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|“||What guarantees can I give you Mike? I am the hunted one. I missed my chance. You think too much of me kid. I am not that clever.||„|
|~ Sollozzo to Michael Corleone at the restaurant.|
|“||Don Corleone, I need a man who has powerful friends. I need a million dollars in cash. I need, Don Corleone those politicians you carry in your pocket, like so many nickels and dimes.||„|
|~ Sollozzo to Don Corleone|
|“||I don't like violence, Tom. I'm a businessman, Blood is a big expense.||„|
|~ Sollozzo to Tom, speaking about violence.|
Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo is a fictional character and one of the two main antagonists in Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather and it's 1972 film adaptation of the same. In the novel, it is said that he got his nickname because he has a nose like a Turkish scimitar. He also has a Turkish wife and children and does much of his business (growing poppy) in Turkey.
In the film adaptation, he was portrayed by the late Al Lettieri. In the film-based video game of the same name, he was voiced by Richard Newman.
Known as the Turk because he had a nose like a Turkish scimitar and also had a Turkish wife and family and does much of his own business at Turkey, Sollozzo gained a reputation as a top narcotics man with poppy fields at Turkey and labs at Sicily and Marsellis. Before World War II, he was involved in prostitution. He was seen as an ideal associate who would provide money for a family and not leak information to the police if he was caught, provided his wife and kids back in Turkey taken care of. He began to make contacts at the 1930s and was seen at the Five Families' meeting after the death of Giuseppe Mariposa in 1934.
Becoming Crime Lord, Rise and Making Deals
Sollozzo arrives in New York and enlists the aid of the Tattaglia family for his new heroin business. He then goes to the Corleone family to obtain money and protection from the police and courts. Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) refuses, however, stating that the drug business is bad for the neighborhoods and would strain his political connections.
Sollozzo, realizing that Vito's eldest son and Corleone family underboss Sonny (James Caan) would be more receptive to the heroin trade, decides to murder Vito. At the same time, he abducts Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) and tells him to convince Sonny that he should accept the original deal and forego vengeance for his father's death. Hagen promises to calm Sonny down but warns of an inevitable reprisal by Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana), Vito's fanatically loyal bodyguard and hitman. Unbeknownst to Hagen, however, Sollozzo had anticipated this and already killed Brasi.
Following his meeting with Hagen, Sollozzo learns that Vito is still alive. He sends agents to the hospital to again try to kill Vito after first having Mark McCluskey, a police captain in Sollozzo's pocket, arrest Tessio's men who are protecting Don Corleone at the hospital and pull the police guards outside Don's hospital room to other duty. But the plans fall through after Vito's youngest son Michael (Al Pacino) arrives at the scene, finds all the guards gone, suspects that Sollozzo is about to make another assassination attempt, and is able to save his father. He tricks the assassins into thinking that he is guarding the Don, and the stir up eventually ends with McCluskey being summoned. McCluskey confronts Michael and punches him, breaking his jaw.
Soon thereafter, Sollozzo seeks a meeting with Michael to resolve the hostilities with secretly another attempt to end Vito's life. Under McCluskey's personal protection, Sollozzo meets with Michael in a restaurant. Although Michael is frisked before the meeting, a revolver had been planted behind the overhead tank of a toilet in the lavatory of the restaurant. Michael excuses himself and goes to the bathroom to retrieve the revolver. When he returns, he draws the gun and shoots Sollozzo in the forehead, killing him instantly, and kills McCluskey seconds later.
Sollozzo was a patient and methodical person who preferred to mastermind things from behind the scenes but was also unafraid of getting his hands dirty. He was also an extremely manipulative, intelligent and cunning individual, understanding the success that could be made from drugs but also the needs to have powerful allies such as Vito Corleone and Emilio Barzini.
Despite all of his brutality, he was a caring and fatherly husband, and he would only work with people who would guarantee to provide his family should anything whatever happens to him.
In The Godfather: The Video Game
In the film-based video game, he was voiced by Richard Newman. At the game, Sollozzo buys a warehouse at Midtown and begins drugs fronts in each of New York City districts. After the incident at the hospital, Sonny Corleone orders a series of crackdowns upon Sollozzo's business, which sees the destruction of his warehouse and drug fronts located in derelict buildings across the city.
During his assassination at Louis' Resturant, the game's protagonist Aldo Trapani is present. There are some minor differences, such as the fact that Michael shoots Sollozzo twice as he was instructed instead of deviating from the plan. Also, there is only one person in the restaurant which stays true to the novel itself.
Virgil Sollozzo is loosely based on Vito Genovese who had set up a narcotics network to import heroin into the US from Italy. Sollozzo could be inspired by Vincent Papa, who was a major narco-trafficker and a key figure of the French Connection in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Papa was closely associated with the Lucchese crime family. His "crew" included many heavy hitters at heroin distributions such as Johnny Dio, Anthony Loria, Virgil Alessi and Louis Cirillo. However, it was unknown whether Mario Puzo was already aware of Papa and his crew as he wrote The Godfather.
- Sollozzo's murder scene is a reference to Joe Masseria's murder. The latter was killed at a restaurant in Cooney Island as he had a meeting with his top lieutenant, Lucky Luciano, who arranged the assassination. Shortly after Luciano rushed to the bathroom, four gunmen arrived and shot Masseria, killing him, just like in the film.
- The novel says that Sollozzo has a boss of his own. During the restaurant meeting, Sollozzo states that he is a 'man of honor'. Sollozzo's operations in Sicily suggested that he was a member of the Sicilian Mafia.
- At the novel, he is mentioned in the Italian form; Virgiliano Sollozzo. In the rest of the narrative, he is commonly called by the English form as in the film; Virgil.
- As in the movie he is depicted as a thin character. In the novel, he is described as a broad individual.
- He was portrayed by the late Al Lettieri in the film, and he was voiced by Richard Newman in the game, though his dialogue is identical to the film.