Jump to content



Sign up for a free account!

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests to win things like this Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote and you won't get the popup ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo

**** Official review thread: HTF REVIEW: The Godfather (part of The Godfather Collection)


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
89 replies to this topic

#1 of 90 Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul

  • 38,944 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted October 04 2001 - 10:06 AM

Posted Image

The Godfather


*** warning: contains spoilers

I must give credit to Peter Bracke of DVDFILE
for the first review of
The Godfather Collection
on DVD. It is a very
thorough, wonderful review that has already promoted
intense discussion on this forum as far as the
transfer quality is concerned.

I felt it was necessary to add another early
review to the mix. While my reviews are not
nearly as technical as those of Peter Bracke or
Robert George, I do feel that my perspective is
always unique. I'm a simple hobbyist who pops
a disc in the player and writes a review based
on sight and sound.

To begin with......

I must confess. I have only seen The Godfather
once in my life, about 20 years ago. I have seen
The Godfather 3 but never The Godfather 2.
Understand, my taste in film has drastically changed
over the years. I was never a great fan of mafia films,
and it was actually Martin Scorsese who eventually
made me a fan with such films as Goodfellas and
Casino.

I never owned The Godfather films on any format.
When DVD arrived in 1997, I swore that the next
time I would watch the film, would be on the DVD
format. Unfortunately, Paramount took 4 years to
bring the trilogy out to DVD, and with good reason --
they wanted to do it right!

Paramount finally announced the release of an
extravegent boxed set about 4 months ago. I was
honored to have been invited to the Press Party
in Brooklyn where I got to meet Director Francis
Ford Copolla. If you never had the opportunity
to read my report on the event, please click on
the link below as you really get some feel as to
how much effort Paramount has put into this release.

The Godfather Press Event

What about the DVD?

Coming back from a 2-week hiatus and with so
much screener product to review from all the studios,
I had the opportunity to sit and watch only the
first Godfather film. I thought it was appropriate
to review this movie now, as there seems to be a
lot of controversy concerning the transfer.

So let me talk about the transfer.

I must agree with those that have seen this disc,
the transfer does have many flaws. The transfer is
a bit uneven with some scenes looking much better
than others. For instance, a scene in the snow
outside of a department store where Michael and Kay
buy Christmas gifts looks beautiful. However, the
famous scene inside of Loui's Restaurant looks a
bit grainy, with film speckles scattered throughout.

Colors are not bright and vivid, though I imagine
this is the way the film was shot. One part of the
film that struck me odd was a scene right before
Michael returns from Italy. Kay (keaton) goes to
the Corleone home to give a letter to Tom
Hagan (Duvall). She is wearing a red dress that
is the most vivid color in the entire film. You
will again see such vivid colors stand out in
the flowers that surround Vito Corleone's funeral.

Watching the film, I could definately see a few
minor color timing problems as well as film dirt
that still remains on the print.

I do want to stick up for Paramount only because
of the things I have heard over the years concerning
the condition of The Godfather prints. If what I
have heard is accurate, the film has looked pretty
subpar in every format it has been on. Some say
the print needed so much restoration that it may
have been impossible or too expensive to make it
look any better than it does.

I had the opportunity to talk with Ron Smith, one
of the people responsible for the restoration. He
had told me how hard Paramount worked on that film
and how proud the restoration team was with the final
results.

Sometimes, it is difficult sit back and pick out
the flaws of a final DVD presentation, without ever
knowing what the original source material looked
like before restoration. It is my guess, based
upon all the other stories I have heard about
movies made on film stock during the 70's and
80's that The Godfather was in pretty bad shape
to begin with. Perhaps we should all be thankful
we got a DVD that looks this decent.

Many members of our forum have met with the
restoration team over at Paramount. These guys
take film restoration quite seriously, and if
there are reasons why this transfer is not up
to what everyone expects, I expect there is good
reason why.

What matters the most here is that no matter
what, The Godfather Collection will be on
everyone's Holiday list because of the magnitude
of what The Godafther is --- one of the greatest
films ever made.

As I sat and watched the original film these past
three hours, I was seduced by the sheer masterpiece
of this film. To this day, The Godfather
remains as brutally shocking as it did in 1972. It
makes The Sopranos look like toy gunplay.

