Francis Ford Coppola shot to meteoric fame with the release of The Godfather (1972) adapted from Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name. Starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall, The Godfather received universal acclaim upon its release. Considered to be one of the best movies ever made, The Godfather was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and revived the gangster genre to pave the way for movies like Goodfellas and Scarface.
The sequel, The Godfather II was released in 1974 starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Serving as both prequel and sequel to The Godfather, the second movie explored the stories of both Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) in parallel. Despite failing to replicate its predecessor’s box-office success, The Godfather II received critical acclaim and became the first sequel movie to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.
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After a span of 16 years, Francis Ford Coppola released The Godfather III, to conclude the saga of Michael Corleone. Carrying the legacy of two universally acclaimed prequels, a lot was riding on the third movie. Unfortunately, the movie failed to live up to its own expectations. Despite winning seven Academy Award nominations, The Godfather III did not win a single award, making it the only movie in the trilogy to go trophyless.
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Marred with issues since the beginning, Robert Duvall refused to reprise his role as Tom Hagen in The Godfather III. Winona Ryder also dropped out of the movie due to physical exhaustion. As a result, Francis Ford Coppola roped in his daughter, Sofia Coppola to play the role of Mary Corleone, the daughter of Michael Corleone. Sofia Coppola has carved a name for herself as one of the best directors in recent years, but, her appearance in The Godfather III is something she dearly wishes to erase from existence. Also, Paramount Pictures had only given a year to both Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo to finish their script since the studio was eyeing a Christmas release in 1990.
In 2020, The Godfather III will be celebrating its 30th year anniversary. To set things right, director Francis Ford Coppola will be re-releasing the original idea which he had conceived with writer Mario Puzo. For starters, The Godfather III would be renamed as Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. Though we wish that Coppola could have gone for a much crisper and shorter title, to see his original vision for the movie is far more exciting at the moment.
According to Andrea Kalas, Senior Vice President, Paramount Archives, Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone has undergone a frame-by-frame restoration alongside the originally released The Godfather III from a 4K scan of the original negative. Mr. Kalas had the following to say regarding Coppola’s revival of his tainted legacy:
“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”
Francis Ford Coppola has reportedly worked with his production company American Zoetrope to search through 300 cartons of negative for over 50 original takes to replace lower resolution opticals in the original negative. With the help from Paramount’s restoration team, the decades-old prints were checked and repaired for scratches, stains, and other impurities. The CoVID-19 crisis further delayed the work, forcing American Zoetrope and Paramount to work remotely.
Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is slated to have a limited theatrical release this December. The movie will be then available on Digital Home Entertainment platforms.
The year 2020 surely seems like to be a year of revival for hastened movies that didn’t receive the praise they deserved. From Zack Snyder’s Justice League: Snyder Cut to Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather III, loyalists of the two directors will definitely be pleased with this unprecedented move.