ROME – “I am very proud of The Godfather, who certainly defined the first part of my creative life,” said Francis Ford Coppola, director of Paramount Pictures’ masterpiece that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the cult film, beloved for decades by several generations. For today’s youth, with the restoration of the film.
Adapted from Coppola’s fantastic novel Mario Puzo, which, as everyone knows, tells the rise and fall of the Corleone family, is a film trilogy considered one of the greatest in cinema history. In preparation for the 50th anniversary celebration of the first film’s original release on March 24, 1972, Paramount Productions and Coppola’s American Zoetrope did a painstaking restoration of all three films. The restoration lasted three years. Every effort has been made to create the best presentation possible for today’s audiences, who can watch movies using technology that has evolved greatly since 2007, when a recent restoration was completed by prominent and conservative film historian Robert Harris. Using this work as a template, the team spent thousands of hours making sure each frame remained consistent with the films’ original look. “We were so proud to get these movies back and a little dreaded each day we worked,” said Andrea Callas, senior vice president of Paramount Archives.
And now some details of the restoration. Over 300 cartons of films were screened to find the best resolution for each of the three films. Over 4,000 hours were spent repairing film smudges, tears, and other damage in the negatives. More than 1,000 hours were spent on rigorous color correction to ensure that HDR tools respect the original visions of Coppola and cinematographer Gordon Willis. In addition to the 5.1 soundtrack approved by Walter Murch in 2007, the original single tracks for The Godfather and The Godfather: Part Two have been restored. Coppola oversaw all work.
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