Here, for now, is the definitive restoration-of-The Godfather story, written by L.A. Times contributor Bill Desowitz for the Monday, 7.14 edition.
“Fans who pick up the recently announced The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration,, due out from Paramount Home Entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray on Sept. 23, are likely to see things in the 1972 Mafia saga and its two sequels they’ve never noticed before,” Desowitz begins. “The differences could be subtle to the casual observer, but the improved color and clarity give new visual punch to some of the most cherished sequences in recent cinema history.
“‘We wanted the blacks to be truly black, and the first image of Bonasera [Salvatore Corsitto] was to appear out of that,’ said Francis Ford Coppola, speaking via e-mail about the opening scene of his landmark drama.
“The restoration was a sizable undertaking that required a team of technicians, several hundred thousand dollars and two years of effort, largely because the negative for The Godfather had been nearly destroyed by overprinting and mishandling.
“‘I believe that there were only five or six shots in the first 20 minutes that were still original,’ said restoration supervisor Robert Harris, who previously had worked to restore films including Vertigo and Lawrence of Arabia. ‘Virtually every splice was held together with Mylar tape. Tears went into image in hundreds of frames. Sections were totally without perforations.'”