In the grand scheme of movie sequels, quite possibly the largest gap in quality between entries is the absolute chasm between the first two Godfather films and The Godfather: Part III. Apparently, director Francis Ford Coppola agrees! Paramount just announced that the film is set to receive a full restoration, substantial re-edit, and a theatrical run overseen by Coppola. Just when I think I’m out, etc etc. The update will come with a new title, as well, to reflect the original vision of co-writer Mario Puzo and his director: Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.
Here’s what Coppola had to say in a statement:
“‘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.”
The Godfather: Part III, originally released in 1990, sees Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his instantly iconic early-1990s haircut struggling to legitimize his criminal empire as his nephew, Vincent Corleone (Andy Garcia), rises to power as his successor. Immediate reviews weren’t terrible, but time has not been kind to the third installment, especially compared to the masterful first two films.
American Zoetrope oversaw the film’s restoration, working with a 4K scan of the original negative and combing through 50 original takes to insert higher resolution opticals. Andrea Kalas, senior vice president, Paramount Archives, said this in a statement:
“Mr. Coppola oversaw every aspect of the restoration while working on the new edit, ensuring that the film not only looks and sounds pristine, but also meets his personal standards and directorial vision.”
Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is set for a theatrical run and home release this December. More concrete details to come.