Francis Ford Coppola never hit his directorial stride until he made “The Godfather.” Sure he did a good job on the adaptations of “You’re A Big Boy Now” and “Finian’s Rainbow,” but those were different beasts entirely. His film “The Rain People” landed a few years after those but faded as just as quickly. It was when Francis got his hands on the epic novel from Mario Puzo, and nailed the job as director months before it became a huge bestseller, that he had his first real chance to shine. And shine he did; his adaptation, co-written with Puzo, transferred brilliantly from the page to screen in the first of two glorious, heartbreaking films. There is no one that can deny this fact. With heaps of awards bestowed on virtually everyone involved, Parts I and II of “The Godfather” will forever live in cinema history as films that did justice to the novel they were based on.
“The Godfather” was a simple introduction to a complex family. The Godfather himself, played spot-on by Marlon Brando, is focused on nothing but a solid family, a good business, and maintaining peace. He doesn’t harbor grandiose dreams that are impossible, nor does he think that the world relies on him or his business sense. He is a reasonable man above all things and the film goes to great lengths in proving this. It is a closed-minded film, one that doesn’t seek to show the outer world of the Corleone’s but the inner. The contrast between those who have lived inside this sheltered life-Sonny, Connie, and Tom Hagen for example-to the ones who have not-such as Michæl Corleone and Kay Adams-are what make this drama so effective. You see the viewpoints from both and neither is wrong. It is simply a matter of opinion and what value you put on those around you. Stark, dramatic, and thought-provoking, the film deservedly earned Oscars to Marlon Brando for his flawless performance along with Ford and Puzo for their sharp script.
“The Godfather Part II” is both a sequel and prequel in one film. We travel with Vito Andolini on his voyage to America from Corleone, Italy and watch as he makes an empire. We observe the paranoid, icy Michæl take control of the family and tear it to pieces one member at a time. “The Godfather Part II” was so profound because instead of the claustrophobic original, the film spreads its wings into the sociopolitical world that the Corleone’s had found themselves in. From Las Vegas to Cuba, the ramifications of the family’s actions were now felt on a larger scale and that meant more devastating consequences. Coppola finally got his directing Oscar for this film and it’s easy to see why. With a strong, steady hand he guides us through two time periods and molds performances that are simply legendary. This picture is easily the best of the three, the most moving and best edited. While its 200 minute running time might give one pause, rest assured that you’ll be riveted until the last frame.
I take it you’ve noticed I haven’t mentioned anything about “The Godfather Part III.” There is a good reason for this. Francis Ford Coppola admits that after the colossal failures of “One from the Heart” and “Tucker: The Man and His Dream,” the director badly needed a hit. While “Peggy Sue Got Married” and “The Outsiders” weren’t exactly bombs at the box office, they didn’t light it up either. Considering his biggest success in those ten years after “The Godfather” and its sequel was Disney’s “Captain EO,” you get some sense of what lengths the man was brought to and why “The Godfather Part III” was made at all.
The last film of the trilogy is a meandering piece trying so hard to capture the magic of the first two that it fails under its own devices. The nepotism of those involved, from the disastrous decision to use Sofia Coppola in a key role to Talia Shire returning to a character she had forgotten how to play, show just what kind of film you’re in for. Francis attempts to tell the story of Michæl Corleone’s redemption and fails miserably. Though Michæl talks on and on about how he wants to do better and save himself, he makes the same mistakes over and over again. The crime setup is so involved in its own inner-workings you need a narrator to tell you what just happened. You wonder why the cast, crew, and studio went to so much trouble with the whole debacle. The loss of Tom Hagen, with the brilliant Duvall replaced by George Hamilton of all people, is a blunder to say the least. The bitter, cold tone of the film was lost on a generation who grew up without the first two pictures and even multiple Golden Globe and Oscar nominations couldn’t disguise the fact that almost everyone involved did it for the cash. While the third picture is by no means a complete failure, it certainly isn’t a triumph. A fitting end for such a raw tale, I’m glad the Godfather saga ends here, and there is no Godfather Part IV anywhere in the future.
