Jamie Fly is the president of RFE, which operates in 27 languages and 23 countries, including Russia. These are countries where the message is decided every day in a country where the message is decided every day in a government office about what people should see, what they should hear, what they should be told. What is it like covering this conflict as a Russian?

There is no easy way to talk about it. Sinya Sukulyanskaya is an anchor for RFE's Russian language network. I don't want to push anyone, and I think that people should come to conclusions themselves. They need to have the options, and that's the biggest problem with media in Russia. There are no other options. Those other options disappeared earlier this month when Russian President Vladimir Putin imposed a restrictive new media law, forcing almost all independent outlets to shut down. We were warned that unless we started to censor our content about the war in Ukraine that we would be blocked. We refused to censor, and so our websites are now blocked inside Russia.

And that's where Patrick Bowler comes in. In part it's a cat and mouse game where you try to anticipate what they're going to do and you react. He's the head of digital strategies, helping keep RFE and its consumers one step ahead of the censors. So is it kind of a race against time to stay ahead of whatever measure they're implementing?

They would block our site, then they might block the copy of our site, but then we just create another copy of our site and another copy. It's like whack-a-mole. That's right. The strategy seems to be working. Since the war began, RFE says its page views from inside Russia are up 51%. Getting past Russian censors is familiar territory to RFE.

It started in the 1950s as a Cold War counter propaganda machine. Radio Free Europe combats the Soviet lie with 21 transmitters. Piercing the iron curtain with shortwave radio broadcasts. Radio Free Europe needs and deserves our generous help. It claimed to be entirely funded by public donations, but that wasn't true.

As CBS's Mike Wallace reported in 1967. Radio Free Europe needs your support. If you responded to the many appeals for Radio Free Europe, then you became part of a CIA cover.

CIA involvement ended in 1971 and RFE became an independent agency, openly funded by Congress. Still, since the fall of the Soviet Union, the organization has seen its relevance questioned and its funding slashed, even as Moscow has retooled its messaging machine for the digital age. It is harder to reach audiences now. State propaganda today is much more sophisticated. We have to compete more and have to be more relevant and nimble than we did during the Cold War to adapt to new audiences trends. Far from a Cold War relic, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty says its mission is now more relevant than ever.

Earlier this month, Congress increased the agency's budget 15%. Information, honest, truthful, objective reporting will play a huge role eventually in helping bring about change inside Russia. Do you think ultimately truth will win out? Everyone in this building subscribes to that notion, otherwise they wouldn't be working for Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty. Among those targeted by Western economic sanctions, Russian billionaires, the oligarchs we've heard so much about in recent weeks. So who are they?

What's their response to Vladimir Putin's so-called special military operation in Ukraine? Here's Seth Doan. You have billions of dollars in a bank. Yeah, I have a pretty sizable amount of money. But you can't touch it?

No, not at all. He's a billionaire in an unusual predicament, no access to cash, because this month Mikhail Friedman became yet another Russian oligarch to be slapped with those economic handcuffs, sanctions. How did you learn you were sanctioned? From TV. Oligarchs in London will have nowhere to hide.

We're coming for you, ill-begotten gains. All of these measures will significantly harm Putin's ability to finance his war. To punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine, the US and its allies are foregoing military intervention and using the financial weapon of sanctions aimed at both the state and on individuals deemed close to Putin. Flashy assets are being seized and bank accounts frozen. If you put your ATM card in the ATM? No, my card is blocked, you know, so I could not get any money. Friedman, who made his billions in banking and retail, but now lives in London, is on the UK and EU sanction lists.

I wouldn't expect you to tell me on camera, but I would think that a billionaire must have a lot of money. No, no. Somewhere. There must be an account. There must be, but it's not.

Seems hard to believe. But that's why I'm here. That's why I'm here, because I would like to explain sanction against us, unfair, useless, for what? What did we do wrongly, except we're doing business in Russia? Can't a wealthy Russian businessman close to Putin have some impact? So first of all, you should understand that the power distance between Mr. Putin and everybody around him is huge.

