Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Brief History of the Chronological Cuts, Fan Edits and Extended Editions


 1971-1972


Combining the two (and later, the three) Godfather films into one chronological cut with deleted scenes added is an idea that has kicked around since 1971, before the first film was even finished shooting. Early into production, Coppola realized that his cut stood a very good chance of running over four hours. Paramount was demanding a two hour long film, which meant that he was going to have to cut the film in half in order to get it into theaters.

Rather than despair, Coppola continued shooting with the intention to air the film as a two or three part mini series (after its initial theatrical run) with all of the additional footage included. His rough cut ended up running just under four hours, and he whittled it down to two hours and sent it off to Paramount, where Robert Evans complained that it felt like a trailer instead of a finished film. After two more different cuts (at 210 minutes and 189 minutes) a compromise was reached and the final cut ran 175 minutes (plus a ten minute intermission that was later excised for its national run). This left a good 45 minutes of finished footage sitting on the cutting room floor.



  1973


Before work began on Part II, Coppola was again struck with the "extended edition" idea and in 1973, announced to the press that Part II would not be a standalone film. Instead, it was to be edited together with Part I to form one long, continuous theatrical movie to be titled The Godfather Saga. "The movie isn't a sequel in the Hollywood sense of the word. They're two distinct pieces that are formed together to make one story. They should be told together. I want the [Saga] to be an event... like, you have to call out sick and take the day off because you know you're going to be sitting in the theater for 8 hours!"

When Paramount got word of this, they quickly reminded Coppola that the complete artistic freedom granted to him for Part II did not extend to any repackaging of Part I. Part II was to be a "Hollywood sequel", albeit an unconventional one.

When the rough cut of Part II was assembled, Coppola had a movie that was 6 hours long. It was basically two different films separated by an intermission- the first three hours detailing the rise of Vito Corleone and the last three hours chronicling the fall of Michael Corleone. At this point, the idea of combining the two stories as a flashback-driven narrative had not been thought of.

Paramount's idea was to make two different films, a prequel and a sequel, to be released a year apart from each other. Coppola hated the idea. His partner at American Zoetrope, George Lucas, was blunt: "Francis, you have two different movies. Throw one of them away, you'll never make them work together." But Coppola played around with the flashback idea until he had a "dynamite" structure that told both stories in tandem. This first "parallel narrative" cut ran 4 hours and 45 minutes. This 285 minute version was cut down to 200 minutes for theaters (210 minutes for theaters that snuck in an intermission). This left approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes* sitting on the cutting room floor.

(*About half of this 185 minutes of excised footage was made up of more of Vito's earlier exploits, the rest mainly taking place after Michael Corleone kills his brother Fredo. Many fans would be surprised to know that after Michael kills Fredo, the movie goes on for another hour and a half. Some of these plot points (Michael getting involved in Washington politics, later ending up running what's left of Hyman Roth's Miami business) would be touched upon by Mark Winegardner in his atrociously-written and poorly conceived Godfather Returns and Godfather's Revenge books. The film finally ends in 1972, with Michael Corleone back in his Long Island estate, sitting in a chair, smoking and contemplating his life of crime. After this sequence was shortened and the preceding hour cut, this scene was re-shot with Michael in slightly-less aged makeup and the time frame was bumped up to 1968.)



Early advance one sheet for Part II. At this point, the film was still being edited and the 1962/Washington and 1972/Miami sequences had not yet been dropped from the final cut. The film played on for another 80 minutes after Fredo is killed on the lake.


The Young Vito sequence likewise lost about an hour and a half. In the finished film, his story stops in 1925 as he's leaving Sicily. But much more took place when he returned to America. There are scenes with Vito establishing his budding empire, recruiting a young Luca Brasi, teaching a young Sonny the ins and outs of gangster life, and a long sequence in the 30's where the Corleone family is busy fighting off a war with a rival Mafia clan (even Al Capone sends some guys after Vito!)

De Niro gained an additional 40 pounds for these later sequences. Some stills from these shots were released as publicity photos. (The cover of The Godfather Companion contains the only known studio still from the 30's sequence; here, De Niro's bulk is much more apparent and his resemblance to Marlon Brando's Don is startling.)













