Author Topic: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler  (Read 1469 times)

Offline MickeyCaddy

  • Posts: 90
  • Name: M Chanslor
"The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« on: February 11, 2019, 06:59:05 PM »
At the end of the movie The Godfather (1972), Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) orders the assassination of the four other Mafia dons. The murders are shown to be taking place while Michael is attending the baptism of his godson.

One of the dons, Emilo Barzini, was shot (along with his bodyguard) in front of the New York State Supreme Courthouse at 60 Centre Street in New York City. As the bullets fly, the bottom left of the frame is filled by the left rear fender of a black 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood.

As an owner of a black 1955 6219 (series 62), I searched for images of black 1955 Cadillacs for my archives, and found a still shot of this famous scene. I'd seen it many times before.

But something caught my eye; I zoomed in, and discovered that the gas filler cover (the left rear taillamp assembly) is unlatched. There's a gap under the chrome strip containing the reflector (the release button), and the entire unit is rotated slightly counterclockwise. Maybe someone on set was checking it out, and didn't latch the taillamp when they finished.

To me, this is one of the most widely-known appearances of a 1955 Cadillac in the media. I've been aware of it since The Godfather was released; but I had to chuckle when I found the unlatched taillamp. You can zoom in and see for yourself.

I've never seen this anomaly mentioned anywhere...wonder if anyone else has noticed? When an admirer compliments my car, I still occasionally play the "guess where the gas goes in" game, as I've done since I was five or six years old. I suspect I'm not the only one!

M Chanslor
CLC# 29849

Offline druby

  • Posts: 169
  • CLC Director Potomac Region
  • CLC Number: CLC #692
  • Name: Dan Ruby
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2019, 09:04:23 PM »
This was CLC Potomac Region's charter member Glen Cole's 1956 Cadillac Series 75 by Durham car used in Part 2 of The Godfather while filmed in Washington DC, he also provided a 1957 Cadillac Brougham used in the film as well. My father acquired the 56 in the mid 80's and sold it shortly after.
1949 Cadillac 4DR Sedan
1952 Cadillac Convertible
1953 Cadillac Coupe deVille
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
1959 Cadillac Fleetwood

Offline Barry M Wheeler #2189

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  • Name: Barry Wheeler
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2019, 11:07:55 PM »
In The Murderers, the movie that made Burt Lancaster a star, I believe they left the goddess up when the car pulled into the service station. I guess they got tired of closing it between takes. (1941 Cadillac 60S.)
Barry M. Wheeler #2189


1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville

Bill Young

  • Guest
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2019, 03:55:31 PM »
I noticed the left rear tail light not in the locked position from day one , however the Godfather Movies are generally so excellently done with regard to Automotive correctness that I have never said anything. They got the fact right that the initial 1946 Cadillac's came thru with silver painted wooden bumpers. I was amazed when in so many movies they cannot even get anything right with cars from back in the day. The same problem happens with other modes of transportation. Example :In the movie about Charlie Chaplin they show him sailing on the Normandie to Europe in 1950. The Normandie was Burned at her pier 88 in New York in February 1942 , a total loss. They also show him standing on the aft deck which was 3 rd. Class and the ship is sailing up the Hudson not down the Hudson. Stuff like this is unforgivable and makes a movie into a joke for me. I could list others.

Offline MickeyCaddy

  • Posts: 90
  • Name: M Chanslor
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2019, 05:39:57 PM »
Druby, that 1956 series 75 by Durham is a beauty - so classic and tasteful! On a side note, the black Fleetwood in the Godfather part 1 "baptism murders" scene is a series 60, not a series 75. It has the extended deck and chrome quarter panel strakes. Series 75 models used the short deck, smaller trunk lid, and plain quarter panels from the series 62 sedan.

Barry, thanks for the tip on The Murderers. Leaving the goddess up is sort of hilarious; to me, it's the focal point of the entire front of the vehicle!

Bill, good to know someone else caught the unlatched gas filler. When I first saw the movie I missed that; but I was very impressed that they used at least one 1946 model with the temporary wooden bumpers. I immediately knew what they were, and explained their presence to my friends.

I agree with you completely about the lack of accuracy in movie portrayals. I know most folks aren't aware of these types of errors, but they drive me nuts...glad I'm not the only one! The most recent example I know of is the opening scene in the currently released movie, Green Book. It shows the text "Inspired by a true story" over a black screen; then cuts to a street view of the Copacabana night club; and shows the text "New York City 1962", as a 1964 Chevrolet Impala drives away, and a 1964 Chevrolet taxi cab (likely a Biscayne) drives by. I was yelling at the screen the moment the action began.

At least the third vehicle appears to be age-appropriate: a 1959 Lincoln Capri.

*sigh*

Offline Lexi

  • Posts: 2004
  • CLC Number: 28634
  • Name: C.R. Foley
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2019, 05:40:31 PM »
Great post. I can be a stickler for detail but think I missed that Godfather detail (or just forgot-bad memory thing). Another scene in the Godfather that some may consider a continuity error is the famous funeral procession scene. Lots of 1955 and 1956 Cadillac Flower cars, a 1956 Cadillac Series 75 and a Packard hearse. If you look carefully one of the Flower cars looks like it might just be a convertible with the top down and filled with flowers. Hope I remembered that correctly. Anyhow, an old car guy associate of mine said that years ago some funeral homes would use convertibles especially if they did not own a real Flower car. If that is true, then perhaps we shall have to give a pass to that. Also making up for that would be the scene were "fat Clemenza" give a quick buff to his '55 Cadillac prior to his leaving for work, (to commit murder as a hitman). Also, while watching the new series Roswell, there is the recurrent use of a red 1951 Cadillac, yet some of the scenes were set in 1949. Clay/Lexi
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 05:48:43 PM by lexi »

Offline Barry M Wheeler #2189

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  • Name: Barry Wheeler
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2019, 07:33:17 PM »
One of my favorite authors, William E. Butterworth, is usually very accurate, but in ALL of his WWII novels, he cannot help adding a hundred digits to Packards of the era. He insists on calling them "280s" instead of 180s.

His current series about the early CIA uses scenes in Berlin, which is nice to envision some of the streets that I actually walked on from the Main PX back to Andrews Barracks. We lived in Zehlendorf which received little bombing damage during WWII. Beautiful city.

Another pet peeve is calling a revolver an automatic... (They only made one. Webley Fosbury.)
Barry M. Wheeler #2189


1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville

Offline jaxops

  • Mark Monaghan
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Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2019, 03:45:28 PM »
Anyhow, an old car guy associate of mine said that years ago some funeral homes would use convertibles especially if they did not own a real Flower car. If that is true, then perhaps we shall have to give a pass to that.

I never saw a director use a convertible in the Philadelphia area, probably because you could rent/borrow a flower car from one of your colleagues if you needed it.  Doesn't mean it didn't happen- just haven't seen it.  We usually used the body-pickup station wagon and sent it ahead to the cemetery, or tried to get most of the flowers into the hearse along with the casket.  We got a flower car much later on in a trade but it was a "dog" and spent its time in the "worn out cars from trades" garage with the beat up ambulances in Germantown.
1970 Buick Electra Convertible
1956 Cadillac Series 75 Limousine
1949 Cadillac Series 75 Imperial Limousine
1979 Lincoln Continental
AACA, Cadillac-LaSalle Club #24591, ASWOA

Offline Lexi

  • Posts: 2004
  • CLC Number: 28634
  • Name: C.R. Foley
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2019, 05:13:39 PM »
I had never heard of it either, though I am not in the "business". The fellow who told me was a former Funeral Director who operated in the 1950s. Think he operated in the GTA area, though Flower cars up here are so rare I can't say I ever remember seeing one on the road. Check out this funeral scene which I believe was shot in about 1960, probably in Montreal. Lots of vintage Cadillac Flower cars there. Clay/Lexi

Bill Young

  • Guest
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2019, 11:16:21 PM »
We could do a whole thread just about Cadillac mess ups in movies alone. Like the Agatha Christie movie The Mirror Cracked about 1981 , as the first scene opens there is a large mansion with a circular driveway and 1953 shows up on the screen and the next thing that shows up is a beat up junk 1959 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible. From then on the movie was a joke for me.

Offline veesixteen

  • Posts: 1174
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  • Name: Yann Saunders
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2019, 07:47:47 AM »
I used to be a regular on Internet's website for movie cars (IMCDB).
In the early days I identified many cars and reported also multiple "bloopers" relating to Cadillacs in the movies.
When I joined, the site had a dozen or so pages; now there are almost 600 of them (impossible to follow them all but still a GREAT site to test your own knowledge of Cadillacs - and thousands of other - cars). Sample page, below

https://www.imcdb.org/movie_1004509233-Johnny-Hallyday--Cadillac.html
Yann Saunders, CLC #12588
Compiler and former keeper of "The Cadillac Database"
aka "MrCadillac", aka "Veesixteen"

Offline MickeyCaddy

  • Posts: 90
  • Name: M Chanslor
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2019, 04:42:11 PM »
The Internet Movie Cars Database (http://www.imcdb.org) is an invaluable resource.

The same applies to the amazing New Cadillac Database (https://www.newcadillacdatabase.org/static/CDB/Dbas_txt/Intro.htm) – a virtual encyclopedia of Cadillac facts, figures, and lore!

On The New Cadillac Database index page, I clicked on the "Movies" link, and discovered a fascinating blurb about the actual 1955 Fleetwood that appeared in The Godfather, and is the subject of this thread – as it turns out, that Fleetwood was a SO model built for legendary composer Cole Porter!

From The New Cadillac Database:
"1 [Footnote and movie trivia]: Alan Boorstein has been a fan of the Cadillac Database for a very long time; he says he has it bookmarked on his computer and comes back again and again.  In June 2009, he was looking at this page and came across the 1955 Series 60 Special from "The Godfather" sequel.  In the scene you see the rear clip of the car and a gangster being shot on the courthouse steps.  According to Alan, the car used was a custom made version for the composer, Cole Porter. He had this car shipped to him in France, used it for one year and then gave it to his housekeeper.  Cole Porter apparently ordered a new Cadillac every year and none of them had the Cadillac badge, logo or "V" emblem on the hood or the trunk; he believed that they spoiled the beauty of the car."

Here’s a link to the above text:
https://www.newcadillacdatabase.org/static/CDB/Dbas_txt/Cad_flm2.htm
Scroll down to "Godfather, The".

Thank you Yann – for your comments, and for the incredibly meticulous work you do!
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 01:03:30 AM by MickeyCaddy »

Offline papas52cad

  • Posts: 246
  • Name: Peter Tomasino
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2019, 12:59:30 PM »
For those interested in mob movies...FYI, my 52 Fleetwood was the featured car an upcoming movie.  Yesterday I received word that it will hit the Big Screen mid 2019. It is called “MOB TOWN” and details of this true story about the NY state trooper, Ed Croswell, who thru under cover efforts, exposed the Mofia in the small town in NY, Apalachin back in 1957.
Here is the IMDB info with a bunch of pictures that were taken disputing filming here in update Ny, Newburgh, Rhinebeck and Port Jervis.
It was a lot of fun..and the old movie saying..HURRY UP AND WAIT...was a daily occurrence.
Enjoy the memories!
Peter

https://www.imdb.com/media/rm824470784/tt8722440/
1952 Fleetwood

Offline 35-709

  • Posts: 5360
  • The most valuable antique is an old friend.
  • CLC Number: 4719
  • Name: G. Newcombe
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2019, 01:25:34 PM »
 :)  Neat!
1935 Cadillac Sedan resto-mod "Big Red"
1973 Cadillac Caribou - Sold - but still in the family
1950 Jaguar Mark V Saloon resto-mod - Sold
1942 Cadillac 6269 - Sold
1968 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible
1935 Glenn Pray - Auburn Boattail Speedster, Gen. 2

Offline Marty Michaels

  • Posts: 39
  • Name: M Michaels
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2019, 10:50:17 AM »
The punch that hits nothing but air.There is one scene in the Godfather I still can't get over,it's not Cadillac related.The fight scene between Sonny and Carlo when Sonny throws Carlo over the little fence into the garbage.Sonny punches Carlo in the face Carlo goes flying except he misses Carlo by a mile you would think they would have shot that scene over.I still pointy it out every time.Marty M.
Marty Michaels
1947 6269
1941 6019s
CLC#26833

Offline Lexi

  • Posts: 2004
  • CLC Number: 28634
  • Name: C.R. Foley
Re: "The Godfather" movie - 1955 Cadillac taillamp/gas filler
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2019, 11:43:50 PM »
Yes, and the garbage can hits the fence (and not Carlo). Clay/Lexi

 

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