Even assuming that I want to deliver any messages, I don't have any channels to do that. You can't make billions in Russia without being close to the Kremlin. Yeah, that's very typical and an inappropriate myth. Majority of Russian private business people do not have any personal ties with Mr. Putin. From his earliest days of political power, Putin has been using corruption as a tool to enrich himself and expand his power.

Everyone swims in that water. Author Tom Burgess wrote Kleptopia, how dirty money is conquering the world. He says the West has been gorging on Russian money, whether in property, this is Friedman's 85 million dollar London mansion, now a frozen asset, or sports teams. Chelsea Football Club, one of the world's most valuable franchises, is owned by sanctioned oligarch Roman Abramovich. How do you know this is dirty money that's being blocked by these sanctions? Dirty money is quite a hard thing to define.

You could make the argument that anyone who has made and retained an enormous fortune in a dictatorship we know to be profoundly corrupt, then that person is to some greater or lesser extent complicit in that regime's power. Still, to show us that his money is clean, Friedman sent us this audit by Ernst & Young, which he commissioned. He's a man straddling different worlds. He's Russian and Jewish and was born and raised in what is now Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. I've been always in contact with Ukrainian authorities, including President Zelensky. What do you think of President Zelensky?

I think he's the president of independent country and he is a very brave and strong person, as far as I understand. In a letter to employees before he was sanctioned, Friedman wrote, war can never be the answer. He's one of the few oligarchs to speak out against the invasion of Ukraine. You've said you're against the war.

I'm against the war. But you can't criticize Putin. I think that right now in climate is Russia is not very tolerant with regards to that. Mr Putin recently made a very clear speech regarding traitors, you know, kind of enemies of the state. Do you think he was talking about you?

I don't know. I definitely do not believe that I am enemy of the state. Do you think you're a traitor in Putin's view?

I hope not, but it looks like. What does that mean for you? It's a very difficult situation by any dimension. In all of the people suffering in this war, many do not have a lot of sympathy for Russian billionaires. You're right.

And I understand that's attitude. Friedman acknowledges the effectiveness of the wider sanctions that have crippled Russia's economy, but claims he's collateral damage. What about presumption of innocence, things like that? That's just decision of unknown bureaucrats who decided that I am guilty by definition because I'm Russian lawyer, just to feed public demand to punish them. Friedman says, where's the due process in this?

Friedman has a point. There are civil servants and politicians writing names on lists. What you really want is a criminal process, right? If someone is guilty of corruption, you can prosecute them for that.

The danger with sanctions is that they start to create this system outside the rule of law, where people are targeted with very little due process. Yeah. The Good Fight, the final season, now streaming exclusively on Paramount Plus. Hi, podcast peeps. It's me, Drew Barrymore.

Oh my goodness. I want to tell you about our new show. It's the Drew's News Podcast. And in each episode, me and a weekly guest are going to cover all the quirky, fun, inspiring, and informative stories that exist out in the world because, well, I need it.

And maybe you do too, from the newest interior design trend, Barbie Corps, to the right and wrong way to wash your armpits. Also, we're going to get into things that you just kind of won't believe and we're not able to do in daytime television, so watch out. Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts.

It's your good news on the go. It's one of the hottest debates in sports, the inclusion of transgender athletes in competition. And as Lee Cowan tells us, there are no easy answers. 21-year-old Lucas Draper is not someone you want to challenge in the gym. Just watching his sit-up routine is enough to make your abs hurt. Lucas is a junior on the men's swimming and diving team at Oberlin College in Ohio. I was in the water before I could walk. I started swimming competitively when I was about nine.

He came here to compete from Australia, but after he broke his hand, he decided that this season he'd just compete on the men's diving team instead. Although you might not recognize him from a distance, that's Lucas in a women's bathing suit. Do I still wear the women's suit because I haven't had any sort of surgery?

I would like to at some point. The women's suit hides what a men's suit can't. Until last year, Lucas had been competing on Oberlin's women's team. This past November, he began a regimen of testosterone therapy as part of his transitioning to a man. I was a tomboy from the moment I could walk.

