Salvatore Corsitto, left, and Marlon Brando in “The Godfather” 1972. IMDb photo

 

On April 1, Railroad Square audiences will be among those who get to see the restored and polished 4K re-release of “The Godfather.”

Having seen the original and all three Godfather films dozens of times, owning the first boxed set of all three, owning the post of the 25th anniversary, and my prized possession of all, “The Godfather Family Album,” a gift from my daughter long ago, I feel very close to the film.

It’s been 50 years since “The Godfather” hit the big screens, and everyone is excited to see it in such a pristine condition.

Audiences here will finally get to see higher-quality sources of the film, with improved digital technology.

More than 4,000 hours were spent repairing the film to make the images pristine.

Advertisement

Francis Ford Coppola said of the print, “The whole thing is trying to get it to look like it did at the original screening of ‘The Godfather,’ when it was only two weeks old, not 20 years old or 50 years old.”

Coppola also explains that a full-scale restoration will deliver us a version of the movie we could not have seen unless we saw it in theaters in 1972.

“The studio system, which was so good at doing so much, was always weak at this question of preservation. ‘The Godfather’ was uncannily successful in its time. But Paramount was very unprepared for that success. Suddenly it found itself showing in New York in five theaters, because there was such a demand to see it, and then in other places all over the world. Instead of saying, let’s preserve the original negative because it’s going to be a valuable asset, they basically wore it out something awful because they used it to make so many prints. The prints started to be so unlike what the movie really should look like.”

James Mockoski at American Zoetrope helped Coppola with his work on this Godfather print. He had a very direct perspective and said, “Everyone wants to put their fingerprint on it and do something new. With the new technology, it’s trying to put more light in it. You’ve got this beautiful opening and they want to see all the details and the wood paneling. Well, that’s not the point. That’s not Godfather.”

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

filed under: