Director Francis Ford Coppola finally got the opportunity to rework the disappointing finale to the Godfather trilogy, and fans are about to find out whether it can be redeemed. The 1990 film The Godfather Part III has been retitled The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone as part of a 30th anniversary Blu-ray / Digital release that includes substantial edits in addition to the restoration.
The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is available to pre-order here on Amazon for $22.98 with a release date set for December 8th. The edits include a new beginning and ending along with "rearranged scenes, shots, and music cues". Coppola also oversaw a frame-by-frame restoration from a 4K scan of the original negative. Here's what he had to say about it:
"'Mario Puzo's THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone' is an acknowledgement of Mario's and my preferred title and our original intentions for what became 'The Godfather: Part III,'" said Coppola. "For this version of the finale, I created a new beginning and ending, and rearranged some scenes, shots, and music cues. With these changes and the restored footage and sound, to me, it is a more appropriate conclusion to 'The Godfather' and 'The Godfather: Part II' and I'm thankful to Jim Gianopulos and Paramount for allowing me to revisit it."
"Coppola and his production company American Zoetrope worked from a 4K scan of the original negative to undertake a painstaking, frame-by-frame restoration of both the new Mario Puzo's THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone and the original The Godfather: Part III. In order to create the best presentation possible, Zoetrope and Paramount's restoration team began by searching for over 50 original takes to replace lower resolution opticals in the original negative. This process took more than six months and involved sifting through 300 cartons of negative. American Zoetrope worked diligently to repair scratches, stains, and other anomalies that could not be addressed previously due to technology constraints, while enhancements were made to the original 5.1 audio mix."
Granted, with all of the effort that was put into this release, it seems odd that it wasn't done in 4K along with the rest of the trilogy. We have to imagine that a 4K box set isn't far off, but in the meantime it will be very interesting to see if Coppola can salvage something with this cut. If you're unfamiliar, a synopsis for the film is available below.
"Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), now in his 60s, seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire. That successor could be fiery Vincent (Andy Garcia)... but he may also be the spark that turns Michael's hope of business legitimacy into an inferno of mob violence."
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