Monday, May 28, 2012

Article: TV Guide (Nov. 1977)

As promised, here's the first in a string of articles we're reprinting for archival purposes. This week it's the TV Guide from the week of November 12-18, 1977, featuring a cover story on the making of The Saga.

(Click on each image a few times to increase the size to a readable format).


Front Cover. This particular copy was for eastern Colorado, FWIW.

I find it amusing that Judith Crist gives the Saga such a rave review here when she was one of the very few critics that panned the original Godfather five years earlier. She deplored the violence and compared the character of Vito Corleone to Hitler, going so far as to call  Francis Ford Coppola "morally bankrupt" for depicting Don Corleone in such a positive light. "The film is as ‘good’ as the novel; essentially immoral and therefore far more dangerous," she wrote in New York magazine.  "The whole function of the film is to show us that Hitler is a grand sort of family man, gentle with children... Disgusting." 

That's all the Godfather material from that particular issue. We've literally got dozens of articles to reprint, so don't think this is the only one you'll see.

On to the comments from last week:

I must say this site is amazing. Do you know exactly how much the AMC version of the saga differs from the original airing? You say it's 5 minutes shorter even with the trilogy scenes included. I wonder how many scenes they had to remove.

Another thing, to me it sounds like De Niro overdubbed the first line that old Vito (Marlon) says in his first scene in the saga. Like it was supposed to connect the young Vito with the old. Do you agree with this?

It would take a side-by-side analysis to list all the differences between the two, which we can certainly do in the future. Most of the cuts were very minor: a line or two here and some dialogue there, but they all added up in the long run. But we noted dozens of these minor alterations while we were comparing it against the original airing.

Excellent catch on that first line of dialogue! You're the only other person we know that has picked up on that overdubbing. I think that Coppola killed two birds with that stone.

That scene was the first one to be shot for the film, and Brando hadn't quite perfected Vito's voice at that point, which is why it sounds kind of different from his performance throughout the rest of the film. Though he did re-do a lot of lines for post-production, by the time it came around to redub certain scenes at the last minute, Brando was long-since gone. Coppola brought in a Brando impersonator* to redo certain sections, including this opening scene, but Dick Portman (the sound editor) convinced him to keep Brando's voice in this part.

*The impersonator's voice can be heard when Vito asks Tom "Is this Woltz so tough?", which was changed at the last minute from "Does this Woltz have balls?" when someone pointed out that the phrase didn't become popular until the 1960's. This part ended up being cut from the film anyway but made it back into The Saga. The only part of the theatrical film that has been absolutely 100% confirmed to be voiced by Brando's double is when he asks Tom "Is this absolutely necessary?" in reference to having to speak with Luca Brasi at his daughter's wedding. The difference in quality between the two lines leaves us to wonder whether or not there was more than one voice actor dubbing Brando's lines.

I think that Coppola, having always been dissatisfied with this line, wanted it redubbed to begin with, and what better way to "bridge" the two stories together, as you pointed out, than by having DeNiro redo it? We debated using this redubbed line in our cut, but in the end we felt that the original Brando line worked better.

Great to hear you used a few of the scenes from the AMC Saga
But can you use all scenes from AMC Saga to replace taped scenes?

It would be much better for your EPIC EDIT :)

Cheers :)

For each scene, we used the best source we had available. For some scenes, this was the AMC Saga, but as noted elsewhere much of the footage was unusable for various reasons. Mainly that the scenes in AMC's version were shorter, or trimmed for time/content, than the original broadcast recording.

Another factor to contend with was that AMC broadcast their version in a matted 16:9 ratio with the AMC logo at the bottom, or with a bumper for another show down there, or with the puppeteer logo in the corner. This meant that we had to mat the scene even further to remove the superfluous data and by the time we've zoomed in to the center of the picture, we had a super-blown up image with thousands of specks of grain in it. Believe it or not, doing a mat job on the 4:3 videotape actually looked better than it did from the HD broadcast.

So rest assured, we utilized the best source for each scene.

More next time!

1 comment:

  1. What a great read, thanks very much for scanning and posting it. I wish they were able to show the original NBC Saga in its entirety on AMC. It's a piece of television history.

    I'd really love to see all that lost footage from Godfather I and II, I'm sure it was cut for a reason but I'd love to see any extension to the story. Coppola should recover those scenes before it's too late, although I think the chances are about as slim as seeing an official release of the 5-and-a-half hour long cut of Apocalypse Now (which if there's a God in movie heaven we'll get to see in better quality one day).

    Any tentative release date for the Complete Epic Trilogy? Your poster says spring 2012 and summer is nearing lol not to rush what I'm sure is a very rigorous project, but just very anxious to see it.