"I remember speaking to several Paramount executives, Jack Ballard in particular, who said that the movie was 'a fucking disaster.' I told him 'I'm going to contribute to the disaster.' I was met by Fred, and we went up into the Gulf+Western building at Paramount and looked at close to an hour of assembled footage, to give me an idea of what had been shot.
"I was not prepared for it. I was absolutely stunned by what I'd seen. It may be the best dailies I'd ever seen. I told that to Francis, and I could see a look of alarm on his face, like he had asked for the advice of a friend who was a little crazy -- because it wasn't what he had been hearing from everyone else.
"From there we went and had a couple of meetings. I had one brief meeting with Marlon, and at that meeting I remember him saying: 'Just once, I would like Vito Corleone not to be inarticulate.' I responded, 'In other words, you want him to talk?'
Robert Towne tells of being drafted in to write for Coppola on The Godfather, from a new book The Annotated Godfather: The Complete Screenplay by Jenny M. Jones, which I'll be happy to accept as a Christmas present, even belatedly.