The Godfather Coppola Restoration Collection - Very Glad It's on Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Cinescott, May 10, 2011.

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  1. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    That's true. In any case, Sofia must be one of the few actors who has played both a character and the brother of that same character . Sure, getting baptized as a baby doesn't require much acting experience, but still.
     
  2. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    One of the greatest scores of all time. Nino Rota, RIP.

     
  3. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    "Part III"'s Michael doesn't seem like a tortured shell to me. From my review:


    For one, I found it hard to buy that he invested himself so strongly in his attempts to go straight. During much of the first two movies, he paid lip service to that concept, but he only became more heavily embroiled in the crime. By the end of Part II, he’d lost everything near and dear; the possibility that Michael would eventually snap out of it appears illogical and inconsistent with the character. 1959’s Michael was a tortured, doomed soul; there was no going back for him.
    Bizarrely, the Part III Michael depicts choices that never would’ve fit the Part II Michael. For instance, at the very start of Part III, we learn that Michael long ago let Kay take care of their kids for their perceived benefit. Huh? I can’t imagine that the Michael of Part II who completely shut Kay out of his – and his kids’ – lives would then rethink things and be so generous and forgiving. The same Michael who had his own brother killed due to transgressions somehow comes to be so beneficent to Kay, the woman he clearly would hate forever after she aborted his child? No way – absolutely no way. Did Coppola and the others just totally forget all aspects of Michael’s character? Probably not, but they wanted Michael to be distant from his kids for Part III’s story, so this illogical character twist occurred.
    Pacino plays 1979 Michael in a much more broad and gregarious manner as well. Oh, he seems tired at times, but he comes across as way too peppy and extroverted through much of Part III. For example, a scene in which he takes Kay on a tour of the family hometown in Sicily feels all wrong. I can’t envision even the young and idealistic Michael of the first film behaving in this way, much less the worn-out old man. By 1990, Pacino had become a much louder and showy actor than he’d been in the Seventies, and that made all the difference here. It hurt the film, for I never felt like this guy was even vaguely related to the Michael I watched earlier.
     
  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    Colin, I think we're gonna have to agree to disagree - but that said, I can see it your way as well (your review makes a good case for your point of view) and enjoyed your write-up.
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    My wife and I revisited Part III over the weekend. I do agree with Colin that I do not buy Michael turning over the education of their children to Kay, as mentioned early in the film. There is no way the Michael of Part II would have even considered this.

    I also still believe this was a decent film, but that Sophia Coppola was a very poor substitute for Winona Ryder as Mary. While Sophia may have had the life experiences to help with playing the role, she just wasn't a good actress. It was painful at times watching her performance.

    The best part of revisiting this film? It got us in the mood to re-watch the first two movies, and we got through Part 1 last night.
     
  6. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Count me in as a GFIII apologist only in the sense that I don't think it was as horrible as everyone else portrayed it to be, but it certainly does pale compared to I and II. Of course, what film wouldn't?

    I do think the GF trilogy was heavily affected by actors pricing themselves out of their roles in subsequent movies:

    1. Clemenza - how cool would the storyline have been to have Clemenza, the lone loyal caporegime, feel betrayed in II (aka the Pentageli role) by Michael. Only to "redeem" himself at the end with the bathtub scene?

    2. Winona Ryder in III - yes I don't think Sofia was horrible. But IMO she wasn't good. I think Ryder would have at least put her acting chops to use to make the most out of an admittedly small role.

    3. Duvall in III - this I think is the biggest loss. I think what was likely planned for his role was split into Mr. Suntan's forgettable turn at consigliere, and Connie's unexpected rise as her father's daughter (something we never see even hinted at in I and II). I think it would have been compelling to see Hagen, who was frozen out by Michael as not being a wartime consigliere, actually take control of the family when Michael no longer has the stomach for it, kind of bringing that whole character arc and relationship between the two men full-circle. It also brings to bear Hagen's assertion in I about Don Vito "he's a much a father to me as you or Mike..."

