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The Godfather & The Godfather Part II (The restoration)


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This has already been discussed a bit in Hot Topics, but I felt it wouldn't hurt to have a thread here, as well.

 

I'm overall very happy with what they've done to these two Coppola masterpieces, as both movies look absolutely gorgeous. My only little quibble is, I wish they hadn't changed the studio logo at the beginning of the movies to the new Viacom-owned, CG-animated Paramount logo.

 

As they did with *Lawrence of Arabia* and *Vertigo*, they've added a new "The Restoration" part to the end credits. Aside from that, I guess the movies look just the same as they did in the 70's.

 

ac0508_02_godfather_after.jpg

A restored scene from *The Godfather*

 

Here's an interesting article detailing the work that had to be done for the restoration:

 

http://www.ascmag.com/magazine_dynamic/May2008/PostFocus/page1.php

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Since the logos are different, I'm going to hold onto my previous set, but I did pre-order the new one. Have you compared this new restoration to the last set and if so, is the Coppola commentary different from the previous set as well?

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It's funny how the more times you watch a great classic film, the more in it that you notice.

 

On my last viewing of the two films, since I was already quite comfortable with all the plot details, I started to give more of my attention to Morgana King's character - she plays Mama Corleone (Vito's wife). It's actually quite a good performance, given that she has almost no lines but is frequently somewhere in the background.

 

Also, I noticed for the first time the slightly-unconvincing hairpiece Robert Duvall wears during the first half or so of *The Godfather* (after that he goes back to what appears his naturally balding look at the time).

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The last time I watched all three films was last year with the Coppola commentaries and they were as compelling as the films themselves much like the 2 1/2 hour documentary on JAWS(another of my top ten films). Can't wait til Tuesday!!

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I don't think I've seen the third movie since it came out. Not sure I really want to, tbh. But I wouldn't mind watching the *Godfather Saga*, if it were available on DVD. That's the one where Coppola took the first two movies, edited them chronologically and added extra scenes that were not used in the theatrical versions.

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Watch Part III with the commentary and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I saw the Godfather Saga years ago on VHS and that's my only complaint about the dvd. The films play much better that way imo. As far as I'm concerned, parts 1 & 2 may as well be one film. I eagerly await the day they release it that way. I plan on watching the new dvds with my son after I get them. I know it's a "guy thing", but I told him everything in life can be learned from watching the Godfather. Even how to cook. I defy antone to watch Richard Castellano teach Michael how to make sauce and not want to run into the kitchen and start making your own, which I still do to this day. :)

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> {quote:title=TODDFAN wrote:}{quote}

> Watch Part III with the commentary and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I saw the Godfather Saga years ago on VHS and that's my only complaint about the dvd. The films play much better that way imo. As far as I'm concerned, parts 1 & 2 may as well be one film. I eagerly await the day they release it that way. I plan on watching the new dvds with my son after I get them. I know it's a "guy thing", but I told him everything in life can be learned from watching the Godfather. Even how to cook. I defy antone to watch Richard Castellano teach Michael how to make sauce and not want to run into the kitchen and start making your own, which I still do to this day. :)

 

I'll give part 3 another try, hope it won't just bring back bad memories ;)

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> {quote:title=TODDFAN wrote:}{quote}

> I received my Godfather set early in yesterday's mail. I watched the first 2 hours of Part II. I was very impressed!! I'm going to go through the rest of the set with the new extras all this week. I think you'll be pleased.

 

There is also a very nice article about it in today's New York Times:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/23/movies/23dvds.html

 

*New DVDs: ?The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration?*

 

By DAVE KEHR

Published: September 23, 2008

 

Many of Francis Ford Coppola?s films, including the recent ?Youth Without Youth,? have been haunted by the passing of time and an acute awareness of its destructive handiwork ? the sense that once a treasured moment has been lost, nothing can be done to recover it.

 

But now a piece of Mr. Coppola?s own youth, which also happens to be one of the greatest works in American film, has been recovered, and spectacularly so. On Tuesday Paramount Home Entertainment is issuing the three films that make up Mr. Coppola?s ?Godfather? saga, miraculously rejuvenated by a team of digital restoration experts under the supervision of the film preservationist Robert A. Harris. Offered both in high-definition Blu-ray and standard DVD editions, Mr. Coppola?s three films seem to have reclaimed the golden glow of their original theatrical screenings ? a glow that has been dimmed and all but extinguished over the years through a series of disappointing home video editions.