This movie has some of the most memorable scenes
in movie history. Whether it be the shooting at
Loui's Restaurant, or the killing of Sonny on the
freeway, or the final baptism sequence -- these are
powerful moments in cinema that never grow old with
repeated viewings. My heart was racing during the
buildup to the baptism sequence where the heads of
the mob families are all wiped out uniformly.

Not much to talk about as far as sound mix goes.
There is no active surround mix on the first film
that I was aware of, though stereo separation was
excellent.

The set comes in a very handsome package, but
I must agree with another member who received his
set recently that the cardboard is flimsy enough
that it is prone to damage. Putting this set out
in a keepcase package would have been better, but
it would also have destroyed the book-like texture
of the packaging.

By far, The Godfather is a masterpiece
thar flows like fine Italian Wine. It stands
as a nearly flawless piece of filmmaking that
is as vivid today as it was nearly 30 years ago.



------------------
Posted Image

Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
Circa 2000
Home Theater Forum Administrator
All forum questions & to get on our private forum mailing list (new members)... Email: hometheaterforum@home.com
Problems with the webpage or site? Contact WEBMASTER
Email Packy packy@hometheaterforum.com

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

gallery_269895_23_10043.jpg Click Here for the latest/hottest Blu-ray Preorders gallery_269895_23_1316.jpg Click Here for our complete Blu-ray review archive

gallery_269895_23_773.jpg Click Here for our complete 3D Blu-ray review archive gallery_269895_23_992.jpgClick Here for our complete DVD review archive

gallery_269895_23_7246.jpg Click Here for Blu-Ray Preorder Release Schedule gallery_269895_23_3120.jpg Click Here for forum posting rules and regulations


#2 of 90 Robert George

Robert George

    Screenwriter

  • 1,014 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted October 04 2001 - 10:31 AM

Quote:
By far, The Godfather is a masterpiece
thar flows like fine Italian Wine. It stands
as a nearly flawless piece of filmmaking that
is as vivid today as it was nearly 30 years ago.

Bravo!

They don't get much better than this.

#3 of 90 Dwayne

Dwayne

    Supporting Actor

  • 753 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 22 2000

Posted October 04 2001 - 10:46 AM

Although I am a little less excited by what I've been hearing, there is no way that I am going to pass these up. I have to admit that I am somewhat saddened that these films are in that bad of shape. But like I said, I could not pass on these in good conscience, as they are just too magnificent in cinematic storytelling.

I envy you, Ron. What I wouldn't give to watch The Godfather for the first time all over again. Posted Image

------------------
-Dwayne

Dwayne

#4 of 90 CRyan

CRyan

    Screenwriter

  • 1,244 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 09 1999

Posted October 04 2001 - 10:48 AM

Ahhh Man. Like I was wasn't already excited enough to have this in my collection. It will be wonderful to see these discs as intended. Now till Tuesday. Maybe I will get lucky tonight and find it early.


C. Ryan

------------------
http://www.elitestor...com/RyanOAR.bmp


#5 of 90 Carlo Medina

Carlo Medina

    Lead Actor

  • 9,551 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 31 1997

Posted October 04 2001 - 11:11 AM

Quote:
I had the opportunity to talk with Ron Smith, one
of the people responsible for the restoration. He
had told me how hard Paramount worked on that film
and how proud the restoration team was with the final
results.
I'm pretty sure I met Ron Smith (along with Garrett and few others) at the May meet. Ron S. if I remember correctly, is first and foremost a film fan. If he and the restoration team really are proud of what they could do, then that's all we can really ask of them, given that they don't have unlimited resources to spend on the project.

I've never asked perfection from the people who work for me. I've just asked that they do the best they can with what they are given. I can live with the results.

Sure, the Godfather films won't look like The Matrix (which was too green Posted Image ), or even like Kane or NxNW. But if that's the best they could do, then I will live with it.

#6 of 90 Derek J

Derek J

    Extra

  • 24 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 15 2001

Posted October 04 2001 - 11:42 AM

I just picked mine up this afternoon at this video store that sells DVD's up to five days before their release date. I paid $70.99 for it which is a pretty good price considering Amazon is selling it for $74.99. Unfortanately right now my Dad is watching Barry Bonds try to hit number 70 so I'll have to wait a little while until I see them.

