The Godfather reborn

We recently reported that Paramount was trying to halt publication of a new sequel to the Godfather, and discussed how the original Godfather negative was in danger of falling apart before Spielberg personally called the studio.

He told them they needed to restore the film, prompting Paramount to spend a cool million dollars restoring the negative.

While any new sequels to The Godfather truly won’t hurt its legacy, the first two Godfathers will always be great movies and their place in history is secure, as there has been further restoration efforts in honor of the film’s 40th anniversary.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will receive a special showing at fifty-five Cinemark locations on March 1 to celebrate The Godfather anniversary. The Godfather Part II will also head back to Cinemark theaters on April 19.

The restoration was reportedly overseen by Gordon Willis, who was the cinematographer for all three Godfather films, and whose dark, textured camerawork broke new ground when films were previously too bright and overlit. (The studios wanted to make sure their movies could be seen at the drive-ins, and after The Godfather they would make two sets of prints of a film, a darker one for theaters, and a lighter one for the drive-ins.) The Godfather restoration also got a 5.1 digital surround sound remix.

As a press release tells us, “There is no greater iconic film than The Godfather. It has set the standard for story-telling, launched a generation of great actors, and provided movie-goers an unparalleled experience.” 

Indeed, Franics Ford Coppola did elevate what was essentially a trashy, “beach reading” novel into art with The Godfather, and the film also gave Brando a new lease on life when he couldn’t get arrested.

Also funny enough, the real Godfather anniversary was March 24, 1972, but the 24th of March is on a Saturday this year, and as Cinema Blend quips, “I suppose they just want to keep as many theaters open for The Hunger Games as possible.”