I always felt a little bit lost and a little bit like I didn't fit in. He says he's happier now than he's ever been. This is the first season that you've been competing as a man. How does it feel so far?

It feels good. Lucas's transition has been supported by his coaches and by his teammates at Oberlin, but that kind of acceptance isn't enjoyed by all transgender athletes, especially trans women. 22-year-old Leah Thomas is arguably one of the most controversial and yet accomplished collegiate trans swimmers competing today. For three years, she swam on the University of Pennsylvania's men's team, but after taking some time off, returned this season to swim with the women, and she has become a phenom.

Nobody will touch Leah Thomas. In a sport often defined by just fractions of a second, Leah Thomas is sometimes so far ahead she's seen waiting for her competitors to catch up. NCAA rules require trans women athletes to take testosterone suppression therapy for one year before competing. Leah Thomas has been on it for twice that long, and while her times have slowed since she was swimming as a man, her winning streak has sparked a firestorm over just how to balance fairness and inclusion. That is a new Ivy League meet record. In many sports, men are, you know, 10 or 20 percent better on average, and if you look at the most elite performers, men are far, far and ahead of what women are able to do. And that's where the fairness question comes in.

Absolutely. Dr. Michael Joiner is a physiologist who researches human athletic performance at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. After studying Leah Thomas's times from male to female, he says statistically she is an outlier. The emerging evidence is that there are legacy effects of testosterone, especially people who have been through puberty as males and had exposure to testosterone for prolonged periods of time. He expects that Leah's testosterone suppressants have indeed lowered her hormone levels down to those of cisgender women.

Those are women whose gender identities match the sex they were assigned at birth. But Joiner says that hormone therapy can't reverse everything. Height's probably not reversible. Hand size, foot size, some of the issues related to muscle mass, lung size and other things probably are never going to revert completely, if at all. Trans women will maintain advantages, but are those advantages large enough to preclude meaningful competition?

Not clear at all. Joiner Harper is a visiting fellow studying transgender athletic performance at Loughborough University in England. She wonders if the advantages that trans women may have may also come with some disadvantages. The bigger bodies of trans women are now being powered by reduced muscle mass, reduced aerobic capacity. That can lead to disadvantages and things like quickness, recovery, endurance, etc. Her published studies are among the few that have been done on trans athletes, a field that she got interested in as a competitive runner when she began her own transition from a man to a woman back in 2004.

Within nine months of starting hormone therapy, I was running 12% slower and that's the difference between serious male distance runners and serious female distance runners. As a scientist, I was intrigued. She's now in the process of conducting a more long-term study of trans athletes. Nobody's really done that yet on this scale?

On any scale. That's in part because transgender people only make up an estimated 1% of the population. Elite trans athletes are only a tiny fraction of that.

That said, many in competitive swimming say we don't need exhaustive studies to decipher what they say is plainly evident. To have somebody competing who does have this unfair advantage, even if they don't win, it still corrupts the field. Nancy Hogshead-Makar won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

They think that women should just move over and say, here you go, you take these spots. She now heads Champion Women, an advocacy group for women's equality in athletics. Leah Thomas has already greatly impacted women's sports. When Leah's in the finals, it means another woman doesn't make it into the finals. You're not against trans athletes, you're just against trans women competing in the women's category.

Correct. When it comes to competitive sports is where I would draw the line. I do think that transgender people have a really hard time in society, and I want that to be easier. But we can't ask women to give up what we've worked so hard for so that transgender women are able to compete. That argument has already forced some changes. This year, mid-season, the NCAA announced that it was abandoning its rules that have allowed trans athletes to compete since 2011.

It will now, in the future, leave it up to the governing bodies of each sport to come up with their own rules. At the legislative level, laws that ban trans women and girls from participating in sports are getting more and more common. 22 states have introduced bills just like that this year alone.

These bills are devastating. They are telling trans kids that they do not belong, even the ones who don't want to play sports, because it says, hey, you don't belong in one of the primary activities that children partake in. Skyler Baylor was the first openly trans man in Division One swimming. He's now an advocate for transgender inclusion. Is there any middle ground in this debate? I don't think that there is space to say, yes, I affirm your identity, but I don't in sport.

