Actually, it was really hard to hide his muscles, to make him look like he had been in the back of the train for 17 years, and we had to hide him under costumes. Inside the coat, we had to take out the lining and remove the sleeves of the sweater so his muscles looked like the bulk of the sweater. So he was just wearing a vest under that coat the entire movie. It was just his naked arms inside that coat."
“There weren’t a lot of contemporary mechanics introduced, like helicopters and zoom lenses. It was a tableau form of moviemaking, where the actors move in and out of frame, very straightforward. It was supposed to feel like a period piece… There was no discussion of lighting. I just did what I felt like doing. The design came out of the juxtaposition of the bright, cheerful garden party wedding that was going on outside, and the underbelly in this dark house. I used overhead lighting because the Don was the personification of evil, and I didn’t always want the audience to look into his eyes, see what he was thinking. I just wanted to keep him dark… (In those days) screens were so blitzed with light that you could see into every corner of every toilet and closet on the set. I’d always hear, ‘They have to be able to see it in the drive-ins….’ When the dark stuff started to appear on the screen, it seemed a little scary to people who were used to looking at Doris Day movies.” - DP Gordon Willis talking about The Godfather in Peter Biskind’s book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. Willis died yesterday at the age of 92.