    Those are the three that jump out at me. And don't get me wrong, Pentageli did a great job in II, but I think his character kind of comes out of nowhere because of the fiasco that Clemenza (the actor who played him) did when he insisted on having his girlfriend have final say in his dialogue.
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Sorry, don't understand this. What does pricing have to do with this?

    RAH
     
  8. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Hi RAH - I didn't mean pricing literally for all three. When I started writing I was thinking of the rumor I heard about Duvall wanting equal pay with Pacino, and that's why I used pricing. I think Clemenza also wanted more money, which they were willing to give, but then wanted his girlfriend to have writing oversight for his part, which they were not. And of course Ryder was due to exhaustion. So I probably should have gone back and deleted pricing and substituted another word but...I was too lazy too.

    I guess you could file all of those under "missed opportunities".
     
  9. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Thanks!
     
  10. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Carlo,

    I agree that Duvall returning as Tom Hagen would have been much more interesting than the combo of Hamilton and Shire. While Shire is a fine actress, Hamilton didn't really add anything of interest to the film, and there was the lost opportunity to explore the Michael vs. Hagen storyline. Duvall's absence hurt this film more than anything else, including the casting of Sophia Copolla.

    I do not agree, though, that Mary was a "small role". The part received a significant amount of screen time, was critical to the plot through her taboo relationship with Vincent and her manipulation by her father, and her death was the ultimate price that Michael paid for his sins. It was one of the most important supporting roles in the film.
     
  11. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    I may be wrong, but I seem to recall a line in the beginning of Part III when Kay and Michael talk, and she essentially says, Anthony (Michael's son) knows you killed Fredo... I think at the least it was obvious in Part II by the end of it that the kids had grown frightened of their father, so if you throw that in with the (in my book) easy to believe assumption that Anthony figured out what happened to Uncle Fredo, and he goes and tells Mom about that... yeah, I can buy that Kay took over the kids education. I think it's briefly mentioned in the first film that she had become a schoolteacher, so it's not as if he was leaving the kids with some dope. Also, even though the original book and the movies are different animals, at the end of the book, initially Kay leaves Michael when Carlo "disappears", and Michael pretty much lets her take the kids and go. If it's not believable in the film (and personally I don't have an issue with it, though I see this as being a point where I can totally understand the thinking behind both Scott and Colin's point of view), my memory of the original book and all of that has so informed the little gaps in the film that something like that doesn't bug me.

    The biggest problem in Part III, in my opinion, is the absence of Duvall. Even if he wanted Pacino money, so what? For how much just his presence alone would have added, that would have been worth the extra dollars. Of course, it's not my money... but it just seems like one of those things where if you're going to be going through all the trouble of making the film... that that's not the thing to cheap out over. But I did like the opportunities that presented to Talia Shire; at the end of Part II she "comes home" and I thought her growing influence was believable. I think her rebellion against Michael and the family in the second film wasn't just about Michael having killed Carlo, which she surely figured out - I think it was as much about her agreeing on some level that it had to be done, as well as the pain she must have felt in knowing her husband was responsible for the death of her brother.
     
  12. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Josh, I can see your point of view regarding the children's education, especially if you tie it in with Anthony discovering that Michael had Fredo killed, as alluded to early in part III. I have not read the novel in many, many years, and do not remember it very well, so my opinions are formed exclusively from the films themselves. I just think the scene in Part II where Michael shuts Kay out and tells her that he will never let her take "his" children is such a powerful and defining scene for Michael's character. This left such an impression on me regarding who Michael is that I have a difficult time accepting him turning over the children to Kay just a few years later.
     
  13. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Scott, what you wrote about Sofia's role makes a lot of sense, so much so that I had to ponder why I even thought of it as a small role. The nearest I can come to for an answer is that while I didn't feel Sofia was horrible, I didn't think she was good, and there were some cringeworthy lines (like her delivery of "cuz" for cousin) which perhaps made me minimize the role in my mind because I was trying to get through her performance. All the more reason that someone like Ryder could have been a major upgrade to the role.
     
  14. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    I tend to agree with the opinions that the Michael Corleone character seems very different in Part III than the first two. His wishes for redemption and absolution from his crimes seemed a bit too contrived, although I admit it is interesting to watch. Maybe a better approach would have been a more vicious Michael who is ultimately and inevitably taken down by his crimes. In II he seems invincible. In III it's almost like a different person and almost all of that is attributable to Coppola.