You can't divide me in half and have my transness and my masculinity show up here and not over here. All season, he's been cheering Lea Thomas on, but he worries if she's excluded from sports, just where does it stop? At what point is a woman too tall or her hands too big? At what point is a woman not woman enough? Does she go in with an advantage? I think biodiversity exists everywhere, and the reality is people win and lose all the time, and nobody considers that unfair until it is a marginalized person, specifically a black or brown woman and or trans woman.

And you can see and feel the tension in this building. All eyes were on Lea Thomas recently at the NCAA National Finals, where she didn't break any records, but she did become the first known transgender athlete to win a Division One championship. While some celebrated, others were angry. Clearly the debate is far from over. As for Lucas Draper, he's really not sure what the answer is, but a willingness, he says, to dive into the debate is at least a start at finding a solution. People who identify as transgender are very much in the minority. People just don't understand where people like me are coming from.

So where are you coming from? I just want to be me. And me isn't my private parts.

It's who I am inside. Madeline K. Albright, diplomat, Secretary of State. Historian Douglas Brinkley has our appreciation. There was something indomitable about Madeline Albright, who died this past week at age 84. It is an honor to represent the United States at this historic meeting. History will remember her as the first woman to serve as America's Secretary of State, while the fashionistas will forever swoon over her brooches. Flowers or balloons meant she was optimistic. Turtles or crabs signified exasperation.

The game has changed and the rules to the new one are still being written. During the 1990s and beyond, Albright was our star-spangled hammer-up democracy, a Theodore Roosevelt big power realist with an Eleanor Roosevelt-infused human rights disposition. Our goal is a region where no nation seeks to dominate others. Vladimir Putin considered her a pro-democracy zealot, while Saddam Hussein labeled her an unparalleled serpent.

But to this child of Czechoslovakian refugees who fled from Nazi invaders and communist strongmen, these criticisms were boasting rights. When Bill Clinton was re-elected president in 1996, there was a hunt to find a new Secretary of State. Virtually all of Clinton's advisors wanted Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia to get the nod. But Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton favored Albright. Congratulations, Madam Secretary.

It proved to be an inspired choice. As a mother of three children, she refused to tolerate Saddam Hussein's ethnic cleansing of Kurdish villages and Slobodan Milosevic's genocide in Bosnia. As we watch the Ukrainian war unfold, let's keep Madam Secretary in our minds and hearts.

For Albright's motto is the one that President Zelensky is now nobly defending. Never take democracy for granted. Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughter's wedding day. Can you believe it's been 50 years since we first met the Corleone family?

50 years on, The Godfather has taken its place high on the list of classic Hollywood movies. From Tracy Smith, we have an offer you can't refuse. I want you to rest well and a month from now this Hollywood big shot's going to give you what you want. It's too late. They start shooting in a week.

I'm going to make them an offer you can't refuse. You probably remember the first time you saw The Godfather, and by now you can likely recite all the characters best lines. From Clemenza's cannolis, leave the gun, take the cannoli, to Sonny's bada bing. You got to get up close like this, bada bing, you blow their brains all over your nice cyber league suit. The film came out half a century ago in March 1972, and when it did, the real mob was at the theater. Why do you come out here in the rain to wait like this?

To catch cold and if I have chance to see Marilyn Brando. The Godfather broke all box office records at the time. Not bad for a film made by a director who, at first, didn't even want to make it.

Back then, Francis Ford Coppola was a young filmmaker in business with another young gun, George Lucas. But when Coppola first read Mario Puzo's book, The Godfather, he was underwhelmed. And I thought this is just sort of salacious, trying to make money kind of book, and so I disregarded it. When they offered it to me, I turned it down.

What changed your mind? George Lucas came to me and says, Francis, we're going broke. They're going to chain the door for the lack of paying the rent of our American zoetrope studio, and you have to do this. We have no other alternative.

We need the money. So Coppola took the job, framing it as a dark tale of family succession, and almost immediately began to butt heads with Paramount Studio Brass. I was very young. I was 29. I had no power.