VIDEO ^ In the case of “The Godfather” and all its sequels, there has been much ado about the video side of these discs. It is no secret that Paramount chose not to do a full restoration on these films, and the results are lackluster at best. The sources for the transfers were derived from “The Godfather” Laserdisc Special Edition Box Set released in the early 1990s and look every bit of it.
“The Godfather” is cropped, as all of the films in this set are, to a 1.77:1 ratio from their original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Call me a purist, snob, or just plain arrogant, but classic films should not be reformatted for the simple pleasure of filling the entire HDTV screen. Three words come to mind: Is it necessary? Important, landmark films should be treated as such and not be changed or altered in any way. Most of us however wouldn’t notice the space lost on such a move. This is a matter of opinion, but those who have watched the films innumerable times can tell a difference.
One certainly couldn’t miss is the grain, dirt, scratches, and noise which cover this murky print either. This laserdisc master looked fine on those 12″ silver platters, but when you take the same print and amplify it by making it anamorphic, you get 30% more resolution and 30% more viewing area. And what you can see now aren’t the little details you missed, just an amplification of defects. With only a handful of scenes that are truly striking, the rest of the print fails beyond measure. I wanted a version of “The Godfather” that would do Paramount proud, that the studio could showcase as their most highly touted work and would be a trendsetter for all of their future historic film endeavors. Instead there is nothing but letdown, heartache, and shrugged shoulders at what a missed opportunity. While it isn’t a total wash, it certainly isn’t what fans hoped for, not by a long shot.
“The Godfather Part II,” spread over two discs, features higher quality in the video department. Since the print was handled with much better care than its predecessor, the effect is immediate and obvious. The same flaws that haunted “The Godfather” disc are present here but subdued. A fine layer of noise, lots of edge-enhancement halos, and serious grain is apparent-we’re still dealing with a laserdisc master here-but the shadow detail and contrast are much improved. While not reference quality it stands head and shoulders above “The Godfather.”
What is really puzzling is that “The Godfather Part III” was made only twelve years ago but contains enough grain to look twice that age. Sure the dirt and scratches from the previous two films are gone, but a fine layer of grain is unmistakable through almost the entire film. It is however worth noting that the shadow detail, contrast, and edge enhancement problems the first two films endured are practically absent here. This disc features a solid transfer that is far and away the best of the trilogy.
While I could go on with purist quibbles and complaints, there is no doubt that “The Godfather” trilogy has never looked so good. The laserdiscs were breathtaking for their time, and the VHS versions were awful. I for one still hold on to the futile hope that Paramount may revisit “The Godfather” Collection with new, buff-and-scrubbed transfers that would to The Family proud.
AUDIO ^ Paramount created new Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks for all three films and the results are decidedly mixed.
“The Godfather” is clean mono now, where it was dirty mono before. There is virtually no movement from the left to right speakers and you can forget about anything coming from the surrounds. While the dialogue and sound effects are crisp, the soundtrack as a whole is dull and unexciting. A servicing mix, but not much else can be said.
“The Godfather Part II” is opened up a bit with the score now coming from both left and right front speakers and a handful of times where the surrounds are actually used. Overall this mix is mono, but great mono, with the clear dialogue and sound effects. I would love to say this is the definitive mix for such a great film but it is not.
“The Godfather Part III” is the newest of the three, consequently featuring the best mix. There is a lot more surround action and the dialogue sounds much more natural than the previous tracks, with the score coming from all speakers and the ambiance, at times, superb.
Also included for each film are French 1.0 mono tracks along with English and French subtitles.
EXTRAS ^ If there is anything included in this package that is truly worth its weight in gold it is the extras. There is an entire disc dedicated to supplements. But let’s not forget the feature-length commentaries by Coppola included for each film.
