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UHD Review A Few Words About A few words about...™ -The Godfather(s) 50th Anniversary Restoration -- in 4k UHD (2 Viewers)

Robert Saccone

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I’m going to ask about the digital versions now.
I have the iTunes copy which I’ve already stated don’t look great to me.
Especially the very beginning in Vito’s den before the wedding and I think in GF2 when they go into the back room where the senator’s “worker” was murdered in his bed.
Even with the DV active it looks rough.

So I noticed that Paramount + now has these up in 4K with DV.

It looks significantly better then the stream on iTunes.

Wondering if anyone has tken a peak to see this.
I watched the Apple TV version of Godfather when I wanted to listen to the commentary after having viewed the 4K Disc earlier in the week. To my eye the stream seemed to look more like the original color scheme as that yellow hue seemed more prevalent.
 

Carlo Medina

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Is it possible that AZ finished the film, matching Willis' color, and sent it off to Paramount who went "okay, let's make a few tweaks!"? I don't know how this "restoration pipeline" worked, but that would make A LOT more sense to me as to why AZ and Francis would say "we were guided by Gordie's work" and then we see the results which are not that.
Check out the two videos on my post back on page 41. Especially the second one (I'm quoting my original post below which also involved a little bit of detective work).
I think a healthy discussion that doesn't devolve into name-calling, straw man argumentation, or personal insults is not only warranted, but actually the core mission of forums like HTF. As much as I grew frustrated of certain arguments which I felt were missing the point, I find it even more puzzling why people would post in this thread only to say "they're tired of this thread". I think many (though admittedly not all) have tried to add to the conversation, though admittedly for a while we did get sidetracked in bickering and for that I apologize for the part I played.

To bring it back to the topic at hand, just in case anyone had any question about who was chiefly responsible for the films' aesthetic look, I encourage you to watch Emulsional Rescue which was on the 2007 release and is also on the 2022 release. Here it is on YT.


It's a fascinating watch and only 19 minutes, but if you don't have the time, go the 4:30 mark of the video. It addresses the colors, darkness, *and brightness* of the film. It runs in stark contrast to the Jan Yarbrough segment of 4K set documentary where he specifically calls out "bringing out more detail in the wedding dress" when you see in the original documentary that Gordon Willis intentionally wanted that scene to look like "old anscochrome" (4m50s mark of that video) with blown out whites. So the way to get more detail is to dial down the "blown out whites" which, sure you can choose to do that, but you're fundamentally altering the intent of the original artist.

And if there's any question who is one of, if not the, chief architect of the film's look, keep watching that Emulsional Rescue doc. You will hear nothing but praise over Willis's work, including Coppola specifically saying when he saw the first dailies and saw what Willis had done, he thanked him from the very first day. There is nothing of the disgruntled nature that say Lucas had when describing the conditions he worked with on Star Wars, or that Ridley Scott has on a lot of his works where he didn't get final cut, two artists who later "righted wrongs" in many of their works. Coppola clearly loves the work that Willis did, there is ample, incontrovertible evidence of this, and he rightfully praises him for it (as he praises Puzo for writing the source novel). So it would strike me as odd to think he’d have a change of heart on this project especially since he’s still in recent interviews praising Willis’s work. (Edited to complete this sentence)

So while there's no shortage of things I'm sure he'd change (and with Part III, that was quite a lot) there is simply no existing evidence over 50 years that he was unhappy with the way it was photographed, and in fact there is ample evidence to the opposite, that he loved it.

And when you couple that with Mr. Yarbrough's comments on the work he and his team at MPI did to "take advantage of the larger color palette, and higher dynamic range of HDR and the extra pixels of 4K TVs" on the current doc, it seems to me very clear who and where the decision was made to alter the color timing. When you watch the new documentary, you have the archivist at Zoetrope (James Mockoski) and the two women in Paramount who were in charge of the project (Andrea Kalas and Laura Thornburg) talk glowingly of the 2007 effort and how that was to be the reference point for the new project. They even mentioned it was the last thing Willis blessed, and Thornburg kept reciting the "four point yellow, one point red" to Jan and his team at MPI (she says this nearly verbatim in the 50th anniversary documentary). So with the Zoetrope Archivist and Paramount Project managers on record (via the video doc) as wanting to honor and maintain the look of the 2007 effort, but just with the added benefit of 4K transfer and a better compression codec...it's clear that it was when the data was handed over to MPI and Jan starts talking about all the changes he and his team made where the divergence from the original stated intention occurred.

It's literally on those two docs. Start with Emulsional Rescue (again on both 2007 and 2022 release, as well as that YT link above) and then watch Full Circle: Preserving the Godfather (in the 2022 release).

Oh, in case you don't want to break out your copy, I just found it on YouTube:


Honestly after you watch those two documentaries back to back, it's hard for me to envision any other conclusion.

Here is the second video, which is included in the Extras disc on the 2022 release:

It's only 15 minutes but it explains the workflow. Jan Yarbrough (and MPI, where he works) did the color work, which occurred in the later stages of the project. That seems to be where things went sideways.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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IF only we got something like this and the powers-that-be at Paramount (and wherever else) chose to go such route instead of having their desired, homogenized/biased look baked fully into the masters and these discs, etc...

_Man_
 

TonyD

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Tony,

I haven't compared the two different streaming services, but I thought the 4K discs looked better than the iTunes 4K stream.