They could easily push me around, which they did and tried to. Coppola wanted New York stage actor Al Pacino to play Michael. The studio wanted anyone but, and considered people like Robert Redford, Ryan O'Neill, and Warren Beatty. They also wanted Sir Laurence Olivier in the title role, but Coppola held out for Marlon Brando. At 46, and in top physical shape, Brando didn't look anything like an aging Don.

Don, I cannot do. But with some world-class makeup, he was able to transform himself into a character he knew just how to play. We've known each other many years, but this is the first time you ever came to leave a council for help. The cat was Coppola's idea. It was a studio cat. I just put it in his hand.

He would never say, what do you want me to do? I joke that like if he's in a scene, Brando was in a scene and a herd of buffalo ran by in character. He was, oh, look at the buffalo. You know what I'm saying?

Yeah. He would make use of anything. He was great. He was a genius.

No doubt about it. I'm glad you've had your drink. And talk about genius, Robert Duvall as family attorney Tom Hagen did this scene in two takes. They shot Sonny on the causeway.

He's dead. As always, Duvall had his lines down cold. Brando probably didn't. He didn't like to memorize lines?

Yeah. Well, he claimed that by seeing the lines, he could be fresher. I think it was a form of laziness. I mean, in the scene with Pacino out in the backyard, he had a great big sign in a tree. He'd look up at the tree and say the lines from off the tree way up, you know. That's wild, but it just looks like he's thinking. Yeah. Well, you know, he was able to do that. But even with all that talent, Coppola was in constant fear of losing his job.

The studio hated his ideas and some of the crew, he says, would badmouth him behind his back. This one. All these people here and you look so alone. Well, that's really, this picture is how I felt during the picture. I just, I was not a happy camper, as they say. Coppola wasn't totally alone.

He'd cast two allies as Corleone siblings, James Caan as Sonny and his real-life sister, Talia Shire, as Connie. But they feared the worst. For those first couple of weeks that we were all shooting, Francis's job was in jeopardy.

Yeah. I mean, and so our sister shouldn't have been on that set, I will tell you that, because it was very, very tough. But a turning point came after Paramount execs saw the dailies for this scene, where Al Pacino, as Michael, prepares to kill two of his family's mortal enemies. The sound of the train helps build tension that you can feel and see behind Pacino's eyes until the moment he strikes. But for all the shoot-em-up, some at Paramount worried that the Godfather as scripted wasn't violent enough.

Coppola says they actually wanted to hire someone to pump up the action in the film, so he choreographed the violent fight scene between Talia Shire's character Connie and her no-good husband, Carlo, played by Gianni Russo. And I remember the plates were heavy, so I'd go, and it wouldn't break, and it didn't break. And so my shoes came off, and I kept just running around in the broken things, because you don't want to take two. But it was intense. Talk about intense. For the scene where Sonny is gunned down at the toll booth, technicians were asked to take the plates, and they were asked to take the plates. For the scene where Sonny is gunned down at the toll booth, technicians wired everything with small explosive charges called squibs to simulate bullet strikes. On me, I had 147. Around the toll booth, it was 5,000.

Oh, Jesus. Were you scared? A little, but there were girls on the set, and I had to do it. I swear I wish I was lying.

The result was a shockingly realistic ballet of brutality that looked lethal, and actually could have been. It would blow a hole in your hand if you put your hand right here like that. You can't do it many times, right? You don't want to take two. That's a... Take two? Are you crazy? No. You're still like an older brother. Like, you know that?

Marron. And the winner is Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather. The first Godfather movie won three Oscars, but it was bigger than that.

You come here unannounced on the day my daughter is to be married. It changed our culture in ways that still resonate today, from The Simpsons to The Sopranos. Is it true, Michael? No. But even if you've seen it a hundred times, you haven't seen it like this for a while. The studio restored The Godfather in time for the anniversary, so now it once again looks like the vision Francis Ford Coppola went through a kind of hell to make. I would imagine that the wounds have healed by now.

