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5.0 out of 5 stars The New Restoration Collection does not disappoint!, September 22, 2008
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This review is from: The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration (DVD)
The new transfers for The Godfather Parts I and II are stunning. It really is like seeing them for the first time. All of the murky, faded colors have been restored to their original glory while still retaining the warmth of the film stock. Gordon Willis' then-controversial cinematography can finally be seen they way it was intended on these new discs. If you have the original box set, it is worth it to double dip if only for the restoration job on these two films.

Carried over from the original set are all of Francis Ford Coppola's commentary tracks for the three films. On The Godfather one, he appropriately enough, starts off by talking about the film's famous opening scene and how it was supposed to start with the wedding but a friend suggested he do something else. Coppola talks about how he organized the elaborate wedding sequence and shot it only 2-3 days! He talks about the pressure he was under by the studio and in read danger of being fired because they didn't like what he was doing. This is pretty solid track that we've come to expect from the veteran filmmaker.

Coppola's contributes another excellent commentary for The Godfather Part II. Initially, he had no interest in doing a sequel and dealing with studio bureaucracy. He suggested Martin Scorsese for the job. The studio balked at this idea and accepted all of Coppola's terms. The veteran filmmaker talks at length about the development of the Corleone family from Part I. Coppola is engaging and very articulate, delivering a top notch track that is well worth a listen for any fan of this movie.

Finally, there is Coppola's commentary for The Godfather Part III. One of the heated debates the filmmaker had with the studio was over Pacino's hair. He wanted Michael to look older and like a man in crisis, while the studio didn't want to mess with Pacino's distinctive looks. Coppola defends his casting of Sofia and feels that she delivered a "real" performance because she wasn't an actor. He also addresses the scathing criticism she received as in fact an attack on him. This is a solid track with good observations and analysis by Coppola -- better than the film itself.

The rest of the supplemental material is spread out of two discs. Thankfully for those who did not buy the first box set all of the extras from it have been carried over with a whole other disc of brand new material.

The fourth disc features all the brand new material and starts off with "Godfather World," which takes a look at how The Godfather films influenced popular culture, including parodies on The Simpsons and South Park, and how it informed the characters on The Sopranos. All kinds of celebrities, from William Friedkin and Alec Baldwin to author Sarah Vowell who sing its praises with clips of shows and films that reference it.

"The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn't" tells the story of how Hollywood had changed at the end of the 1960s with the demise of the studio moguls and the rise of the film brats, the first generation of film students who became filmmakers. One of them, Coppola, ended up being picked to direct The Godfather. This is an excellent look at how the director almost didn't get the gig and why.

"...When the Shooting Stopped" examines the post-production phase of the first film. Coppola battled with the studio over the length of it. Executives initially did not like Nino Rota's score for the film and samples of some of his original and revised cues are played.

"Emulsional Rescue: Revealing The Godfather" takes a look at the newly restored transfers for Part I and II and how they preserve Gordon Willis' gorgeous cinematography. This featurette takes us through the restoration process, showing before and after examples.

"The Godfather on the Red Carpet" is a forgettable featurette shot during the premiere of Cloverfield with various minor celebrities gush about the films.

"Four Short Films on The Godfather" features celebs citing which one they prefer, Part I or II. Another one has Richard Belzer, and the man who adapted the films for the stage, quote their favourite lines, which turns out to be quite funny. The third one sees Coppola talk about his love of cannoli and how made it into the film. Finally, Coppola answers the question about what happened to Clemenza in Part II and why he died.

The fifth disc starts off with "A Look Inside," a feature-length documentary about The Godfather trilogy done when Part III was being made. As a result, a lot of the major players were interviewed. We see Coppola at work on this film with on-set footage of the director working with Pacino. We also see Coppola working on the script with author Mario Puzo. The doc then goes back to the first film with Coppola's battle with the studio over casting Brando, Pacino, et al. with fascinating vintage screen tests and rehearsal footage. This is an excellent extra that goes into great detail.

"On Location" revisits key locations in the lower east side of New York where they shot parts of all three films and how they transformed them into various historical periods.

"Francis Coppola's Notebook" examines how he adapted Puzo's book into the first film. Coppola shows us his notebook that he used as his master document that he would constantly refer to. This featurette provides fascinating insight into the man's creative process.

"Music of The Godfather" features an audio excerpt of a conversation Coppola had with composer Nino Rota about the music for the film. Also included is footage of composer Carmine Coppola (Francis' father) working on Part III. Francis talks about working with his father.

