You know those few history-making films that should be in any DVD collection, like your “Star Wars” and your “Citizen Kane”? “The Godfather” should be among them, and Paramount’s glorious, new “Coppola Restoration” box set gives you all the more reason to do so.
Although all three films in the series have been available on shiny discs for years, director Francis Ford Coppola has gone back and cleaned them all up — not George Lucas-style by inserting new digital effects and whatnot, but restoring the picture to their original luster.
“The Godfather” and its sequel, “The Godfather Part II,” are certifiable classics, not only of the gangster and crime film genres, but the whole of cinema itself. These are epics, but digestible ones. The much-delayed and much-derided “The Godfather Part III” isn’t the turkey most people peg it as, but it’s a missed opportunity; perhaps immediacy following “II” would’ve granted it the pantheon status its big brothers have enjoyed since initial release.
Having Coppola give commentaries on all three films is like attending film school almost for free. Even though his taste today may be questionable, the man knows movies, and was operating at his peak in the Seventies. And to think “The Godfather” was once viewed — before anyone saw it, of course — as a B movie! A new documentary — one of many supplements on two discs rich with them — chronicles how the masterpiece “almost wasn’t.”
But luckily, it was, and is, and forever will be. —Rod Lott