I think you’re right Robert.
Others have said that in this thread too.
That’s why I’m wondering about the P+ version as I thought it looked better and different from the iTunes version
 

haineshisway

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The director of a film does not “own“ the film (ie his vision) for it?? That’s a fascinating stance to take. I’m sure it comes as a huge surprise to directors everywhere.
Really? This is your response? For the cheap seats: HE DOES NOT OWN THE FILM. PARAMOUNT OWNS THE FILM. I'm not sure what's hard to understand about that simple fact.
 

haineshisway

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I think it depends on what the goal of the restoration was. The term itself can mean different things depending on the overall design of the project and the intent.

For example, Alfred Hitchcock's "Marnie" was released this week on 4K. The restoration that was needed on this particular film was supposedly pretty extensive due to the incredibly poor condition of the materials. For a film like that, the process of "restoration" most certainly means something quite different than projects on other films...where it's perhaps mostly focused on color timing, for example.
I doubt Marnie need any restoration. They simply went back to a better element, probably the original negative rather than trying to take an old transfer and slap it onto Blu-ray. You're not an expert in this - Mr. Harris is. The End.
 

Robert Harris

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I doubt Marnie need any restoration. They simply went back to a better element, probably the original negative rather than trying to take an old transfer and slap it onto Blu-ray. You're not an expert in this - Mr. Harris is. The End.
I agree.

The original A & B rolls should have been close to pristine. Universal takes extremely good care of their assets, and Marnie, a late 1963-early '64 production, shot on 5251 should have had zero fade problems.

It was also only printed via dye transfer for it's original release, with all future prints coming from dupes, which means that the OCN would have had extremely minimal wear.

Don't know where this concept of a problematic element is coming from.
 

haineshisway

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I agree.

The original A & B rolls should have been close to pristine. Universal takes extremely good care of their assets, and Marnie, a late 1963-early '64 production, shot on 5251 should have had zero fade problems.

It was also only printed via dye transfer for it's original release, with all future prints coming from dupes, which means that the OCN would have had extremely minimal wear.

Don't know where this concept of a problematic element is coming from.
In this thread, it was brought up by the person who's been endlessly posting about Mr. Coppola and his vision.
 

mdhaus

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Really? This is your response? For the cheap seats: HE DOES NOT OWN THE FILM. PARAMOUNT OWNS THE FILM. I'm not sure what's hard to understand about that simple fact.
The director owns their vision of the film....And it's their vision they pour into it, regardless of who holds the rights of the finished product.

I doubt Marnie need any restoration. They simply went back to a better element, probably the original negative rather than trying to take an old transfer and slap it onto Blu-ray. You're not an expert in this - Mr. Harris is. The End.
What I read several weeks ago is that the film needed quite a bit of work to look great on UHD. Now in fairness, perhaps the context indeed was that the original source material was fine and they needed to go back to it and then start from there again because the current material they had to work from was subpar. That's certainly possible - but it wasn't real clear.

And Lord knows the previous Blu-ray version was quite awful - Even Mr. Harris agreed with that almost 10 years ago: https://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/threads/a-few-words-about-tm-marnie-in-blu-ray.318416/

Lastly, let's all keep in mind that nobody is an "expert" in every single thing within this hobby. It's simply way too huge and complex. The ability for people to debate their honest opinion is a big part of why it's so much fun.

So please take a breath, grab a favorite beverage, stop taking things so seriously, and relax. The End.
 

haineshisway

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The director owns their vision of the film....And it's their vision they pour into it, regardless of who holds the rights of the finished product.


What I read several weeks ago is that the film needed quite a bit of work to look great on UHD. Now in fairness, perhaps the context indeed was that the original source material was fine and they needed to go back to it and then start from there again because the current material they had to work from was subpar. That's certainly possible - but it wasn't real clear.

And Lord knows the previous Blu-ray version was quite awful - Even Mr. Harris agreed with that almost 10 years ago: https://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/threads/a-few-words-about-tm-marnie-in-blu-ray.318416/

Lastly, let's all keep in mind that nobody is an "expert" in every single thing within this hobby. It's simply way too huge and complex. The ability for people to debate their honest opinion is a big part of why it's so much fun.

So please take a breath, grab a favorite beverage, stop taking things so seriously, and relax. The End.
Yes, I remember the thread very well - Mr. Harris referenced me once I'd seen the transfer and spoken up about it.

Thus spoke Mr. Harris: "
Note and Update: After reading Mr. Kimmel's comments -- I trust his eyes implicitly -- I'm going to agree with him, that something untoward is going on with why the grain structure looks as it does.

While it might partially be the optical concept as I earlier averred, much of the film does have the look of someone trying to have their digital way with it. And it's not good."

Referencing my thus spoke:

"It doesn't matter what you watch this on. Something clearly went wrong somewhere in this transfer. If I had to posit a guess, I think they used the DVD transfer from the velvet box, used some DNR then put back in, well, can't call it grain, so just call it that ugly black crawling stuff and snow - yes, Mr. Wrigley called it right. This is a disaster. Dye transfer prints on this film were wonderful, whether you like what Mr. Hitchcock and Mr. Burks were doing or not. The street scenes at Marnie's mother's are just awful - they should be extremely sharp. And the color has been futzed with from the DVD color - you can see just how much very clearly in the car ride towards the end of the film - the rear projection plate should be almost all gray with the rain - and here it's anything but that. But nothing works in this transfer and whatever they've done it has exacerbated the diffusion in a way that is grotesque. Shame on Universal for trying to spruce up something that was fine for DVD but hardly befitting something called The Masterpiece Collection in a little year called 2012. I now have to keep the velvet box."
 

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