50 years of The Godfather
The Godfather film is celebrating 50 years since it was released in 1973 and can currently be seen free on The Peacock streaming service. Simonetta Stefanelli portrayed Appolonia Vitelli-Corleone the first wife of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). She died when a car bomb blew up and this is said to be the inspiration for Lilly Corinthis (Lilly Melger) the wife of mob boss Michael Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) dying because of a car bomb on General Hospital.
Stefanelli was only 16 when The Godfather was filmed and was 17 by the time it hit movie screens. Pacino was 30 which was almost twice her age so she was underage when she had the love scene where here bare breasts were shown which seems unthinkable today. Appolonia was only in a few scenes but they were memorable. Michael was hit by the Secillian thunderbolt and fell in love and quickly married her. In their wedding night scene, Pacino was fully clothed but Stefanelli was topless just before they consummated the marriage.
Was it child porn?
Appolonia looked so young and innocent as she wanted to prove she knew how to drive a vehicle and then she was gone. I find it interesting that there was no outcry from the public about this being considered child pornography. In 1973 the actress posed nude in the Italian version of Playboy but after that refused to bare her body for Hollywood. ."They wanted nothing more than to expose my body... I refused so much work"
Stefanelli made several Italian films as well as the Spanish movie El mejor alcalde, el rey (The Best Mayor, the King), She also appeared in the miniseries Moses the Lawgiver. In 1992 she left acting behind and currently owns a fashion store in Rome where she sells handbags and purses.
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