 

Most of Mr. Harris?s work has gone into the first (1972) and second (1974) films in the trilogy. The later and less well-received third installment (1990) did not need as much effort, having been shot on a newer generation of film stock and never subjected to the abuse that nearly destroyed Parts I and II. By all accounts, the original negatives of the first two films were so torn up and dirty that they could no longer be run through standard film laboratory printing equipment, and so the only option became a digital, rather than a photochemical, restoration.

 

The final product, which the studio is calling ?The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration,? combines bits and pieces of film recovered from innumerable sources, scanned at high resolution and then retouched frame by frame to remove dirt and scratches. The color was brought back to its original values by comparing it with first-generation release prints and by extensive consultation with Gordon Willis, who shot all three films, and Allen Daviau, a cinematographer (?E.T.?) who is also a leading historian of photographic technology.

 

The tight grain of the image, so important a component of Mr. Willis?s original low-light photography, has returned to particularly spectacular effect in the four-disc Blu-ray edition. The effect is not unlike that of a pristine 35-millimeter print projected in perfect focus ? a rare enough phenomenon in a movie theater and, until quite recently, inconceivable in the living room.

 

The ?Godfather? films remain the 20th-century answer to Shakespeare?s plays of royal succession, with the twist that here Prince Hal grows up, not into Henry V, but Richard III. Al Pacino?s performance as Michael Corleone, the introverted youngest son of a wise and ruthless monarch, remains a model of modulation. The shape of his face, the set of his eyes, the weight of his body all seem to evolve imperceptibly (at least until the aggressive intervention of makeup in Part III). A puppyish kid who might have been played by Dustin Hoffman in his ?Graduate? period becomes a figure of immense gravity and chilling emotional reserve, a portrait worthy of Walter Huston or Max von Sydow.

 

Watching the first film, you are struck again by how little screen time Marlon Brando actually occupies. Most of his work is done in the 20-minute opening sequence, as the Godfather sits in his study, receiving supplicants on the day of his daughter?s wedding. This is a piece of superbly efficient expository writing, setting out an exotic milieu, describing its rules and moral configuration, and establishing the larger-than-life figure who presides over and protects it.

 

And Brando plays it like the master he was, balancing just enough exaggeration (the cotton-stuffed cheeks, the asthmatic voice) with pure behavioral naturalism (the eyes that go blank when he is bored or distracted) to create a figure that both belongs to this world and is too big for it. After that sequence his work is effectively done, and the character can recede into the background of the action (he spends much of the rest of the movie recovering from an assassination attempt) without surrendering his dominant presence.

 

Like another venerated American epic, ?Gone With the Wind,? the first ?Godfather? film is essentially a study in vanishing feudalism: the old, aristocratic masters who made their empires out of sweat and blood are fading into the background, to be replaced by the middle-class, mercantile interests represented in ?Gone With the Wind? by the blockade runner Rhett Butler and in the first ?Godfather? by the drug-dealing upstart Sollozzo (Al Lettieri).

 

Part II takes place in a more modern world, where capitalism is king, and it is difficult to tell where gangsterism leaves off, and normal business procedures begin. The action shifts to a global scale, as the Corleones conquer Nevada and, very nearly, Cuba ? and Mr. Coppola rises to the occasion with a sense of physical scale and epic conflict that no amount of computer-generated-imagery enhancement has yet been able to reproduce.

 

At the center of it all, of course, remains the family drama. In an increasingly rootless country American audiences envied the Corleones for their powerful sense of ethnic and family identity, the privilege of belonging to an extended, self-reliant and self-protecting group. At the same time the family itself is a constant source of anguish, shot through by betrayals, suspicions and carefully erected barriers. (Who can forget the doors that slowly close on Diane Keaton?s Kay at the climaxes of Parts I and II?) Michael can protect his family only by destroying it.