#7 of 90 Greg_Y

Greg_Y

    Screenwriter

  • 1,479 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 07 1999

Posted October 04 2001 - 11:56 AM

Quote:
Unfortanately right now my Dad is watching Barry Bonds try to hit number 70 so I'll have to wait a little while until I see them.

Make him an offer he can't refuse. Posted Image

#8 of 90 Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

    Studio Mogul

  • 24,173 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 1998
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationMichigan

Posted October 04 2001 - 12:27 PM

Ron,
When I got back Sunday night from the "National Meet", I couldn't wait to get up on Monday morning knowing that I will be getting a package with "The Godfather" dvd collection. Sure enough, my doorbell rang at 9:30 a.m. and showtime was on...... I took care of "The Godfather" on Monday and "The Godfather Part II" on Tuesday while listening to Coppola's commentary on both films on Wednesday. I first read the novel back in 1970 and then saw the original theatrical release of the first film in 1972. Since then I've read the book twice more and seen both films numerous times in theaters and on various video formats. Watching these great films again on dvd got me in the mood to read the book again for the fourth time. As far as the dvd presentation goes they look very good considering the condition of the film elements and how these movies were filmed. Except for certain scenes that took place in Sicily, Nevada, and Cuba, most of the look of the film was pretty grim and dark. I am very happy with the dvd presentation, however, I'm sure others will have contrary views because of high expectations and comparisons to other classic film releases on dvd. Just remember that both movies were filmed in a way to look a certain way with alot of dark scenes.


Crawdaddy

------------------
Peter Staddon: "I didn't say you can put 'Monkeybone' back!"



[Edited last by Robert Crawford on October 04, 2001 at 07:29 PM]

Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 


#9 of 90 RonR

RonR

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 199 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 26 2000

Posted October 04 2001 - 03:40 PM

Having never seen any of the movies I can't wait till Tuesday!

#10 of 90 SteveGon

SteveGon

    Executive Producer

  • 12,267 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 11 2000

Posted October 04 2001 - 04:03 PM

Darn it! I want these movies. But I'm trying to save some money. Oh heck, you know where I'll be next Tuesday... Posted Image


------------------
He thought on homeland, the big timber, the air thin and chill all the year long. Tulip poplars so big through the trunk they put you in mind of locomotives set on end. He thought of getting home and building him a cabin on Cold Mountain so high that not a soul but the nighthawks passing across the clouds in autumn could hear his sad cry. Of living a life so quiet he would not need ears. And if Ada would go with him, there might be the hope, so far off in the distance he did not even really see it, that in time his despair might be honed off to a point so fine and thin that it would be nearly the same as vanishing.
-- Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain



#11 of 90 bill lopez

bill lopez

    Second Unit

  • 420 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 17 1999

Posted October 04 2001 - 04:08 PM

Dang! So it looks like these dvd's are not going to look better than the widescreen laserdiscs from a few years ago.

#12 of 90 Reginald Trent

Reginald Trent

    Screenwriter

  • 1,317 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 18 2000

Posted October 04 2001 - 04:31 PM


The Godfather is the best gangster movie of all time. PERIOD!

BTW Good review Ron.

#13 of 90 Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul

  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted October 04 2001 - 05:18 PM

Quote:
Dang! So it looks like these dvd's are not going to look better than the widescreen laserdiscs from a few years ago.
I just finished watching the first film, and it looks considerably better than the last LD incarnation. In fact, I think the only reason people are so aware of the print flaws is because the rest of the image is so strikingly vivid.

M.
COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#14 of 90 GerardC

GerardC

    Agent

  • 48 posts
  • Join Date: May 13 2001

Posted October 04 2001 - 07:30 PM

Indeed, there were a lot of scenes that simply look fantastic and this makes a couple of the grainy shots and artefacts stand out. I did notice that the moments the picture didn't look so hot was mostly when a new 'chapter' was introduced (the first scenes of the wedding, the opening shot of LA as Tom Hagen goes to see Woltz, the opening shot of Sicily etc): any method in this (start of a reel or something)?

But this is a terrific transfer and it fully captures the warm colours from the original movie. Well done, and given the wealth of material on offer this box set has risen straight to #1 on my personal dvd favourites list.