Three Feature-Length Commentaries by Francis Ford Coppola ^ To put nine hours of conversation in a few paragraphs is a difficult task. In a word they are surprising. In more: honest, forthright and a bit depressing. The aged director talks about his tribulations in “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II.” He discusses what the studio expected of him, the pressure he endured, themes, musical cues, editing choices, the works. In “The Godfather Part III” he converses on what went right and all that went wrong, his financial plight forcing him into make the picture, and even praises his daughter Sophia for her dreadful performance. The undercurrent of ho-hum on this last commentary is saddening, but not unexpected.
These commentaries are some of the best I’ve ever heard. Though they tend to repeat themselves-with nine hours of talk, can you blame the guy?-they remain an absolute prerequisite before even thinking about directing or entering the studio system as it stands today. Not to mention all of the little nuggets of information on the production such as what scene is shot where, Coppola’s views on special effects, and how hard it was to get certain emotional scenes filmed correctly. For the uninitiated commentary listener nine hours of chat may seem daunting. But rest assured, these tracks are treasures of the highest order, and will not soon live out their welcome.
The supplements on the fifth disc are broken down into six categories: Behind The Scenes, Filmmakers, The Family Tree, Additional Scenes/Godfather Chronology, Galleries, and finally Acclaim and Response.
Behind The Scenes
A Look Inside (1:13:25) ^ Created during the production of “The Godfather Part III,” this poorly edited feature has some great insight if it would just find a pace and stick to it. Since it has no retrospective look on the last installment, all of “The Godfather Part III” comments are overwhelmingly positive and feature a very bright look for the future of the film. Meetings, rehearsals, and behind the scenes footage are included in ample helpings. The most treasured info regards “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II.” Early screen tests for “The Godfather” are surprising, with a brilliant take on Sonny by Robert Deniro (who was too scary for the role) to the odd choice of Martin Sheen as Michæl.
Most telling are the troubles in getting “The Godfather” produced. Though Pacino certainly wasn’t Paramount’s first choice, Coppola kept bringing him back time and time again for tests until the executives finally understood this was the man for the part. At one point Paramount was displeased with the lack of violence in the film, so they arranged for a “violence director” to come in and shoot some blood and gore. In a display of quick thinking Coppola came up with Connie’s ‘belt lashing’ scene, one of the most disturbing scenes of the film, and saved the day. All in all a well done documentary, though near the end almost turns into an Electronic Press Kit for “The Godfather Part III.”
On Location (6:56) ^ This briskly paced feature discusses the locales for the trilogy. All three were shot in real locations, not studio back lots. Production designer Dean Tavoularis visits New York and gives us a tour of the streets, alleys, and storefronts utilized in the various productions. A very detailed look at how much work was required to make the movies look as authentic as they do.
Francis Ford Coppola’s Notebook (10:12) ^ This wonderful supplement details how Francis made a prompt book, a traditional theater device, using Puzo’s novel. It’s fascinating how detailed the man got into each and every aspect of the story, stating at one point that a script was unnecessary: he could’ve completed the entire film straight from this notebook. Francis indexed each scene he planned to film into five categories: Synopsis, The Times (time period), Imagery and Tone, The Core (point of the scene), and Pitfalls (what he could screw up). Methodical isn’t the word.
Music of “The Godfather” ^ These two sub-sections deal with both composers for “The Godfather” films, Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola.
-Nino Rota (5:29) ^ A fantastic audio-only supplement showcasing the first few takes of Nino Rota’s moving score captured live in Rome during January, 1972. On scratchy audio using a solo acoustic piano these rare, precious moments of Nino feeling his way through the original “Godfather” score are gems to be cherished. Glimpses of perfection are heard here as the powerful themes of the film play over a backdrop of stills.
-Carmine Coppola (3:13) ^ Carmine contributed to the first two films and scored “The Godfather Part III.” This boring supplement features Carmine going on (and on) about how great his son Francis is and how his whole life he waited for the break that finally came in “The Godfather.”
