Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 1968
Directed by
Martin Ritt
96 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

The Brotherhood

There would be a more than fair chance that Francis Ford Coppola and/or Mario Puzo were familiar with Martin Ritt’s Mafia film (the Corleones are briefly mentioned). There are quite a few similarities, starting with the family member who retreats, to Sicily after a hit, an army-trained younger brother who has a proper education, the changing face of the Mafia as they transform themselves into a corporation, the older generation versus the younger, and so on. The major difference is that The Brotherhood lacks the mixture of gravitas and spectacular violence that made Coppola's Godfather films so compelling.

Kirk Douglas (who also produced the film) plays Frank Ginetta, a middle-aged Mafioso who has inherited the family business from his murdered father. His college educated brother, Vince (Alex Cord) just back from Vietnam and newly married wants in and Frank sees big things ahead for the Ginetta brothers. But to his surprise Vince tries to muscle him out when the Syndicate want to go in a direction Frank refuses to go in. To make matters worse he discovers that Vince’s father-in-law put the finger on their father and his associates expect Frank to whack him.

The Brotherhood
belongs to the days when Hollywood had far more lenient standards when it came to verisimilitude and Douglas as a Mafioso is today much harder to swallow than it would have been back then, even if his performance is very effective. Alex Cord, an actor who understandably worked largely in television, on the other hand is unremarkable. The gaggle of actors playing the old Mafiosi and the general portrayal of their closed world stands up in a low key way to The Godfather released four years later but overall this is a minor effort from Ritt.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst