An excerpt from 3way’s script review for The Many Saints of Newark which will be available 07/19/22:
Let’s take a gander…
Logline:Young Anthony Soprano is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark, N.J., history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters start to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family. Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, whose influence over his nephew will help shape the impressionable teenager into the all-powerful mob boss, Tony Soprano.
There are things here to like from a script perspective.
One good thing is that you do not have to watch Sopranos before seeing this film. Yes, there are callbacks (call-forwards?) to be noticed by fans of the show, but nothing that is essential to understanding the plot and what is happening in the story. The writers have left it open to a wider audience. Ten years ago, it felt like everyone had seen Sopranos, but lately I seem to come across more and more people who have never seen an episode, so it was the right move to make it accessible to everyone.
For the most part, the writing was clear and concise. This wasn’t much of a surprise, since I think it’s safe to say David Chase has proved his mettle around Hollywood. I wasn’t familiar with Lawrence Konner, so I checked out his IMDb page. Not a whole lot there that’s overly impressive (besides the fact that he’s carved himself out a good career), but he did have a story credit on Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country (a very good film!) along with writing two episodes of Sopranos and three of Boardwalk Empire. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention he was a writer on the Stephen King TV adaptation Sometimes They Come Back. I happen to like that movie…. sue me.
The opening of the script does leave me slightly confused:
SUPER: NEW YORK, 1911 B/W ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE of the Statue seen through a ship’s porthole.
CORRADO SOPRANO (15, Johnny and Junior Soprano’s ancestor) wipes sick off his mouth with his shirt sleeve, looks through
POV: several black stevedores work the ropes on the pier.
SOPRANO (subtitled Italian)
We’re in Africa!
Santa Maria, the ship must have gone off course.
I understand we are seeing when the first Soprano arrived in America, but I have no idea why we are seeing this. We never go back to him, it’s never referenced by others, so why does it need to be in the script? It adds nothing to the narrative. Can someone tell me if this is in the film?
From there we move into 1967, and the remainder of the story takes place between then and 1972. Tony Soprano is in the story as both a kid and a teenager, but I was somewhat surprised to find that he’s a minor character overall. The film’s protagonist (as much as a murdering gangster can be called that) is Dickie Moltisanti – the father of Christopher, played by Michael Imperioli in the HBO series. Here Dickie is played by Alessandro Nivola, and he is somewhat of a mentor to young Tony. When Tony’s father Johnny gets sent to prison, it seems that Dickie is mostly running the crime family, even though Johnny’s brother Junior is ostensibly in charge. Most of the story focuses on Dickie trying to balance his life of crime along with his wife and a mistress. Turns out, he doesn’t have the talent for such a high-wire act – the future adult Tony was far superior in this regard.
With the writing being decent for the most part, I will mention out that I liked the quick and unobtrusive way they pointed out real events that were being pictured in the story.
EXT. SOPRANO HOUSE- NEWARK- DAY
Janice and Tony are on the front porch watching a parade.
ANGLE: PROCESSION. ANTHONY IMPERIALE, “The White Knight”, leader of an Italian brownshirt organization. (Historic figure). He rides a white stallion, microphone in hand. We also see a BANNER, “NORTH WARD FIRST AID SQUAD”. He is followed by several cars and twenty or so white men on foot carrying bats and a few guns.
Citizens of the North Ward, from
now on, when the black panther
comes, the white hunter will be
I was unfamiliar with Mr. Imperiale and would have had no idea they were depicting real events. In both cases, a quick aside in parentheses clued me in. Efficient and not distracting. I like it.
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