Puzo and Coppola on Screenwriting (8:07) ^ This supplement begins with Puzo detailing the publishing nightmare of “The Godfather.” After his second novel was released he shopped an outline of the story to all of the major publishers and failed to get anyone’s attention. Finally someone at Putnam invited him to speak to the editors of the company. Puzo didn’t bring the outline, just told the group a few mob stories he had heard growing up. They were pleased with what they heard and gave him an advance to write the novel. The rest is publishing history.
Coppola then interjects with his screenwriting woes, how he wrote “The Godfather” parts I and II, and the process of rewriting with Puzo. The stories of “The Godfather Part II” feature the most intriguing screenplay insights since Michæl’s story wasn’t in the original novel. The arguments about killing Fredo and when, how to structure the second film, and what needed to be left out are all absorbing.
The most fascinating detail of this feature is Puzo’s idea for “The Godfather” Part IV. The story would supposedly focus on Sonny Corleone and how he entered the family business and became a killer in the 1920’s. Though Puzo shopped the half-completed screenplay to studios, no one would touch it. Puzo died in 1992.
Gordon Willis on Cinematography ^ Gordon’s influence on later films, especially period films with their yellow hues, is unmistakable. This feature highlights those aspects of his work and what groundbreaking techniques he perfected in “The Godfather” trilogy. His low-lighting schemes are well known and cinematographers such as Conrad Hall (“American Beauty”) give their impressions of the man and how he has affected the art of lighting. Willis is well aware of his high status in the world of cinematography and says went too far in only one scene of the trilogy. He says, quote, “Rembrandt went too far a couple of times!” No absence of ego here…
Storyboards for “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II” ^ Placed in two different sections, these 20 or so storyboards are shown without any type of description or reference to the scene they should be presenting. A dull feature at best since there is no commentary or storyboard to screen comparison available.
“The Godfather” Behind The Scenes (8:50) ^ This Electronic Press Kit from 1971 features horrible, scratchy video along with passable behind the scenes footage. The sad fact is that this EPK doesn’t look much different from those produced today, telling you something about the maturity of the format. Interviews are innocent and optimistic though the tension underneath the comments is easily apparent-the pressure around the film isn’t well hidden here.
Filmmakers ^ This section includes biographies and links to corresponding documentaries for Coppola, screenwriter Puzo, production designer Dean Tavoularis, cinematographer Gordon Willis, and composers Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola. The biographies are short but extensive, and selecting the person’s name inside the bio screen will launch their documentaries: Coppola takes you to Francis Ford Coppola’s Notebook, Puzo to Puzo and Coppola on Screenwriting, Tavoularis to On Location, and Willis to Gordon Willis on Cinematography. Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola’s respective documentaries are the same ones located in the Music of “The Godfather” section.
The Family Tree ^ This well-detailed feature contains an image of the Corleone family tree and the names of certain family members available for selection. Selecting a name will bring you to the biography of their character with their heirs’ history also available. An extensive supplement that is easy to navigate and well worth your time. The family members available to select are: Vito, Fredo, Sonny, Michæl, Connie, and Tom Hagen. For example: click on Vito to see his character bio along with the ability to see information on his wife, mother, and Johnny Fontane.
Additional Scenes/Godfather Chronology ^ The largest section the disc, this monstrous supplement is divided into four different groups: 1901-1927, 1945, 1947-1955, 1958-1979. Presented in Dolby Stereo 2.0 and non-anamorphic full frame video, these scenes vary in quality.
-Searching For Vito (0:44) ^ Don Ciccio’s men come and take Vito and his mother to the don, fearing the boy would take revenge for the death of his brother and father. This scene would’ve slowed down things considerably and was wisely excised.
-Fanucci Attacked (2:46) ^ Vito watches undetected as three young thugs attack and cut the throat of small-time thug Fanucci, but not enough to kill him. If included in the film these moments would not have made Vito’s decision to kill Fanucci as powerful. Clearly Fanucci is already vulnerable; Vito would just be finishing him off.
-Clemenza: “I’m my own boss” (0:32) ^ Clemenza (Bruno Kirby) details the sad story of his father who spent his entire life working in the subway but never got the chance to actually ride it. He vows to never end up like that and tries to talk Vito out of living the same life. It would’ve been a nice addition to “The Godfather Part II” but obviously isn’t needed.
