"The daughter took the ball for Michael Corleone – my daughter took the ball for me," said Coppola.
For the past 30 years, The Godfather: Part III has felt like the bastard child of the Corleone trilogy. Sure, it's hard to live in the shadow of two of the greatest films of all time, and the film has definitely been judged to be a lot harsher than others, but it's been easy to get into for the past 30 years.
I mean, how many other films could go out for seven Academy Award nominations and live in shame for the director being forced to cast his daughter at the last minute? Or because they have a conspiracy over the corrupt Vatican?
And how many of these films have an amazing helicopter attack scene?
Much has been written about the film's strengths and weaknesses, but no one could have predicted that the film's director, Francis Ford Coppola, would be able to make the changes he wanted 30 years ago and give us what he thinks is right The finished product.
The Godfather, Coda: Michael Corleone's death is not like the snyder cut of gangster films. There were no new recordings or digital additions by Tom Hagen. Instead, Paramount let Coppola skip all the old roles and assemble various openings and ends and cut the film into something he thought was more interesting and cohesive.
Coppola's revision lasts less than 157 minutes and now begins with a scene in St. Patrick & # 39; s Cathedral in which Michael uses the debts of the Catholic Church to make himself one of the richest men in the world.
He also provides the theme of the film, which is now being pre-emphasized, as the Archbishop says: "In today's world, the power to free debt seems greater than the power to forgive."
Corleone replies, "Never underestimate the power of forgiveness."
If forgiveness is the subject of the film, so is Coppola's subject for its revision.
Forgiveness for his daughter who had to grapple with so many hateful comments about her portrayal of Marty, forgiveness for Puzo who didn't get the respect he deserved for the episode, and forgiveness for himself for the way he did it the film was handled in 1990.
In a new retrospective in the New York Times, Coppola expands on all of these ideas. 81-year-old Coppola exudes wisdom and anecdotes about his career. From the decision to make the third film to regain clout after box office bugs, to the living work that is the script … which he changed every day they were shooting.
However, this is not an all-out lawsuit. Part III grossed more than $ 136 million worldwide and was nominated for seven Academy Awards (though it won zero). The pain for Coppola came from the reviews that attacked his family.
"They wanted to attack the picture when, for some, it failed to deliver on its promise," he told The Times. "And they followed that 18 year old girl who did it just for me." ""
The story he told in the film provided an irresistible metaphor.
"The daughter took the ball for Michael Corleone – my daughter took the ball for me," he says.
Still, this is a different kind of trip. There aren't many changes to the film outside of the opening scene and ending. The finale no longer shows how Michael Corleone dies, but rather how he leads a life of sorrow for his crimes. Atonement means nothing when he sits in his chair staring at the country.
When the scene turns black, a series of title cards will appear. You read: "If the Sicilians wish you" Cent & # 39; anni "… it means" for a long life "… and a Sicilian never forgets."
Coppola explains of Corleone: "Indeed, for his sins he has a death worse than death."
He speculates that Corleone will live "upon this terrible conclusion" for many years, but he never forgets the terrible toll he had to pay.
Will we ever go back to the godfather universe?
Coppola says, "Not a week goes by when someone doesn't come up to me and say," Hey, man, where's Godfather IV? "I say," I'll let you know when I get the call. "
According to the article, that comes with a wink and a smile. I don't know Paramount is ready to build on Coppola's vision, but in the age of remakes and reimagining, you never know where they could lead.
Recognition: Paramount Pictures
Puzo died in 1999 and any vision of what a fourth film might look like disappeared with him.
Whether or not there are more of these films may be debatable. Coppola appears to be done with his vision and is looking forward to what he can do next. These films paved his way in Hollywood and made him a household name.
It will be interesting to see Coda this year and see his reception. I plan to re-watch the first two films just before the third to make sure I'm prepared for the story.
Coppola's legacy will always be the ambitious films he gave us, but I wish we had more of him later in life, besides India. He has always been a director ready to break new ground.
Hopefully this revision sparked a desire to do something new. I know i will wait.
You can own it exclusively on Blu-ray and digital VoD from December 8th. You can see it in select theaters from December 4th.
Let us know what you think in the comments.