Godfather: Tom Hagen

Patrick Larkin

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I've never been able to figure out my Michael gives Tom Hagen the boot as consigliori. The only explanantion is that he's not a "wartime consigliori" but he's never replaced. Am I missing something? Is he being blamed for the mess the family is in during the Don's hiatus?
 

Chad R

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In that same scene Michael mentions that there's no better advisor than his retired Father, so although not offically filling the post, Vito takes thsoe responsibilities. I don't think tom is blamed for the mess, Vito says he thought Sonny was a bad Don, I just think Tom was a better lawyer than consiglieri (however its spelled).
 

Michael Reuben

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Tom is out because only Michael and his father can know what they're planning. Remember what Vito says to Michael in the garden: Whoever approaches you after my death with a meeting proposal is a traitor. They suspect they already have a traitor after Sonny's death, and they don't know who can be trusted. (Vito reminds Michael to tap all the phones, because "it could be anybody".) As a precaution, they exclude everyone but the two of them from knowledge of their overall plans.
None of it is a reflection on Hagen. It's a recognition that anyone could turn on Michael once his father is gone. As things play out, it's Tessio, who was every bit as trusted as Hagen was.
Note that, once Michael knows who has sold out to Barzini (and, by implication, who hasn't and can now be trusted), Hagen is back in and integrally involved in the assassination of the heads of the five families.
M.
[Edited last by Michael Reuben on October 15, 2001 at 01:07 PM]
 
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I think what Michael (Reuben not Corlenone!) has said is right, but I think in addition the move emphasises Hagen's role as almost but not quite one of the family. [spoiler alert] Even in GII when Michael says he regards him as a brother in the scene after the assassination attempt, by the end of the film Hagen is once again being put at a distance when Michael tells him that if he wants he can go off to run the casino and take his family and mistress with him. Also, the fact that Hagen is regarded as a peacetime consigliari is interesting, since 'peacetime' duties include routine murders of the opposition.
 

Patrick Larkin

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I suppose this answrs my questions. But the problem I still have is that even if Vito and Michael are trying to keep their plans private, I would expect Hagen to be involved too. After all, Vito trusted Hagen with probably the most crucial role in the family over all these years. An unanswered question in the film is how long Hagen has been consigliori. I remember in the book Genco was on his deathbed (Vito's lifelong friend and consigliori) so I guess Hagen is pretty new on the job.
Note that, once Michael knows who has sold out to Barzini (and, by implication, who hasn't and can now be trusted), Hagen is back in and integrally involved in the assassination of the heads of the five families.
Now I'm having trouble remembering the end. I remember the funeral and Micheal figuring out the mole (Tessio). Then does it cut to the baptism and exceution scenes? Where do you see Hagen resuming hi role? And in GFII, he remains just the "lawyer" right? Maybe this is just Michael's way of moving to legitimacy -- shedding the consigliori and calling him a lawyer.
 

Michael Reuben

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by the end of the film Hagen is once again being put at a distance when Michael tells him that if he wants he can go off to run the casino and take his family and mistress with him
Yeah, that's a revealing exchange, especially in contrast with the degree of trust Michael reposes in Hagen when he flees Tahoe at the beginning of the film. I think it also shows Michael's increasing isolation and suspicion of all those around him. After Fredo's betrayal, he's lost faith in everyone.
M.
 