-Playing the Flute (4:02) ^ In a bit of trivia and tribute, Coppola’s pays homage to his grandfather Augustino. Vito accompanies Clemenza and Tessio to Augustino’s Gun Shop where their firearms are cleaned while Coppola’s father Carmine, about seven years old at the time, plays the flute for them. In-joke aside this is a long, boring scene where nothing happens for four minutes.
-Discussing Fanucci (1:28) ^ This is a redundant conversation between Vito, Tessio, and Clemenza, nervous about giving Fanucci less than he asked for. They fear Fanucci will discover their small-time rackets and take revenge. Overstating what is already included in the film, this is a welcome cut.
-Reasoning with Senor Roberto (0:36) ^ Roberto was the apartment landlord in “The Godfather Part II.” This is an extension of the bargaining that takes place in the film, underlining the fact that Vito is a reasonable man, but also hints at his unwillingness to budge on his demands. A good edit, but remains a solid piece of acting.
-Don Vito Corleone (0:22) ^ A short intro to the sequence in which Roberto comes back to apologize for being so rude to Vito. Significant for the first ever reference to the name “Don Vito Corleone.”
-Introducing Hyman Roth (1:16) ^ Though he carries a large role in “The Godfather Part II,” Hyman Roth isn’t featured anywhere in the flashback sections of the film. In this segment Vito gives a youthful Roth his name and also makes sense of a crafty in-joke later in the film when Roth comments he’s liked baseball ever since “Arnold Rothstein fixed the World Series in 1919.”
-Vito’s Revenge (2:01) ^ In this cold-blooded, heartless sequence, Vito tracks down two of Don Ciccio’s former employees prior to killing the don himself. One gets his throat cut while another succumbs to a beating with an oar. These scenes display the powerful contrast of the mature man and the hurt young boy who wants nothing but revenge for the death of his family.
-The Death of Genco (3:54) ^ Genco, the don’s first consigliore, makes an appearance on his death bed. The best part occurs in the short moment between the Godfather and Michæl, where the don urges Michæl to go to school and take part in the family business. A bit contradicting considering we are under the impression the Godfather wanted Michæl to stay out of the family enterprise. The rest is poorly edited and over-the-top, thankfully left on the cutting room floor.
-A Gift From Woltz (0:38) ^ Jane, a 12 year-old girl featured in the first cuts of the film and the novel, is given a pony by studio head Woltz. Read on to find out why.
-Hagen Sees Jane (0:20) ^ A short, telling moment in which Hagen realizes what Jane had to do for the pony she was given. Harsh and heartbreaking, you realize the kind of man Woltz is: a child molester.
-A Family Fight (1:06) ^ Hagen recounts his knowledge of Woltz’s behavior with Jane to Sonny and the don whilst upstairs Connie and Carlo have yet another argument. The new information finalizes the decision to take drastic measures so Johnny Fontane will get his movie role. Though I wish the Jane subplot would’ve been included in the film-it paints Woltz as a truly evil character far better than the final cut does now-these small scenes remain needless in the narrative flow of “The Godfather.”
-Michæl and Kay in Bed (2:28) ^ “Mario Puzo’s Complete Novel for Television” incorporated this footage detailing how Michæl and Kay would rather stay at home together than go visit the Godfather. This funny, playful moment has Kay pretending to be a telephone operator connecting a long distance call for Michæl to get them out of the engagement. FIX FIX FIX
-The Don’s Been Shot… (1:00) ^ Sonny is forced into the responsibility of being the new don after he receives the phone call that solidifies his new status. This longer take shows Sonny trying to deal with the news.
-Sonny Absorbs the News (2:42) ^ Nice, quiet scenes featuring Sonny showing reluctance to his new status and telling his mother what happened. Her cold, resigned response is chilling.
