It starts in darkness, with Nino Rota’s famous score…
Into view comes Bonasera, the undertaker.
He describes a terrible attack on his daughter.
He is asking for justice. He wants the men who attacked her killed.
We’re in morally polysemous waters here.
The camera slowly zooms out, bringing into view the man he’s petitioning.
It’s Don Vito Corleone. The Godfather.
This opening scene establishes several things.
For one, you get the fact that The Godfather is a mafia boss who people come to for favors of a somewhat criminal kind. And that, rather than paying for those favors, they simply owe him a favor in the future.
Having seen the film many, many times, I knew all this.
Yet, watching it again recently, the scene still interested me.
Well, because I already understood the basics, I was able to think about the scene in a different way.
And I realized that one of its purposes is to get you on The Godfather’s side.
I mean, let’s face it. The man kills people. He threatens people. He launders money. And so on and so on.
Yet, for the film to work, you’ve got to be able to sympathize with his actions.
The Godfather reasons that it would not be justice to kill the men who attacked Bonasera’s daughter, because they did not kill her.
This gives us the perception that Don Corleone is fair.
Furthermore, he points out that Bonasera never came to see him before. He has never visited out of friendship. Bonasera is coming to him now only because he wants something: revenge.
So though it was Bonasera’s daughter who was brutally attacked, this makes us think of The Godfather as the aggrieved party.
And despite all that, The Godfather still agrees to handle Bonasera’s problem, asking nothing more of him than that he return the favor sometime, maybe never.
The Godfather is a criminal. He is head of a huge mafia family. He’s pretty damn evil.
Yet, only 10 minutes in and, if you’re anything like me, you’re cheering for him.
So, what’s all this got to do with the price of fish?
What strikes me is that, no matter how many times I see The Godfather, I still enjoy it. More important, I always see something new in it that I hadn’t seen before.
That’s the thing.
When you analyze something over and over and over again, you start to look at it in a deeper way.
Take something like a successful sales promotion. The more you look at it, the more you pick up.
On first look, the main benefit of the product being sold may stand out.
But then you look again. And because you now take the main benefit for granted, you might notice a deeper benefit or a little piece of information that you didn’t see before.
I’ve been writing copy for years. But just as I still watch The Godfather, I still read old promotions that I’ve read many times.
By doing so, it helps me notice a turn of phrase or clever technique that I might not have picked up in a first or second reading.
Whether it’s writing a promotion or reading it, whether it’s filling out a job application or reading one, whether it’s going over your company accounts or reading a report on the latest SEO techniques…
Or watching a classic film…
Don’t just read, watch, or listen to it once and think you’re done with it. Don’t think you’ve got everything you can from it.
Give it another look. Try to think about it from a different angle. If you were on one side of the argument before, play devil’s advocate and put yourself on the other side.
Not only does this help you to enjoy important things on a deeper level and hone your observational skills, it could shed a brand-new and unexpected light on something that could change the way you think.[Ed. Note: Glenn Fisher is the Managing Editor of Shortcut Publications, a division of Agora UK dedicated to finding new ways to generate extra income streams. Through his writing on information publishing, Internet marketing, and copywriting, Glenn has developed a loyal following, helping and inspiring thousands of readers to achieve personal and financial freedom. To receive Glenn’s free, daily e-letter, go here.]