"Coppola and Puzo on Screenwriting" features the author talking about the origins of his novel while Coppola discusses adapting it with Puzo into the films.

"Gordon Willis on Cinematography" features the man talking his approach to the look of the film and the choices he made and why.

"Storyboards - Godfather Part II and Part III" allows you to see sketches for the look of both films and see how Coppola planned to shoot them.

"The Godfather: Behind the Scenes 1971" is a vintage promotional featurette done at the time of the production of the first film. This is a fantastic snapshot of the times.

"The Filmmakers" are text biographies of key crew members.

Also included are 30 additional scenes from the four eras, spanning the entire trilogy. Much of this footage was inserted into the first two films when they were shown on television.

"The Family" gives you a handy organization chart for the Corleone family. You can see who everyone is and how they are related.

Finally, there are "Galleries" with trailers for all three films, stills, a collection of portraits of enemies of the Corleone family, and footage of the Academy Awards wins for the first two Godfather films.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 23, 2009 2:22:40 PM PST
This review does not answer two questions that are on my mind. Are scenes deleted from the original filming as with so many VHSs and DVDs? Do the epics run in chronological order?

Vincent Vannicola

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2009 11:13:13 AM PDT
This collection is not the "Godfather Epic" which was done for TV. If anything, Coppola has stated the hated that version. It went against the way he wanted the second Godfather to be. At first, I liked the "epic" version, but once I actually sat and watched Part II, I must agree there is no better way to see it than the original theatrical release version. It gives you a glimpse into how Don Corleone rose to power and how Michael's rise coincides and differs and allows you to see the eventual downfall that is about to happen for him. So much more powerful than the chronalogical version.

As for deleted scenes, I beleive there are deleted scenes on the features disc from what I remember. It's been a long time since I watched it.

Posted on Sep 18, 2011 5:58:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 18, 2011 5:58:49 PM PDT
uncle guido says:
This is like the best review ever. great, man (or ...ya know...just an expression) No really thank you. I wanted to get the godfather epic....it was a 3 tape set I got from the library in the 80s, it does it chronologically...I loved that, but it is only on VHS at 150 bucks.

So...I'll get this. Look how they massacred my boy.

Thanks , sincerely

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 14, 2011 9:15:57 PM PDT
Cubist says:
Thanks, McGuinness! That means a lot. This is a great set with LOADS of extras. Definitely worth picking up if you're a fan of these films.

Posted on Feb 21, 2012 5:53:25 PM PST
GDJ says:
One of the best film "remake" reviews I've ever seen. Period. Outstanding!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2012 11:26:19 AM PST
dimples says:
i agree with vincent

Posted on Apr 2, 2012 6:39:02 PM PDT
Very good review indeed.

It does bring up an interesting point - Al Pacino's hair in Godfather III. The studio was so right and Coppola was dead wrong. It was completely distracting and not at all believable. Old time mobsters (guys brought up with old world traditional values in the late 1930s, 1940s and 50s), especially mobster types, aren't so quick to change stuff like hairstyles - or much of anything really. They are focused on other things and are, at their roots, firmly and unflinchingly old school. Pacino's strange hairdo has ALWAYS struck me as completely wrong and actually quite weird.

It may seem like a small thing to some, but I'm sure smaller things than a weird hairdo have ruined lesser movies. But no matter how one might feel about it. it was a pointless change, and as I said, very distracting. I mean Pacino is in 90% of the movie with that weird raccoon on his head.

I always thought it was just me until reading this review. Thanks. Thanks much.

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 12:43:17 AM PDT
Burc Lander says:
I'm the choir director for the Sierra Boys Choir in Part II. I'm looking for any supplementary material stills, etc. which may be extant. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Burc Lander lander8@msn.com

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 4:25:46 PM PST
Colonel Mike says:
Yo, Vinnie, I'm sending over Nicky and Pauly to answer those 2 question for ya...!

Posted on Nov 21, 2012 9:36:27 PM PST
William says:
I am a real movie buff, collection around 1850+ or so. I held off on blu ray was afraid it would be to good and would want to start over? Well I have no money or time to do it, but I took the bite. Players are cheap and I get my movies for about $5.00 each here in Thailand. I got my first dozen will buy at least 12 more next week. Looking forward to finding the Godfather too, it is a must have. Thanks for a great review of this Classic !
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