DVD of the Week – ‘The Godfather Collection: The Coppola Restoration’ – September 23, 2008

Francis Ford Coppola and Paramount first put out The Godfather Trilogy in a special edition in 2001, at a time when the archival materials at hand had yet to be extensively restored. The original negative was worn out and the prints used for mastering were not accurate to the original release. The new release The Godfather Collection: The Coppola Restoration, released on both DVD and Blu-ray, is a corrective.

"Now who's being naive, Kaye?"
"Now who's being naive, Kaye?"

Is it overkill to claim that The Godfather on Blu-ray is a sign of the format coming to maturity? Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Mario Puzo’s bestseller remains the great American epic of the immigrant dream turned family business. Al Pacino stars as Michael Corleone in this dark side of the American dream story, rising from clean-cut son of New York Godfather Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando in an Oscar –winning performance) to ruthless mob leader to modern American businessman trying to pull his family’s tentacles from the criminal world. The Godfather (1972) has become the great evocation of the dark side of the American Dream (“I believe in America,” it begins) and The Godfather, Part II (1974) is less a sequel than a further exploration of the family business that both reaches back from and looks beyond the story of the first film, contrasting Michael’s increasingly ruthless rise with the life of young Vito Corleone (played by Robert De Niro, who won his first Oscar for the role). Both films won multiple Oscars, including “Best Picture, Coppola picked up a Best Director award for Part II. Separately the films are masterpieces. Together, they are a landmark work of American cinema.

Francis Ford Coppola oversaw this DVD and cinematographer Gordon Willis personally supervised the restoration and mastering of the film for DVD, and new featurettes on the film and on the restoration process supplement the already rich collection of supplements carried over from the previous special edition.

Read the complete review on my MSN DVD column here.
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