Mysterious Woman in

Dave Miller

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I don't mean to freak anyone out, but there is a woman's face on the right side of the screen at the 2:34:35 mark of "The Godfather" and I'm not talking about Kay. If I knew how to paste a screen shot I would. The face is much more evident on my Tosh 65H80 than on my computer monitor, but there is no doubt it is there and I don't think it is supposed to be there.
The scene is when Tessio asks to have a word with Michael at his father's funeral. The camera is close in on Michael and when he stands up his dark suit completely covers the screen. Bingo there she is! Replay the scene and you will notice the image even before Michael stands up. She is there again at the 2:35:15 mark, but actually first appears 2:34:12 mark in the same position.
I've thought about several possibilities, but would love your input. If it is a reflection, then of who and how? I don't understand how a reflection could occur in that scene unless it occurred in post production. But if in post production, then who and how? How about a visual echo, kind of like a lens flair works, but with a face?
I'm open to suggestions.
Peace,
DM
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JohnRice

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I just had to pop the disc into the computer and take a look, and you're right. Man, that really looks creepy! But I think there is a perfectly logical, and unintentional explanation. The woman you are seeing is actually sitting behind and to the right of Michael. The "Ghost" you are seeing is most likely some chemical reaction that happened on the film from being in contact with the next or previous layer of film as it sat on the reel over the decades. That is why it is only visible when the image is black, because it is so slight, the image has to be black for it to show up.
Maybe Obi or Robert Harris will read this, but I expect they will agree.
 

Dome Vongvises

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I've seen that face too. Maybe it's a reflection off the camera lens of one of the characters? IMHO, it's no mysterious woman, but Vito Corleone's wife who you really don't see much at all.
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Dave Miller

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Ok John, let me play devil's advocate. You said this was:
most likely some chemical reaction that happened on the film from being in contact with the next or previous layer of film as it sat on the reel over the decades.
If that is the case wouldn't the previous layer have to be the previous scene. If so, the image would be Kay's face since she is sitting in that "spot" on the film before Michael gets up. Obviously, it is not Kay's face.
Dome - it does look more like Michael's mother, but I can't say for sure. How would a reflection off camera occur?
Obi, Robert, Ron, help anyone?
Peace,
DM
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"We all end up dead, the question is how and why."
 

Mark Turetsky

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Possible explanations: Mike was wearing an extremely shiny suit, and it was reflecting someone's face.
Pretty unlikely, yes.
Another is that they unwittingly double exposed a piece of film. That would explain why it would show up against a black background but not over a light one. It would have to have happened somewhere in the negative phase, because at that point, blacks are unexposed areas of film and whites are exposed areas, whereas in making a print, the opposite is true. I don't know, however, how an IB dye print process works, so the answer could lie there.
In response to the idea that it's from the previous layer in a reel: I've never heard of something like this happening with a piece of film. Granted, I'm only familiar with B&W process and only slightly acquainted with the many color processes out there. Also, it wouldn't necessarily be from the previous scene. Each second takes up quite a bit of film, so more likely the next "layer" in a reel would be from earlier in the same scene. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't the film be wound with the emulsion side pointing inwards? In that case, there would be no way for that bit of film to come into contact with the "image" of the previous layer. More likely, it would be from the next layer above it. I hope that makes sense.
It couldn't be something akin to a lens flare, because those don't tend to stick around "burned into" an image. They go away once the light source is disrupted.
On looking at the scene, it looks very much like his mother, who is sitting next to him (2:35:12). In 2:34:12, there is indeed something in that general area of the screen, but it doesn't resolve into an image of the mystery woman. It looks more to me like glare on the lens. That's what happens when light hits a lens at an oblique angle which illuminates the lens. A hood would normally get rid of such glare, but there are certain instances where it wouldn't.
So on to my theory: there's a strong light source, coming in from the right side of the image. It hits Michael's mother, reflects off her face, and hits the lens at an angle outside the lens' angle of view. When Michael stands up, his dark jacket provides the right "opening" on the negative for the image to resolve itself on the lens. You'll notice that it's floating there earlier in the shot as a slightly brighter patch. It's also not very sharp either. Since Willis probably would have been shooting at the highest aperture setting (it seems to be a pretty bright day), this lens reflection would be closer to the range of focus afforded by such a high aperture setting. And voila, there's a mystery woman showing up on the negative.
Well, that's just one photographer's rantings about what it could and couldn't be.
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[Edited last by Mark Turetsky on October 13, 2001 at 11:19 AM]
[Edited last by Mark Turetsky on October 13, 2001 at 11:23 AM]
 

Dave Miller

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So Mark are you saying that the lens hood did not block the image of Michael's mother from reflecting on the lens, but did block it from being in the frame? Am I understanding you correctly?
Peace,
DM
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"We all end up dead, the question is how and why."
 

