Through residing in some kind of cosmic cine-realm, the spirit of Gordon Willis has nonetheless gotten wind of the ecstatic reactions to the digitally reordered 50th anniversary Godfather. I would like to think that he’s pleased about the following statement, which Willis wrote several years ago, having been posted this morning on Home Theatre Forum:

“Apparently restoring the Godfather [films] is becoming more difficult than the original task of making them.

“The main thing is to reflect on the word RESTORE, which in the simplest possible terms, means PUT IT BACK THE WAY IT WAS.

“I realize how difficult it is for people not to fall in love with ‘THE PROCESS’… whatever it might be. Digital reconstruction of the Godfather films should be held to remounting the film in its ORIGINAL visual structure.

“That means NO sharpening, NO grain reduction and NO reshaping of of the visual interpretive levels. The period work in Part 2 will be especially affected, or maybe I should say INfected.

“How this picture was shot, regarding the lighting, and the color was well thought out…don’t change it. I realize it’s everybody’s instinct to reduce or expand things to a level they understand, but the job is to PUT IT BACK THE WAY IT WAS. The tools that are available to do that now, are miraculous. They are, however a means to an end… not an end in themselves.

“These films have been made already. People working on them should give them the respect that’s necessary to bring them back to life, which means not changing one damn thing.”