 

Eighteen years after the sting of disappointment has passed, Part III no longer seems the total disaster it once did, but the grandeur of the first two films has slipped irretrievably away. By this point in his career, Mr. Pacino had become a very different actor, trading stealth and retention for actorly tricks: the staggering old man?s gait; the sudden explosions of vein-popping rage. The intrigue is now international (the plot draws on the scandals surrounding the Vatican bank at the time) but seems somehow smaller than what has come before, more of a screenwriter?s conceit than a peek behind the curtain of power.

 

But as Michael becomes weaker, his baby sister, Connie, whose wedding opened the first film, has evolved into a figure out of Greek tragedy or Italian opera: a Medea or a Medici. Played by Talia Shire, Mr. Coppola?s sister, Connie seems to possess the calm, dark resolve that has abandoned her increasingly sentimental brother: a Godmother who almost seems capable of carrying the plot dynamics to a fourth, more satisfying final installment. (Paramount Home Entertainment, Blu-ray, $124.99; standard definition, $69.99; R.)

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*5 The Godfather Collection: The Coppola Restoration Special Feature Clips*

 

*On September 23rd, 2008, Francis Ford Coppola is going back into the vault to present the ultimate version of his classic Godfather saga with _The Godfather Collection: Coppola Restoration Edition_. This gloriously remastered five-disc box set will bring all-three movies back to vivid life like never before. For the first time ever, we are able to share five video clips from this immaculate collection.

 

Take a look at the 5 featured scenes below:*

 

They are:

 

Revealing the Godfather

When the Shooting Stopped

Godfather World

Use of Color

The Masterpiece

 

 

 

http://www.movieweb.com/news/NEIuBPKJWPPHNM

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Well, it took them a little while but Variety has finally posted its review of the restored DVD package, with some pretty good criticism on the actual packaging and extra features of the set:

 

http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117938505.html?categoryid=1023&cs=1

 

By David Lewis

 

In an offer that movie buffs can't refuse, the Godfather trilogy received a digital makeover and has been repackaged on Paramount DVD and Blu-Ray. Already released as a 5-disc set in 2001, the new format and crystal-clear new transfers justify the double dip.

 

Headed by film archivist Robert A. Harris (at the urging of director Francis Ford Coppola), the digital restoration does wonders with the legendary material, resulting in the best-yet home presentation of the 1972 best picture winner and its two sequels. Gordon Willis' famously dark photography looks better than ever, a fact made evident from the very first scene in which Bonasera pleads his case to Marlon Brando's Don Corelone on the day of his daughter's wedding.

 

Would that the extras received as much attention. The new package contains the supplements from the trilogy's initial 2001 DVD release, which focused on the first two films' storied production. The smattering of new bonus material explores the series' lasting impact on popular culture, but not all of it is worthy.

 

It's interesting to hear what "Sopranos" creator David Chase, "Take the Cannoli" author Sarah Vowell and other famous fans have to say about the trilogy in "Godfather World," but do we really need the 10-minute "Godfather on the Red Carpet"? In this disastrous featurette, mostly B-list preemgoers (John Cho, Natasha Henstridge) are apparently ambushed at the opening of "Cloverfield" and forced to opine about the "Godfather" trilogy. The results are predictably haphazard, especially compared to the thoughtful, well-shot interviews of "Godfather World." The superior segment also includes clips from the shows and films that embraced the "Godfather" mythos, including "SCTV," "The Sopranos," "South Park," "You've Got Mail," "Analyze This," "The Simpsons" and more.

 

A 10-minute documentary details the extensive digitization process, which meant transferring the fading, crumbling '70s negatives to state-of-the-art digital files. However, much of this will fly over the heads of all but the geekiest buffs. Another new docu, "When the Shooting Stops," takes an in-depth look at the first two films' post-production processes, including some juicy tidbits from famed editor Walter Murch (billed on the first pic as simply "post-production consultant").

 

Coppola's audio commentaries are very candid, but the box-art promise of "provocative" is a bit of a tease; these are recycled from the 2001 DVD edition. On a similar note, why does the new discs' packaging fail to meet the same standards as the films' improved look and sound? Four slim cases stuffed into a flimsy cardboard box do not befit an ultimate special edition. Some liner notes would have been appreciated as well.

 

Extras old and new virtually ignore "The Godfather Part III," although Coppola's commentary valiantly defends the critically maligned film.

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