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Mario Puzo’s ‘The Godfather’ archive goes to auction

The family of Mario Puzo has auctioned the writer’s personal archive which includes his papers from the famed ‘Godfather’ novels and movies.

The unforgettable opening scene to ‘The Godfather’…

A scene that could have been very different according to a three-page letter, that reads: “I do not believe that the courtroom setting represents the best way to open this picture.”

It was written in 1970 by producer Peter Bart to author Mario Puzo – just one of many suggestions in an opening dialogue about screenplay changes.

The letter is part of a collection dubbed ’The Mario Puzo Godfather Archive,’ which is going under the hammer on Friday.

Thousands of pages of manuscripts, outlines and screenplay drafts, make up the lot which is being auctioned by Puzo’s family.

It includes the 1965 Olympia typewriter on which Puzo is believed to have written ‘the Godfather’…

And the author’s copy of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Godfather bible,” a binder filled with notes that the director used during shooting.

Then there’s the letter Puzo wrote to Marlon Brando in 1970, which suggests Paramount Pictures wasn’t interested in the author’s casting suggestion.

It reads:
“They are very cool, seem to have other ideas.”
Puzo goes on to say:
“So unless you have read the book and want to use your muscle I guess thats it.”
There’s also correspondence between Puzo and Coppola, as they co-wrote the first “Godfather” screenplay.

Handwritten drafts and memos include the film’s most memorable lines such as…
“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
“What the hell is this?
It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”
A line, which in a draft of the screenplay, Puzo suggested read:
“Luca is with the fishes.”
He also suggests the camera cut to Luca Brasi at the bottom of the ocean.

One of the more amusing comments regards the famous horse’s head scene.

Next to the description detailing it’s discovery, Puzo writes:
“Francis, you rascal. Very clever.”
Another gem is this handwritten note:
“Change ANY resemblance to Sinatra of Fontane character.”
Proof that the character Johnny Fontane was indeed based on Frank Sinatra.

Also included in the lot are these huge sheets outlining Puzo’s creative process when he was writing ‘The Godfather’ novel.

The sheets are broken into scenes and locations – as well as book numbers.

Puzo died in 1999 aged 78.

His 68-year-old son, Anthony, said that the archive took up a lot of room and the family’s younger generation wasn’t as connected to “The Godfather.”

It’s being sold by RR Auction at its gallery in Boston’s North End on Friday evening.

They estimate it’s value to be at least 400-thousand-dollars.