The Anniversary You Can’t Refuse: 40 Things You Didn’t Know About The Godfather
From early on in his legendary career, Marlon Brando used cue cards for his lines, which he felt increased his spontaneity. His lines were printed and placed in his character’s line of sight; stills from the production show that they sometimes required clever placement. In one photo, a cue card is taped on the wall behind a lamp. In another, Robert Duvall is seen holding Brando’s cue cards up to his chest. In the scene above, they are held just beyond the view of the camera.
Some thought Brando used the cards out of laziness or an inability to memorize his lines. Once on The Godfather set, Brando was asked why he wanted his lines printed out. “Because I can read them that way,” he said. And that was the end of the cue-card discussion.
Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola on the set of The Godfather Part II (1974)