-Michæl Gets Involved (2:35) ^ Michæl consoles Hagen’s wife Teresa and begins to declare the quiet don-like power he will later bring to fruition. It’s in this scene where we see Michæl’s chance to shine as a quiet but assertive authority figure when the family finds out that Paulie has betrayed them.
-Planning Paulie’s Death (0:54) ^ Rocco’s character in “The Godfather” is window dressing at best and this short scene adds little to his paper-thin persona. Clemenza and Rocco discuss wooden bumpers and quickly detail how Paulie will be killed so Rocco can “make his bones.”
-Clemenza Eats Lunch (1:42) ^ Directly after the previous deleted scene this quick sequence shows Clemenza telling Rocco and Paulie he is going to call Sonny when in fact he goes into a restaurant to simply eat lunch. Due to poor editing there is no tension as to whether Paulie is going to be killed or not and the idea that Clemenza breaks his word is unsurprising at best.
-A Communist Demonstration (2:06) ^ A parade of communist workers march in support of a new government regime for Sicily as Michæl and his bodyguards pass by. Soon after one of the bodyguards, the traitor Fabrizio, begins showing his interest in the American lifestyle and reveals that he knows who, and just how important, Michæl is. A foreshadowing scene best left here, and not in the film.
-Yelling In The Shower (1:20) ^ Yet another shouting match between Carlo and Connie; yawn.
-“Bring me Fabrizio” (0:43) ^ Michæl is destroyed by the loss of his wife Apollonia and overtaken with feelings of vengeance. The cold, calculating manner in which he instructs the guards to find Fabrizio is a telling sign of things to come in “The Godfather Part II.”
-Talking In The Garden (1:17) ^ Michæl makes plain to the don his intentions to avenge the deaths of Sonny and Apollonia. While his father is against it, he did agree to keep the peace after all, the don knows that he is too old and tired to do anything about Michæl’s convictions. A poignant and sad conversation on the state of family affairs and details how close the two have become.
-Hagen: “Why am I out?” (0:37) ^ Hagan is removed as family consigliore and his reaction in the film is extended here.
-Kay Lights Candles (1:49) ^ At the end of the novel Kay prays for redemption of Michæl’s soul when she realizes what kind of man he is. While it worked beautifully in the book, the final scene of “The Godfather” featuring the powerful thematic device of the door shutting Kay out of her husband’s life was replaced in “Mario Puzo’s Complete Novel for Television” special. This long scene at the altar, that includes a credit crawl, is a disappointment on all levels and will hopefully not be seen edited into the movie again.
-Fredo and Deanna (0:49) ^ Fredo yet again gets embarrassed by his wife. This is as redundant as Connie and Carlo fighting, and gratefully cut from the picture.
-No Champagne Cocktails (0:25) ^ Frankie Pentangeli (Michæl V. Gazzo) searches for a beer to cool his throat. After arguing with the waiter, the conclusion is made that only feminine drinks are available at the party.
-Francesca to Marry (2:41) ^ Francesca, Sonny’s oldest daughter, seeks Michæl’s blessing for her upcoming marriage. A very well done moment, its inclusion is missed in “The Godfather Part II” because it shows that Michæl was not solely a monster, just ill-mannered in his reactions to family-destroying behavior.
-Fabrizio Located (0:43) ^ Fabrizio is found in Buffalo, NY and this powerful, short scene lets us see Michæl’s reaction.
-Neri Humiliates Klingman ^ A ruthless, cold scene that is badly acted and uncomfortable to watch. Neri, Michæl’s henchman, roughs up a stubborn casino owner for reasons not well explained. Bearing no context to the film itself, this is a useless scene.
-Fabrizio Murdered (1:05) ^ The title says it all. It bookends the previous two deleted scenes and would have appeared directly before Michæl finds Anthony’s drawing on his pillow.
-“The Godfather Part III” Alternate Opening (6:15) ^ In dirty, off-color letterboxed video this alternate opening-complete with music and titles-would’ve been a far better beginning to the film. Donal Donelly, playing Archbishop Gilday, is somehow trying to overact himself out of his clothes and the performance is stifling and embarrassing as he explains the financial plight of the Vatican. While it would have opened the film with better poignancy than what is included now, Coppola decided to “focus on the family first and not the business.”