    Wouldn't it have been interesting to have had a Michael still rooted in evil, but unable to control his fate? I know his daughter's death was a price, but what about his own by someone he wronged 30 years ago? Similar to Michael's revenge on Febrizzio (sp?). The Sicilian Code still in effect in the 90s. That would have been interesting to me.
     
  15. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Actually, one of the things I do like about Part III is Michael's fate. What is worse -- getting killed by an enemy or watching your daughter gunned down and having to live out your remaining days knowing you are the reason she died? The final shot of Michael dying alone says so much about his fate after the horrific events on the opera hall steps.
     
  16. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    I agree that he is totally different - even the physical parts of the performance are very different. But I've always been able to attribute that to the passage of time, the twenty years or whatever it's supposed to be between the Part II and Part III. I didn't see Part III until many years after I first saw the original two, but I have to admit that in the time before I saw Part II, I wondered what the consequences of Michael's actions would have - that final shot of him in Part II sitting alone on the bench, after reflecting on that memory of the family all together, himself as an idealistic young man - to me that's a very stark, lonely image. Though it doesn't exactly convey "what have I done?" as a viewer I find it an easy leap to imagine that as he lived those remaining years, the weight of what he had done might have truly sunk in. You can try to outrun your past as much as you want, but eventually, all things catch up with you.

    At the end of Part I, when Michael has Carlo killed (his brother-in-law) and Tessio (one of his father's oldest friends/contemporaries), both of those choices seem justifiable based on the "rules" of the lifestyle they chose to live. Carlo was always a bastard to Connie and his part in Sonny's death really is an unforgivable sin. And Tessio did conspire to bring about Michael's end, and failed, and death is the price of being caught. But Fredo's sins... the way I read Part II was not that he intentionally tried to have Michael killed, but that his displeasure and jealousy at the way he was passed over and treated like the errand boy led to him revealing some information that he shouldn't have which led to the attempt on his life - as opposed to Fredo actually saying "I want my brother dead." (If I'm incorrect about that point, please let me know.) But even if Fredo's transgression was more intentional than I remember it being, your brother is still your brother. Even in the context of The Godfather and all of the violence the characters are responsible for, the murder of one's own brother still strikes me as a truly unforgivable sin. (I would argue that that kind of an act would fundamentally change a person in ways they couldn't imagine or have anticipated when they decided to do it.) My favorite scene in Part III is probably Michael's confession.

    Nonetheless, I do agree that Michael's portrayal in Part III is very different from the earlier films, and as much as I've been able to make a case for why it works for me - it wasn't something that went over so well the first time I saw the movie, and I think it's very understandable to not be onboard with Coppola's decisions in that regard. On the other hand... now that I've had plenty of time to reflect on Part III, I can't imagine what the film would be like had Michael stayed the same. I think that might have struck me the way that it might when you see an old action star who's clearly outgrown the role still trying to muscle his way through scenes as if he was still 25 - just not believable and more of an intentional parody than a believable thing. Part III is by no means a perfect film, where I'd say that Part I most definitely is (I like Part II but not as much as Part I), but I respect that Coppola tried to make the film the way he saw it... that he made it as a sort of epilogue as opposed to an equal part of the story as the first two.
     
  17. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    http://scoop.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/22/8952034-francis-ford-coppola-one-godfather-film-was-enough


    "There should have only been one," Coppola said on camera.
     
  18. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Okay that was Coppola answering a TMZ guy (who sounded borderline…"special"...while asking the questions). I'm not entirely sure FFC was completely serious in his answer. Especially when you listen to his commentaries about the films. It's clear how much passion and love he had for I and II (I haven't gotten around to listening to his commentary on III).
     
  19. Guest

    Doesn't he consider I and II to really be just one big story with III an epilogue? Maybe that's what he meant.
     
  20. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    For what it may be worth, GF and GFII were both shot by the same DP (Gordon Willis), with the same camera, optics, etc. There is total continuity.

    RAH
     

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