The incomparable Lefty–a redheaded, left-handed, cross-eyed, married and very sexy woman–reduces her Italian-American lover, Nicholas, to that of a sex slave, her own private Button Man–propelling him back to the neighborhood don, Johnny, for counsel and wisdom. Lefty is also their muse and their salvation, humanizing both the Italian poet and the Italian gangster, and even transforms them to the godfather of the future, the unforgettable Don Pippo–reformed, wise, gentle.
“Subsequent artistic attempts at humanizing the don include Analyze This and The Sopranos. Both of these productions feature don characters in therapy. Valero’s use of the therapy device, though, is unique and visionary. It not only predates these films, but also shows the don in control, as therapist, not patient. This configuration emphasizes the power of Italian culture to nurture individual identity. Johnny, the don, serves as cultural nursemaid to the reborn Italian-American, Nicholas. “ Melus