Galleries ^ Theatrical Trailers ^ Three trailers are included here, one for each film. Though “The Godfather Part II” references Academy Awards they all seem to be the first run, and not re-release, trailers.
-“The Godfather” (3:38) ^ This is simply the worst trailer I’ve ever had the chance to view. The entire segment is composed of stills and score, telling you two and a half hours of story in that short running time. It’s so bad you want to watch it again just to see how they ruined each and every surprise.
-“The Godfather Part II” (4:14) ^ Precluded by a long announcement for its Oscar wins, the trailer itself runs a little over three minutes. Another choice showing of how not to cut a trailer, it gives away far too much information and does a shoddy job of setting up the dual storylines.
-“The Godfather Part III” (4:24) ^ Long in the tooth, this trailer details the first two films quickly and goes on to blurb about the amount of awards and acclaim they have received. The rest of the footage then shows precisely what screwed it up: a contrived storyline, lame acting, and sub-par editing.
Acclaim and Response ^ A surprising list of supplements, these are snippets from television broadcasts of Oscar ceremonies in the past, along with lists of awards
-“The Godfather” Best Screenplay 1972 (2:24) ^ Mario Puzo’s daughter wears one of the worst dresses in this history of fabric. Coppola is no slouch either, with a plush green suit that looks like one big pincushion. The speeches are thankfully short, and this feature is a great laugh.
-“The Godfather” Best Picture 1972 (1:47) ^ Producer Albert S. Ruddy sports a gold suit with blue lapels (I can’t make this stuff up folks) and accepts the award graciously while still getting in his share of studio exec a*s-kissing.
-“The Godfather Part II” Best Director 1974 (1:50) ^ A better-dressed Coppola discusses the fact that he almost won the award the first time around and thanks the Academy for giving an Oscar to his father.
-“The Godfather Part II” Best Picture 1974 (1:03) ^ Unbelievably short, the trio of producers for the film (including Coppola this time) thanks everyone for the award and high tails it off stage.
-Awards and Nominations ^ Three screens listing the Oscar wins and nominations the films have received.
-1974 Network TV Intro (1:35) ^ Francis Ford Coppola sits in the editing room with “The Godfather Part II” (scenes of it can be seen in the background), easily the most interesting detail about this supplement. Francis explains to the audience that he completely re-edited “The Godfather” so that it could play on network TV. He also adds that the audience shouldn’t assume that since this Italian family is in crime all Italians are criminals. Thanks for the tip, Francis.
Easter Eggs ^ Be on the lookout for Easter Eggs, including one in the Set Up menu and another surprise Soprano visit somewhere in the DVD credits. You won’t have to look too hard for them.
Paramount certainly tried hard with this release. The supplements for this package are bar none the highlight of the set. The amazing commentaries to the surprising amount of extras are worth listening to and watching time and time again. While they dropped the ball on the video department (again) and the audio is merely adequate, Paramount made an offer no DVD aficionado can refuse. I suspect in a few years Paramount will do what Warner did with The Stanley Kubrick Collection, issuing brand new transfers (possibly a full restoration) a few years down the road in another box set, forcing all of us DVD die-hards to throw down another hundred bucks for the sake of completion. Worth the extras, but the films show lackluster work. Buy at your own risk.
OVERALL (DVD): * * * ½ – 3 Stars
Ratings for “The Godfather” ^ MOVIE: * * * * * – 5 Stars ^ VIDEO: * * – 2 Stars ^ AUDIO: * * – 2 Stars
Ratings for “The Godfather Part II” ^ MOVIE: * * * * * – 5 Stars ^ VIDEO: * * * – 3 Stars ^ AUDIO: * * * – 3 Stars
Ratings for “The Godfather Part III” ^ MOVIE: * * * – 3 Stars ^ VIDEO: * * * ½ – 3.5 Stars ^ AUDIO: * * * ½ – 3.5 Stars