I don't know. The wounds really... I mean, do you have some episode in your life when you were a young woman that hurt you and you think about it? Does it not hurt you anymore?

No, you're right. It still hurts. It still hurts? Because we are creatures of feelings, and those feelings get linked with something, and if you go back and think on that subject, it could break your heart again. Coppola, of course, went on to be recognized as one of the greatest directors of all time, and he told us that ultimately, he's glad he took the job.

Aren't we all? The Godfather was a new way to show an Italian-American gangster film with a different sensibility, so of course, always the movie you do that is something a little different is rejected in its own time, but years later, it becomes the new. Now then, Godfather becomes the standard to measure against. In other words, art is a ever-blossoming flower that we're all part of. It's a beautiful thing, really. Every parent says it. Kids grow up so fast.

But no one says it like our Jim Gaffigan. As many of you know, I have five children. It would be sad if I looked like this and I didn't have five children, right? My daughter's four, my son's two.

I tell you, it's exhausting watching my wife do all that work. Over the years, I've done tons of stand-up comedy complaining about my young children. My three-year-old's now four. I also have a nine-year-old and an eight-year-old and a two-year-old and a one-year-old. I have five kids.

I used to have more, but I ate them. I even wrote a book whining about how my young children made my life hell. And yes, I've come on this very show many times and grumbled about how hard my life with my young children was. Well, I'd like to apologize.

I was wrong, dead wrong. Having five young children was a beautiful thing. I know that now because I presently have five not-young children, and my life is absolutely horrible. I remember thinking, if we could just get these kids out of diapers, our lives will be so easy. I was naive, arrogant, and yet offbeat good-looking. I didn't know back then when a stranger would see me with my young kids and volunteer, you're gonna miss this.

I thought they were weirdos with no boundaries. I didn't realize that stranger was bestowing a warning upon me that every adorable toddler eventually transforms into a tormenting teen, executing the karmic revenge of our own parents. I'm glad I didn't know every school morning with not-young children would feel like a theatrical revenge of the fall of Saigon.

It's for the best that I didn't realize that the smell of a full diaper was sweet compared to the odor of a teenage boy's anything. I guess my message to the parents of young children is this. It doesn't get better. It gets worse.

Anyway, have a nice Sunday. It's a Sunday morning tradition. David Edelstein handicaps Oscar's big night.

Sort of. This year's Academy Awards promise a new level of bummer. Now I admit I always make fun of the show, but I've never before wondered why does this thing still exist? Oscars traditionally celebrate movies that are both commercial and important, but now you only get that combo on TV. Everything's in flux and everybody's angry.

Under pressure to speed up, it's giving eight awards before airtime and showing just the highlights. Jessica Chastain vowed not to walk the red carpet, but to sit inside with the people who did her peepers in the eyes of Tammy Fay. Oh yeah, this is who I am. Do you even have a dog in the best picture fight? For a while, the most powerful dog looked like Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog, a portrait of sexually repressed cowboys, which I found haunting, though I did need someone to explain the ending. Kenneth Branagh's autobiographical drama Belfast has more middle-brow oomph, but there's a dark horse, Coda, about a family of deaf fishermen. It's very touching. It's totally conventional, which could be the ticket.

I can't stay with you for the rest of my life. If you can still focus on Oscars, Will Smith will likely win for King Richard. He's Venus and Serena Williams' dad. Venus and Serena gonna shake up this world. Best actress I'm less sure of. Spencer's Kristen Stewart is pick your superlative, but Jessica Chastain has the edge. Academy members want to give thumbs up to people who give the Academy thumbs down. I expect it will be an unpleasant muddle of a ceremony in the service of an irrelevant medium in a year in which nothing is certain but uncertainty, which means it might be the most freakishly riveting Oscar ever, where everyone at home and in Hollywood is constantly asking, why does this thing still exist? Thank you for listening.

Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. best chance of taking a Democratic seat away. Nevada, New Hampshire. Not Georgia. Well, Georgia's right up there, but New Hampshire is a surprise. In New Hampshire, people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hassan. For more from this week's conversation, follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 15:24:50 / 2023-01-29 15:40:52 / 16

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