Marlon Brando and The Godfather appear on disc – or at the AMC Yonge & Dundas this week.
The Godfather I, II and III: The Coppola Restoration (Paramount, 1972, 74, 90) D: Francis Ford Coppola w/ Marlon Brando, Al Pacino. Rating: NNNNN; DVD package: NNNNN
Few movies deserve restoration as much as The Godfather.
The story holds up even on a crappy video copy, but it's Gordon Willis's groundbreaking moody photography, with its impenetrable blacks oozing corruption and warm-hearted golden tones, that gives the movie its soul. The restoration brings back that photography, and with it nuances in acting and composition that bring the film as close as possible to its original theatrical glory.
Even so, nothing beats the big screen, so check out The Godfather at AMC, opening Friday (September 26). You'll be amply rewarded.
The restoration doc itself is worth a watch, both for its clarity on technical matters and the human stories it tells. The rest of the all-new disc-five supplements are none too shabby either. Coppola is a good commentator on all three movies - warm, personal and open about process and product.
The disc-four doc on his notebook is particularly valuable if you're interested in how a director prepares. There's one small glitch, though: on my copy, the disc labels are switched: four is labelled five and vice versa.
Godfather I and II are brilliant from any perspective, beautifully written, acted, directed and shot, structurally and stylistically innovative, fully realized stories with full-blown tragedy at their heart.
Michael Corleone, heir apparent to a top Mafia family, must imperil first his own hopes for a better life, then in the second movie everything he holds dear. If Godfather III is a lesser movie, it's largely because Michael's story is over at the end of Part II. Though a good movie in its own right, it's an afterthought, not a culmination, and best watched separately.
EXTRAS Godfather I, II, III: Coppola commentary. Widescreen. English 5.1 or mono, French audio. English, French, Spanish subtitles. Disc four: (previously released material) four-part making-of doc, additional scenes, music doc, locations doc, family tree, timeline, more. Widescreen. English, French, Spanish subtitles. Disc five: (new material) influence-of doc, two retrospective making-of/appreciation docs, restoration doc, more. Widescreen. English, French subtitles.