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Frank Pentangeli

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Frank Pentageli was a secondary antagonist from The Godfather 2. He was an old friend and associate of Vito Corleone.

Pentageli was born in Partinico, Sicily. He was the younger brother of Vincenzo Pentageli, a stoic Mafia traditionalist who refused to leave Partinico despite the opportunities for advancement available elsewhere. By sharp contrast, Frank immigrated to the United States at a young age and became a close ally of the Corleone Family. Following the death of Peter Clemenza, Pentageli took his place as a caporegime of the Corleone Family. With Michael and Fredo Corleone based in Nevada, Pentageli ran the Corleone operations in New York, even moving into the old Corleone estate.

In 1958 Pentageli approached Michael to ask permission to eliminate a rival crime group known as the Rosato Brothers. Another Mafia family based in New York, the Rosatos claimed to have been promised territory by Clemenza prior to his own death, and wanted Pentangeli's turf for themselves. Michael, not wanting to start a war while working on an extremely profitable deal with Hyman Roth, refused. Insulted, Pentangeli left in disgust. However, that same evening, Michael was almost assassinated in his own home; soon after, Michael traveled to New York and arrived at the Old Corleone estate unannounced. Though alarmed by the unexpected visit and insisting that he had nothing to do with the failed hit, Pentangeli was informed that the most likely culprit behind the assassination attempt is Hyman Roth himself; however, Michael also informed him of his father's most important lesson - "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." With this in mind, Pentangeli reluctantly agreed to put aside his feud with the Rosato Brothers in the hopes of giving them the impression that Michael supported their claim.

Pentageli was eventually invited to a meeting with the Rosatos to discuss territory; however, the meeting was just a cover for an assassination attempt: almost immediately after Pentangeli sat down, Tony Rosato slipped a garrote around his neck, sneering "Michael Corleone says hello!" Fortunately, Pentageli's screams were loud enough to draw the attention of the police, and the resulting shootout disrupted any further attempts on the wounded mobster's life.

Believing that Michael had betrayed him, Pentageli entered witness protection and supplied the Feds with all the information he could supply on the Corleone Crime Family, hoping that the evidence would be enough to indict Michael in front of a Senate Committee. Unknown to him, much of the hearing was being arranged through the influence of Hyman Roth, with at least one leading senator being firmly in Roth's pocket. Knowing that Pentangeli was the only witness who could conclusively prove the Family's involvement in organized crime, Michael considered having Pentageli killed, but the target was too heavily guarded for an assassination to even be attempted. So, he decided to persuade him instead: having Vincenzo Pentangeli flown in from Sicily, he had Hagen bring him to the Senate hearings where Pentageli was due to testify - and made sure that Frank saw his brother among the audience. A glance from Vincenzo was enough to remind Frank of the obligations of omerta, and he recanted his testimony.

Following the trial, Tom Hagen visited Pentageli to discuss his future and his family. Knowing that Pentageli was a student of history, Hagen discussed the Roman Empire - the basis for much of the modern Mafia's structure - drawing specific attention to what happened to failed conspirators against the Emperors: such plotters would be allowed to pass on their property and estates to their families, on the condition that the condemned men committed suicide. Suddenly paying close attention, Pentangeli remarked that it was common practice for the plotters to take a hot bath and open their veins, and their families would be taken care of as soon as death was confirmed. Hagen assured Pentageli that his family would be taken care of, and left.

Some time after Hagen's visit, the agents guarding Pentangeli happened to notice that he hadn't emerged from the bathroom and wasn't responding to calls for his attention; breaking down the door, they found that Pentangeli had taken the Consigliere's advice to heart and slit his wrists in the bathtub. By the time the agents managed to get the door open, Franky Five Angels was already dead.

Trivia

  • Richard Castellano was originally slated to reprise his role of Peter Clemenza for the second film. However disagreements between Castellano and Paramount led to Clemenza being written out of the second film, and the character Pentageli was created to take the place of Clemenza.

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