Mark Turetsky

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I'm saying that the hood didn't block the image from ending up reflecting on the lens, while she wasn't picked up by the lens' normal angle of view. The hood is only there to block stray light from hitting the lens and creating glare, it doesn't really figure in the framing of the shot (unless of course, you're using the wrong type of hood and it vignettes the cornes). The framing is determing by the focal length of the lens (in mm). What I'm saying is that the image wasn't within the lens' angle of view, but nonetheless it created a bit of glare on the lens, which, under the right circumstances (that area of the frame not being exposed by anything else and the aperture being all but closed) allowed the image of Michael's mother to resolve from the glare. I hope that makes sense.
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"Sex? We're men! We wrestled!"
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Dave Miller

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Ok Mark, I think I understand. I got out my 1997 VHS Widescreen edition of GF and guess what, she's there! So I guess that would jive with your theory. Anyone else have any other theories?
Peace,
DM
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"We all end up dead, the question is how and why."
 

Jason_Els

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I think we all know the real answer to this.
It's the shade of death which actually appears momentarily for everyone who dies in the series. This is just the one most easily seen. You always know who the next character to be die is because the ghost image appears very briefly in a scene before the death occurs. The images were rather easy to see during the theatrical release but of course you can't pause, go back, or freeze-frame in a cinema and they were edited out of the re-releases for reasons I don't know. VHS is too low-res to see nearly any of the faces clearly. Glad to see Coppola changed his mind (or simply forgot about them) for the DVD. The effect is rather similar to the nearly-subliminal skull superimposures used in, "The Exorcist" and "Psycho".
Of course what's really odd about the whole thing is that Coppola and Willis both adamantly deny ever placing the faces in the film. Rather like that ghost in "3 Men and a Baby".
Got to run, I just heard a flying saucer has landed outside of Princeton and I want to go talk to Dr. Forrester about it.
Thanks!
Jason "Happy Halloween" Ashley
 

JohnRice

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Obviously, it is not Kay's face.
I don't think this is a reliable statement. It certainly looks like it could be Kay to me. It also has a "solarized" look, which eliminates the possibility of flare but supports my theory. I would say there is virtually no chance it is flare. Just to review, if I am right, these ghosts would always occur just a few seconds AFTER a shot with Kay in the same spot. That is because that is when the emulsion from the previous layer would come in contact with the base of the current layer and would create the most likely chance of contamination. Think of this in terms of a Cassette or reel to reel tape that has a ghost sound from an adjacent layer of tape.
The concept is the same, even though the tape bleeding is magnetic and the film bleeding is chemical.
I reviewed the entire scene and noticed the ghost only appears shortly after a shot of Kay, but not always. For example, at about 2:33:59 there is a slight ghost, and this is shortly after seeing Kay, though several seconds before there is no ghost, even though the right part of the picture is quite dark. I still think this is the most likely cause. It would have had to occur after editing and it is quite possible that it does not always appear because the DVD is mastered from more than one film source or the conditions were not always right for the ghost to appear.
I am pretty sure either this is the cause or it was done intentionally in post-production
 

Jason_Els

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Ok, did some more research on this... after slow-mo-ing through the whole scene I've discovered that she appears a second time at 2:35:16 when and just after the woman with the rather generous rear end passes in front of the camera. There are also poorly-defined ghosts appearing at 2:35:56 and 2:36:05 and as early as 2:34:12.
When Michael talks to Tessio in front of the bouquet at the cemetary Michael has an odd blob of reddish light on his left shoulder. You can also see the same blob on the nun as she walks past the shot of Don Barzini's crew. It appears to be always there through the scene perhaps only on one camera, becoming more and less visible depending on the background of the shot. Whether this blob continues to be the face or just other reflections I can't tell.
While most are just odd, they do appear to be reflections in the lens or on a lens filter though they are all on the right side of the screen. Either that or they were filming through a plate of glass. It IS odd....
Jason Ashley
 

Dan Melo

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Feb 6, 2001
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I was watching this movie on DVD for the second time since I bought the trilogy since it was first released.

There seems to be the image of a woman faintly start to appear at 2:34:32 then fully appear at 2:34:35. This scene takes place at the funeral of Don Corleone, and Al Pacino is sitting in front, it's when some man (forgot his name) comes over to talk to him and as the man crouches down Al Pacino leans over to talk to him and then gets up. As he walks with the other man you can see the image following Pacino until he goes back to sit down at 2:35:30 (appx.) and then it leaves.

Please...go check this out, I wonder if this is another of one those weird things?

Thanks.
 

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