The Godfather Trilogy and The Godfather Saga

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Tom St Jones, Aug 16, 2014.

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  1. Tom St Jones

    Tom St Jones Second Unit

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    (some of the following is paraphrased from a Wikipedia entry):
    In 1977, over several nights, NBC aired a special version of the first two movies (the third didn't exist yet) re-edited in chronological order and featuring previously unseen footage. This was aired under the title "The Godfather: The Complete Novel for Television". Many people felt that this version was superior to the two movies individually. A somewhat shorter cut of this version was released to home video by Paramount in 1981 as "The Godfather Saga: 1902-1959".
    A decade later, after "The Godfather Part III" was released, a third unified version was released to video entitled "The Godfather Trilogy: 1901-1980". This version has been praised as being superior to all previous ones. In 2012, to celebrate the first film's 40th anniversary, AMC aired a new, slightly re-edited version of "The Saga/ TCNFT" (taken from a recently-discovered pristine print of the 1977 version, matted to widescreen) in HD. Unfortunately, none of the above versions have been released on DVD.
    So the question is, does anyone have any sort of line on what the chances are we'll see any version of the chronological versions on Blu-ray (or DVD) anytime soon?
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Wow. Good question.

    I have a VHS copy of that Godfather Saga release, though I never watched it.

    Think it would be rather cool to see the film in order of the events that occur.

    That being said, I totally doubt we will ever see it released on Blu-ray.

    I would "think" that this is not something that could simply be recut from the existing
    new transfers and that Paramount would need to go back to the original source material
    and remaster. That makes things more complicated than they already are.

    You have piqued my interest enough that I plan to personally bring this title up with
    Paramount when I visit with them this fall.
     
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  3. Tom St Jones

    Tom St Jones Second Unit

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    By all means, maybe it'll pique "their" interest :-]. If any or all of the excised footage (which I believe is included as extras on The Godfather Coppola Restoration set) used for these versions has been restored or at least well-preserved, that would probably boost our chances of seeing one or more of these versions reissued. Perhaps RAH could chime in on the subject, as I imagine he would certainly know a thing or two about it.
     
  4. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    I strongly doubt that we'll see the television version made available on Blu-ray.
    As I understand it, the additional material is all in the deleted material that can be found both in the DVD set and the Blu-ray set.

    The movies, in my opinion, work best in the manner in which we have them. Godfather II in particular is meant to be seen in point/counterpoint as the two eras are contrasted throughout.
     
  5. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    I agree with Kevin; I don't think we'll see an official DVD or Blu-ray of the television version. (Even though Paramount had previously done an official VHS release.) If you have too much time to spare, as I did one day a few years ago, you can use the deleted scenes on the discs to recreate a chronological version to match that VHS edition.

    I remember reading that Coppola basically did the TV edit because he was nearly broke from Apocalypse Now and they offered him some extra money to do a re-cut. So I get the sense that it's not something near and dear to his heart. If it was, I think we probably would have seen it on disc by now. (We've got different cuts of "Apocalypse Now" on disc, for example.)

    First time I ever saw The Godfather and The Godfather Part II was in this version, so it's definitely something I remember fondly. I really love the first film and think it's far superior to the second film, which I still really really like but don't love in the same way. What I enjoy about the "saga" version is being able to watch all of the DeNiro/Young Vito scenes together. I think those scenes are as compelling and exciting and well done as anything in the first Godfather film. Where I get a little bored with Godfather II is Nevada and Cuba stuff. I realize that's probably an oddball opinion.
     
  6. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    I finally got around to buying the Blu's of one & two today, only £6 each! I've never seen (or really wanted to see) part three. I remember enjoying the TV version a lot. I'd think Paramount could do an HD version of the very long version if they wanted to. They have the finished article of the two films, they only need to give the same treatment to the other scenes (picture & sound) & edit it all together. I'm sure there's a bit more to it than that, but I'm sure it could be done if Paramount really wanted to.
     
  7. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    I thought the re-edited version was horrible. But, I'd like to see it released for those of you that liked it. I'd never buy it.
     
