2020 has been wild. Unforeseen news after unforeseen news. Today’s bombshell is no different.
Francis Ford Coppola will release a re-edited version of The Godfather: Part III with a new beginning and end for a limited December theatrical release. Coppola’s new project’s name is longer than his second Corleone installment: The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.
“‘Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is an acknowledgment of Mario’s and my preferred title and our original intentions for what became The Godfather: Part III,’” said Coppola. “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.”
As a hardcore Godfather fan — duh — I’m fascinated to see how this works.
It’s puzzling Coppola feels the beginning and ending were the problems. The opening scene with Don Corleone reflecting over decisions, aging in demonization was brilliant. It’s the result of Godfather Part II‘s devastating final scenes.
The ending was fitting with a believable flash forward to a lonely, powerful Michael Corleone taking his last breath. He won, but he really lost.
It was the dialogue, scenes, and casting between the start and finish that have left trilogy box set owners pretending they lost the third disc. Particularly, Sofia Coppola’s portrayal of Mary Corleone, which remains cringeworthy today.
I am not a Part III hater, though. Part I and Part II are the two greatest films ever made. The gap between the two and Shawshank Redemption (No. 3) is wide. Part III was a C+. A grade most directors would love to have; to Coppola, next to two A+’s, it’s a failing letter.
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