Robert Crawford

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Moving Tom away from the dirty details about some of the family business was also part of the plan to make Tom the family lawyer and an instrument in getting the family into more legitimate businesses without soiling Tom's hands on certain matters. Also, in the book it was mentioned that Tom though a trusted advisor wasn't a Sicilian and didn't have the natural ability to think like a Sicilian Consigliori and advise Michael accordingly.
Crawdaddy
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[Edited last by Robert Crawford on October 15, 2001 at 05:25 PM]
 

Cees Alons

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About Tom's appointment: at the start of the film, when Michael is having his conversation with Kay, sitting at a table (and filling us as well as her in on such things like offers that cannot be refused), he also explains Tom's position and adds: "I think he will be my father's consiglieri soon" (or words to that extent). Apparently he isn't yet at the moment.
The explanation that Tom is suspect as well until Tessio reveals himself isn't acceptable, because it is Tom who discusses Tessio's guilt with Michael at the funeral (sitting at his right behind him). Apparently he knew that the traitor would suggest a meeting with Barzini, and if he knew that they expected to recognize the traitor that way, he couldn't have been one of Michael's suspects.
Cees
[Edited last by Cees Alons on November 09, 2001 at 06:18 PM]
 

Michael Reuben

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The explanation that Tom is suspect as well until Tessio reveals himself isn't acceptable, because it is Tom who discusses Tessio's guilt with Michael at the funeral (sitting at his right behind him). Apparently he knew that the traitor would suggest a meeting with Barzini
There's nothing in the dialogue to suggest that Hagen knew such specifics or that he and Michael had prior discussions. Hagen's question is simply: "Do you know how they're going to come after you?" -- which shows only that Hagen has come to the same conclusion that's been reached by all the mobsters cozying up to Barzini at the funeral, namely that Barzini is the new kingpin and the Corleone family is finished.
Michael responds openly to Hagen's question because, at that point, Tessio has already approached him and revealed himself as the traitor. And Hagen doesn't know that it's Tessio until Michael tells him.
M.
 

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Okay, I just got done watching GFIII. It wasn't as bad as everyone says it is, but that's a debate for another thread. My question is, what the hell happened to Tom?? He's dead here in III, and unless I missed something, they don't explain why. What gives?
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Robert Crawford

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Ben,
Simply put, they couldn't come to financial terms with Duvall!
Crawdaddy
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Cees Alons

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Michael,
If Tom's words are a direct reaction on Tessio's proposal to Michael (which is the way I see it), then the dialogue does suggest he's in on theat point.
Later the same Tessio gives a clue why Tom may have been out for a while: "Tom can you get me off the hook? For old time's sake?" (Tom: "No, I can't do that"). Because the traitor would have been Clemenza or Tessio, some people, like Tom, may have been "too close" for too long.
Cees
 

Michael Reuben

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quote: If Tom's words are a direct reaction on Tessio's proposal to Michael (which is the way I see it)[/quote] I don't see how it could be. Tessio pulls Michael away from the family group to propose the meeting. Hagen isn't part of that conversation. Then Michael rejoins the group, and Hagen asks his generic question before Michael says a word about what Tessio proposed. Even the wording of the question suggests that Hagen and Michael haven't discussed the subject previously (if they had, Hagen would have asked something more pointed, like "do you know who it is yet?").
quote: Because the traitor would have been Clemenza or Tessio, some people, like Tom, may have been "too close" for too long.[/quote] To me, the overarching theme of the first two films is that no one is too close for betrayal. Especially as the stakes get higher, betrayal can come from anywhere, and it usually comes from the direction where you least expect it. It's the bitter lesson that leaves Michael sitting alone at the end of Godfather 2.
M.
[Edited last by Michael Reuben on November 11, 2001 at 10:52 PM]
 

Ashley Seymour

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I concur with the very good insights into Michael's treatment of Tom.
Not a big point, but an added benefit to Michael is how Tom handles his banishment. If he trusts Michael's judgement and obeys his wishes then he can only gain stature and trust with Michael. Years later Fredo resents the demeaning jobs he does for the family and finally makes the mistake of taking an action against Michael and the family. Tom proves he is worthy to be brought back into the fold.
 

Cees Alons

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Michael,
Tessio pulls Michael away from the family group to propose the meeting. Hagen isn't part of that conversation.
I have to review that scene. I seem to remember Tessio talking to Michael in his (M's) chair, so Tom actually is part of the conversation.
Could be wrong of course.
Cees
 

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