Spoiler alert: “The Godfather” has been made. Non-spoiler alert: in “The Offer”, it is almost not. Followers of “The Godfather”, and we are legion, will find the entire drama series in 10 episodes – brought to you by the studio that almost didn’t make the film – not only impossible to refuse, but agonizing: A World Without Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece? The film that may well be the crowning achievement of American cinema? Unthinkable. And yet, in the early 70s, it was very thinkable. In fact, the series implies more than the fact that the film was a series of small miracles from the moment it emerged from Mario Puzo’s pulpy novel until the night he won the Best Picture Oscar in 1972. Like it never happened, Michelangelo may have fallen from the scaffold, Mozart may have been born of a butcher, Ronald Reagan may have fact played out in “Casablanca”. The way masterpieces happen is usually the result of serendipity, d pitfalls avoided, stupidity avoided. “The Offer” lists all of this.
The series, created by Michael Tolkin, carries a very unusual source credit – “Based on Albert S. Ruddy’s experience in creating ‘The Godfather'”. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Ruddy (now 92) is the hero of the play, portrayed with heroic nerve and considerable charisma by Miles Teller (“Whiplash”), as a producer who overcomes the myriad human obstacles. preventing the Corleone family’s emigration from page to page: Supreme Chairman Robert Evans (Matthew Goode) is desperate to save his ailing studio, but not so desperate that he won’t tax his wife, Ali MacGraw (Meredith Garretson), to director Arthur Hiller (Jake Regal) for the lead role in “Love Story.” Mafia boss Joe Colombo (Giovanni Ribisi) uses his new Italian-American Civil Rights League to convince America that the Mafia doesn’t exist, which “The Godfather” insists does. Charles Bluhdorn (Burn Gorman), head of Gulf + Western (which then owned Paramount), is inclined to go along with the charming Ruddy, though his unctuous civil servant, Barry Lapidus (Colin Hanks), undermines the film at every turn.