Paramount Pictures has announced a new edit and restoration of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather: Part III. This new edit, titled Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, is said to achieve director/screenwriter Coppola and screenwriter Puzo’s original vision for the finale to the trilogy. What’s more, the new version will have a limited theatrical release in December, followed by a home entertainment release on digital platforms and on disc.
Francis Ford Coppola and his production company American Zoetrope worked from a 4K scan of the original negative, doing a frame-by-frame restoration of both the new and the original The Godfather: Part III. To create the best presentation possible, Zoetrope and Paramount’s restoration team searched over 50 original takes to replace lower resolution opticals in the original negative. The process took more than six months and involved sorting through 300 cartons of negative. American Zoetrope also repaired scratches, stains and other anomalies that could not be addressed previously due to technology constraints. Enhancements were also made to the original 5.1 audio mix. Coppola had this to say about it.
“Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is an acknowledgement of Mario’s and my preferred title and our original intentions for what became ‘The Godfather: Part III. For this version of the finale, I created a new beginning and ending, and rearranged some scenes, shots, and music cues. With these changes and the restored footage and sound, to me, it is a more appropriate conclusion to ‘The Godfather’ and ‘The Godfather: Part II’ and I’m thankful to Jim Gianopulos and Paramount for allowing me to revisit it.”
The restoration efforts were, like many Hollywood productions, impacted by the mess that has been 2020. Midway through the project, all work shifted to the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles as most productions were shut down. The work was completed by Zoetrope and Paramount remotely. Andrea Kalas, senior vice president of Paramount Archives, had this to say.
“Mr. Coppola oversaw every aspect of the restoration while working on the new edit, ensuring that the film not only looks and sounds pristine, but also meets his personal standards and directorial vision.”
Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Puzo’s novel chronicles the rise and fall of the Corleone family and the saga is generally viewed as one of the greatest in the history of cinema. In particular, The Godfather is viewed as one of the single greatest movies ever made, with The Godfather II still viewed as the high water mark for sequels. The third installment, in its original form, was viewed as lesser compared to the first two entires.
The Godfather: Part III is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The movie, despite not living up to the first two, was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It follows Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), now in his 60s, as he seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire.
Aside from Al Pacino, the movie also stars Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia, Franc D’Ambrosio, Bridget Fonda, George Hamilton, Joe Mantegna, Talia Shire, Eli Wallach, Sofia Coppola and Raf Vallone. There is no word yet on a specific release date for Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. Additional details regarding the theatrical and home entertainment releases will arrive at a later date from Paramount Pictures.