Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

America's Insatiable Appetite for Gangster Movies Gets a Three- Course

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

America's Insatiable Appetite for Gangster Movies Gets a Three- Course

Article excerpt

AMERICA'S insatiable appetite for gangster movies gets a three-course fulfillment in the CBS miniseries based on "The Last Don," a bestselling novel by Mario Puzo.

Some might call it "The Godfather Revisited," since it contains all the elements of Puzo's neo-classic: love, revenge, inter-family warfare, executions, lavish living - all under a code of criminal behavior dictated by a supreme boss.

This time the don is Danny Aiello (The movies' original Godfather, Marlon Brando, toyed with an offer to play the role. But he could and did refuse). Aiello will be exercising his sinister side at 8 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday on Channel 4. The impressive cast of "The Last Don" includes Joe Mantegna, Kirstie Alley, Daryl Hannah, Penelope Ann Miller, Jason Gedrick, k.d. lang, Burt Young, Robert Wuhl and Seymour Cassel. The director is Graeme Clifford. Weeks ago, the movie was filming at the Ambassador Hotel, onetime scene of Academy Award banquets and high life in Coconut Grove - as well as the Robert Kennedy assassination. The venerable hotel entertained its last guests years ago, but is in constant demand as a film location. In fact "The Last Don" shared the hotel and grounds with four other film companies shooting at the same time. Mantegna's trailer was among those near the pool, where movie stars once sunned and bathed. He plays Pippi De Lena, a relatively benevolent member of the - Clericuzio family. Mantegna is no stranger to the mafia genre, having appeared in "The Godfather, Part III" and "Bugsy." Mantegna analyzed the appeal of Puzo's stories: "The accoutrements are there: the mob world, the action, the violence, and all of that. The story is really about the people and their relationships ... - "It's almost Shakespearean, not in style but in plot. Lots of skullduggery, revenge, passion. Just like your average American family, only they eat a little more red sauce. …

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