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Entertainment news for June 13, 1997

Corleone made headlines this week

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What do you say when the people of Corleone, the Sicilian town featured in The Godfather, make you an offer you can’t refuse? So, of course. Last fall Corleone officials approached Benetton — Italy’s answer to the Gap — about a campaign that would help eradicate the city’s lingering Mafia image. The result: a new spring catalog in which 42 Corleonese teenagers shun the stereotypical Sicilian garb of heavy shawls and dark suits for colorful shirts and dresses. ”A person who sees a catalog with the name Corleone thinks he’s going to see images of death and despair,” says city counselor for cultural affairs Raffaele Turtola, who coordinated the project. ”Instead he’ll see the faces of normal, happy youths.” Though officials admit Corleone does have a history of Mafia ties, they insist that Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 epic overplayed the connection. ”The idea that Corleone equals Mafia is largely the result of the success of the movie,” adds Turtola. And was the famous director aware that he was sealing the city’s fate? Coppola declines to comment. But, counters a spokeswoman, ”He just made a movie of a novel.”