Montage Blog (The Godfather)

The Baptism Murders scene in The Godfather is a remarkable montage in which the juxtaposed shots convey a lot of information in a very short amount of time.  The scene uses parallel editing to show Michael Corleone being baptized in a church, while the men that work for him are assassinating the heads of the 5 families. The shots are interwoven together to indicate that both scenes are taking place simultaneously.

For this scene, I have ruled out it from being a metric montage as the shots do not abide by a specific set length of time. I also don’t think it’s a rhythmic montage, the scene does have visual continuity, it doesn’t seem to be the dominant element though. This essentially rules out overtonal montage. Furthermore, the scene doesn’t seem to be an intellectual montage because it doesn’t include meaningful shots that are unrelated to the film.

I think the scene is a great example of Einstein’s tonal montage. Editing decisions seemed to be made with the main intention of attaching deep emotional meaning to the shots. An example is how brief the killing shots were. Usually killing shots are far longer in length. This seems to have been done on purpose to provide the viewer with a state of shock due to the indifference that the main character’s men had while killing the family heads. I also think the ordering of the shots was intentional to draw further emotion. The shots jumped back and forth between the church and the killings. Thus, I think the parallel editing of the scene further solidifies the montage as being tonal.

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