Even among those most devoted acolytes of Francis Ford Coppola, the third chapter of The Godfather saga has a complicated reputation. The first pair of installments have been widely accepted as two of the greatest films of all time, setting a high standard that the final sequel has never quite been able to meet. Some regard the conclusion with outright scorn, some merely allow it to be fine, but it has never amassed much of an ardent fandom.
That may change in the near future, however, based on an intriguing announcement from the head honchos at Paramount Pictures. Coppola has been hard at work readying a new edit of The Godfather: Part III, which he has flourishingly titled Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, and the public will be able to get an eyeful this winter.
Coppola’s been on a hot streak of restorations and editorial reworks as of late, having spiffed up Apocalypse Now and the Cotton Club in recent years. This could be the biggest turnaround in esteem yet, as the release mentions that the new version will alter the ending to adhere more closely to Coppola and writer Mario Puzo’s vision. (Whatever that might entail.)
Coppola’s included statement is as follows: “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.”
For completists, this will be can’t-miss viewing. The new cut will get a theatrical run in December, with a home video release planned for soon afterward. All that’s the good news — the bad news is that we’ve all got three months of thumb-twiddling until we get there.
Published 4 Sep 2020
By Thomas Hobbs
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