  8. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    The idea of a chronological version of the entire trilogy sounds interesting but I don't know if I would ever buy such a thing. First, it would have to be perfectly seamless and I just don't know if that would even be possible. Sure, they did it 30 years ago but it probably looked like a patchwork job. Then there's the length. A chronological re-edit would be more like a curiosity piece and I don't know if many people actually have the time to indulge in something that would have an "experimental" feel to it, if that makes any sense. No, if I'm going to carve time out to experience The Godfather again, I want to experience something I'm familiar with - not something akin to a miniseries.
     
  9. Tom St Jones

    Tom St Jones Second Unit

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    Perhaps they could create a restored/remastrd high-def widescreen version of the Saga or Trilogy to at least be shown on television every now and then. That would be almost as good. Not quite, but almost.
    As I said, perhaps some or all of the deleted footage used for these has already been remastered or at least preserved. (?)
     
  10. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    I have that Godfather Trilogy in the laserdisc box set, and have yet to watch it.
     
  11. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I agree. The editing in Godfather Part II is so critical to the story telling, as it dissolves and switches between the rises of Vito and Michael in different eras.
     
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  12. Tom St Jones

    Tom St Jones Second Unit

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    As they say, good things often come from bad things (and yes, vice versa).

    The films, individually, are unquestionably brilliant. At the least, the chronological approach of these miniseries versions makes for a nice alternative experience. As I said, many people liked it and felt that it made a great thing even greater.
     
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  13. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    No arguments here - as I said above, I love Godfather 1 and think it's a far superior film to Godfather 2. However, the DeNiro/Young Vito sequences in Godfather 2 are as good as anything in the first film, just brilliant. I love getting to see that story together in the chronological version. When I've watched the chronological version, I'm always tempted to turn it off after the ending of Godfather 1 - once you've had DeNiro, Brando, and then a little of Pacino, it's usually enough for me.
     
  14. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    The "Saga" has aired in High Definition a few times over the past couple years, so Paramount has at the very least assembled that version in HD. I actually miss the deleted scenes from PART II. I first became familiar with II via the "Epic" cut and when I finally did see the actual theatrical cut, I was shocked at how much was missing that I'd come to know and love in the "Epic" version.

    Vincent
     
  15. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    I would by a chronological version in a second. A local Video store had the vhs set for sale for ages about 15 years ago and I waited until it was too late. USA aired it on a loop in '99 over a weekend and that's the last time I saw any version.
     
  16. Reed Grele

    Reed Grele Screenwriter

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    Orson Welles was almost always in need of money. But he never re-cut Citizen Kane in chronological order.

    Maybe FFC should have done the wine commercials.
     
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  17. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Funny how everyone would buy a chronological version, but wouldn't go anywhere near the recut shortened and chronological Once Upon a Time in America. That was the way I saw that film first and I still own my Beta tape of it - and I must tell you in certain ways I find it interesting.
     
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  18. HDvision

    HDvision Screenwriter

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    Unlike Godfather saga, OUATIA was not recut by The director so it's a no go.
     
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  19. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

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    Perhaps no one ever asked him.. :)
     
  20. Peter Neski

    Peter Neski Supporting Actor

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    Every time this subject is brought up those who don't like the idea chime in on how well Godfather 2 fits together ,and of course it does ,its a great film
    But that doesn't mean watching the deleted scenes as non anamorphic unrestored clips is any good ,not to mention the other footage not included on BR

    Unlike AN which added scenes are nice to have but are a mixed bag ,The first two godfather films deleted scenes are far better and I think its much better
    having them inserted in the films ,and do nothing but make the films better !! and if that means giving up the nice original editing of Godfather 2 so Be it
    I don't want to loose those scenes just because they mean godfather 2 is broken into two parts ,instead of the many parts it was originally edited to
    fit and work in the theatre ,besides the single films will always be available

    saying we already have those scenes as extras is not good enough for me ,since its clear this stuff exist and was shown on USA
     

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