Monday, November 24, 2008

The Godfather?

Pope Benedict XVI gives his weekly general audience on November 19, 2008 at St Peter's Square at the Vatican. By Christophe Simon/ AFP/Getty. [Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan]

I'm not sure what the photog is aiming for, but--Don Vito Corleone, is that you?

Which reminds me, I have to thank my friend Chris here for an early Christmas gift from the US. He remembered to buy me a copy of The Godfather trilogy on DVD--the new special-edition Coppola Restoration. Sorry I have to say it, and in the presence of Il Papa yet: It's frickin' gorgeous.

There's also a Blu-ray edition, but since I haven't upgraded my player (a four-year-old NextBase, if you wanna know--still works perfectly), the five-disc DVD set will do. And what a set. The restoration work supervised and approved by director Francis Ford Coppola and cinematographer Gordon Willis has resulted in breathtaking new editions of their masterworks--the contrasts sharper, the blacks deeper, the tones more golden, exactly as Willis had intended them. (The 5th disc of the newly-remastered set offers, among other new extras, a brief feature explaining the staggering restoration work done on the films.)

It's no stretch to think that the three movies now look even better than they did during their initial theatrical release, when film prints deteriorated with every run through the projector. Certainly, this pristine edition is a far cry from the Godfather DVD set released in 2001, which still had muddy, washed-out images, the shadows (and they were all over--this is the Mafia, hello) often indistinguishable from the drapery.

It's not only the shadows that have acquired fresh nuance. So have the performances. With the young Al Pacino's face floodlighted by a kind of warm orange-sepia light, you can see how infinitely subtle he was as an actor then. Now, of course, he is the definition of bombast, all bark, spit and bellow. And Marlon Brando, in the film that gave him his second Oscar (but which he refused to accept), emerges from the murky, grimy darkness of poor video versions with a performance of twilit power and pathos...

The only fly in the ointment is an annoying extra called The Godfather On the Red Carpet, where Hollywood starlets, accosted by a floating mic in what looks like a movie premiere, yak and yap about how the Godfather films are, like, the greatest thing on earth since the bust lift. Couldn't Paramount have rounded up bigger stars, worthier names, to give testimony to two (anybody voting for The Godfather III?) of the greatest movies of all time?

I'm whining, and I shouldn't be. Mabalos, Chris. You've made this movie freak one happy fella.

PLUS: “The best reason yet to go Blu-ray,” Fred Kaplan raves in Slate.


Anonymous said...

iniwanan na ba tayo ni migs?

nag-quit na po ba sya sa blogging?

nakakalungkot naman.

sana makareply ka po. thanks.

gibbs cadiz said...

hi ALLEN, yes, unfortunately, migs has decided to close mgg for good. he's still in the US, and i myself have not heard from him about the reason/s for his decision. but knowing him, am sure he didn't make that decision lightly. :)

the spy in the sandwich said...

i am so green with envy. did i already say i am green with envy? because i really am green with envy. :)

gibbs cadiz said...

haha, am sure you'll have your own copy very soon, IAN. enjoy! :)

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