September 23, 2008

The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration.

The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration "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." And in the New York Times, Dave Kehr has nothing but praise for the newly restored, "miraculously rejuvenated" versions of all three films, released today in Blu-ray and standard DVD editions as The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration. In a followup note at his site on Paramount's mistreatment of the original negatives, Dave Kehr also has "Before" and "After" screengrabs.

Ambrose Heron has put together quite an entry on the set. He's got clips from the extras and points to Bill Hunt's extensive backgrounder on the restoration in Digital Bits and to Stephanie Argy's piece in American Cinematographer.

Updated through 9/26.

As noted earlier, "The 'Coppola Restoration' Letters" that Glenn Kenny has posted are must-reads: Parts 1, 2 and 3; and a Postscript.

"Nearly all interiors are richer, more substantial. The blacks in such scenes are, if anything, blacker - certainly more solidly, less apologetically so." At DVD Beaver, Leonard Norwitz gets into the nitty gritty and posts a slew of screengrabs.

"The movie is back to its inky finest." Via Movie City News, Mike Snider tells a briefer version the story of the restoration in the USA Today, so if you're in a hurry: "A decade ago, Paramount stored all its Godfather film elements in a cold vault to help preserve them until a full digital makeover was possible.... Fast-forward to 2005: Coppola, looking to renew the preservation effort, wrote to Spielberg when DreamWorks was acquired by Paramount. Could Spielberg, who had been involved in restoring Lawrence of Arabia, spur on the project? It was an offer Spielberg could not refuse."

"[W]hat can I say? It's The Godfather." Jamie S Rich at DVD Talk: "Debates over the color palette aside, this restoration job cleans up the movies and makes them look brand new. Couple that with the fact that the already excellent extras now have a few new siblings to go with them, and this is, at last, the comprehensive Godfather collection cineastes have been clamoring for."

"Is it overkill to claim that The Godfather on Blu-ray is a sign of the format coming to maturity?" asks Sean Axmaker.

Screengrab presents a special Godfather edition of "That Guy!," their "sporadic celebration of B-listers, character actors, and the working famous."

Updates: At NewTeeVee, Chris Albrecht reports that the trilogy will be available as a digital download. Probably not the restored version. "The press announcement was pretty slim on details," he adds. Via the SXSW News Reel.

At Screengrab, Sarah Clyne Sundberg and Phil Nugent debate Part III.

New York's Film Forum is screening the restored Parts I and II through October 2.

Update, 9/24: At the Guardian, Ben Child notes that The Godfather tops Empire's readers poll of the "500 Greatest Movies of All Time."

Update, 9/26: "Essential in the truest sense of the word," insists Matt Noller in Slant.

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Posted by dwhudson at September 23, 2008 9:15 AM