#15 of 90 Frank L

Frank L

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 139 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 23 2001

Posted October 04 2001 - 11:03 PM

Quote:
I must give credit to Peter Bracke of DVDFILE
for the first review of The Godfather Collection on DVD

Hey... I thought I gave the first review of The Godfather on DVD, however informal it was... Posted Image

------------------
Frank

Posted Image

DVD Collection | Website


Frank

#16 of 90 Michael Dueppen

Michael Dueppen

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 217 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 19 2000

Posted October 04 2001 - 11:14 PM

Great review, Ron.
I have never seen these movies entirely yet. This will be another one of the many classics I will experience for the first time on DVD. With a little luck my copy of the collection will be here tomorrow (and French Connection 2-pack, which I have never seen as well).
Can't wait Posted Image

------------------
- Michael
My DVD collection
- Michael
My DVD collection

#17 of 90 Michael Lee

Michael Lee

    Supporting Actor

  • 652 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 07 1998

Posted October 05 2001 - 12:26 AM

It is definitely better than my memory of the LD counterparts.

------------------
Sound InSight Audio Video
My Home Theater Pics
My Equipment List
My DVD Collection
My LD Collection

#18 of 90 Rich Malloy

Rich Malloy

    Producer

  • 3,999 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 09 2000

Posted October 05 2001 - 03:05 AM

Quote:
If what I have heard is accurate, the film has looked pretty subpar in every format it has been on. Some say the print needed so much restoration that it may have been impossible or too expensive to make it look any better than it does.

I had the opportunity to talk with Ron Smith, one of the people responsible for the restoration. He had told me how hard Paramount worked on that film and how proud the restoration team was with the final results.

Do the discs have any features that explain the "restoration" of the films? I've been very interested in this ever since reading an article/interview with Robert Harris & James Katz about the REAR WINDOW restoration that ends with the following paragraph:

Quote:
According to Katz, he and Harris are aching to do "The Godfather" next. Katz said it presents challenges similar to those on "Rear Window": "It's a dark movie, but with colorful sequences. And it needs to be saved." Having seen the horrible brown-yellow print at the movie's 25th-anniversary gala three years ago, I can testify to the necessity of salvaging this landmark film right now. Harris and Katz have got to convince Paramount to let them do it. Artistically, at least, it's an offer the studio can't refuse. http://www.salon.com....dow/index.html

Mr. Harris, any thoughts?
"Only one is a wanderer;
Two together are always going somewhere."

#19 of 90 Ken_McAlinden

Ken_McAlinden

    Producer

  • 6,065 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 20 2001
  • Real Name:Kenneth McAlinden
  • LocationLivonia, MI USA

Posted October 06 2001 - 04:15 AM

I still have my THX laserdiscs of GF1 & GF2 handy and was able to pick up the DVDs yesterday (never mind how! Posted Image). I've only had time to sample GF1, but from that, it was evident that the DVD is a considerable improvement over the laserdisc for the obvious reasons (anamorphic enhancement, reduced chroma noise/improved stability, presence of extras). The transfers are otherwise very similar, which is generally a good thing.

The audio sounded better to my ears than the DD tracks from the laserdisc. I had actually preferred the PCM pro-logic tracks on the laserdiscs to the DD5.1 because the DD track made the inherent flaws in the soundtrack sound even more harsh. Whether due to increased bitrate or a sweetened mix, the DD5.1 tracks on the DVD are a marked improvement. The quality of the dialog tracks is still occasionally incongruous with the quality of the music and effects tracks, but this has been the case since the first stereo re-mix for the 25th anniversary release.

In short, Ron's assessment is on the money, the GF1 DVD is noticeably improved over the laserdisc, and the look of the film has not been drastically altered in any way.

Regards,

------------------
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#20 of 90 Alex Shk

Alex Shk

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 196 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 29 2000

Posted October 06 2001 - 04:34 AM

All of this is welcome news. The Godfather is the first DVD "box set" I have ordered, and according to my calculations, should hit my doorstep Monday. I was not expecting a visual experience on the order of "5th Element", or an aural experience along the lines of "Saving Private Ryan".

All I want to know is - is this the best this film has looked and sounded since it's original theatrical release. If it is - I will be beyond happy.

------------------