Back to the main article:

If you're trying to keep track, that's 45 minutes of additional footage in the workprint for Part I, and 2 hours and 25 minutes in the workprint for Part II, meaning that Coppola had 3 hours and 5 minutes of excised footage that he could potentially reincorporate into the proposed "Saga" cut.




  1974


While still editing the theatrical cut of Part II, Coppola was approached by NBC to turn his "Saga" into a two part miniseries. This would have been comprised of the theatrical cut of Part I (minus the violence, raw language and sex scenes) plus several of the excised scenes that were cut from the theatrical print. The proposed title for this extended cut would have been The Godfather: A Novel For Television. Coppola was intrigued, but he was knee deep in postproduction for Part II and had only a limited amount of time to devote to the television project, so it was decided that he would instead oversee a slightly cleaned up version of the theatrical cut.

Coppola and Barry Malkin called in James Caan and a few more of the original cast members to re-record certain dialogue (ie, Sonny's line "I don't want my brother coming out that bathroom with just his dick in his hands" was changed to "a stick in his hands"). Malkin dug up alternate takes of some of the more violent scenes (Sonny beating Carlo Rizzi in the street, Woltz finding the horse's head) and Coppola recorded an introduction (filmed within the Part II editing room) that was aired before the broadcast.  

The Godfather premiered on NBC on November 18, 1974, one month before the theatrical release of Part II, and was at that time the most watch event on television history. Though it ultimately wasn't the extended cut of Part I (The Godfather: A Novel for Television) that NBC originally called for, and it wasn't Coppola's grand combination of the two films (The Godfather Saga), this original telecast was notable in that it was the first time the public had seen any non-theatrical footage, even if they were just minor longshots substituted for more graphic closeups.



Sonny beating Carlo in the theatrical version.



... and the scene as it appeared on television. In our edit, both takes have been integrated to produce one extended sequence.




1977


While shooting Apocalypse Now in the Philippines, Coppola was running out of cash and needed help financing the project. He turned to Paramount, who suggested that instead of simply airing The Godfather Part II on NBC, Coppola could instead make his Saga cut (combining both films) and NBC would be forced to pay more for the two films combined than they would have for just the sequel. Coppola would see a percentage of this purchase since he owned backend points on both films. Coppola agreed. Approximately 90 hours of footage was sent over to Barry Malkin in LA with the instructions to "make it work."

The first cut of The Godfather Saga ran over 9 hours. The allotted time for the entire screening was nine hours total (3 hours one night, and 2 hours for three more nights) with commercials, meaning that the final cut couldn't be over 7 1/2 hours long. After removing the two intermissions and cutting a few unreleased scenes that he knew would be too violent for television*, the running time was down to 8 and a half hours. This 8.5 hour second rough cut is known as the Master Print, and all deleted footage and chronological edits that have been issued to date come from this print. But for this initial airing of The Saga, Malkin still had about one more hour of footage to excise. 

*Two of these "too rough for TV" scenes have seemingly been lost for good and have developed an almost legendary status among Godfather fans. (Contrary to some reports, both scenes were in fact filmed, edited and included in the near-final cuts before being removed at the last minute.)

First, a five minute sequence in which Clemenza's hoods brutally beat the guys who raped Bonasera's daughter and leave them bleeding in the street; the second, Michael Corleone casually walking into the pizza parlor owned by Fabrizio, the treacherous bodyguard that murdered Mike's first wife, and shooting him over and over with a sawed off shotgun. This latter sequence was a favorite of Coppola's, and was rumored to have been even more bloody and violent than Sonny's assassination. Knowing that the censors would never allow it, Malkin instead used the second, less graphic, assassination of Fabrizio from Part II's workprint.


The scene plays like this in the screenplay:



After watching Carlo Rizzi get garroted to death, Michael and Al Neri get into the car and pull off. 




Michael jumps out of the car with something under his coat. The audience isn't sure what's going on at this point. Why is Michael rushing into a pizza parlor?




As Michael opens the door, his eyes fix on something. Cut to Fabrizio, his treacherous bodyguard, spinning a pizza behind the counter. A voiceover plays: Michael shouting "Appolonia, no!" and the sound of the car exploding. Now Fabrizio sees Michael, and he stops dead in his tracks.







Michael lets the coat fall to the ground. It was Fabrizio's lupara that he was concealing.
"Hello Fabrizio."




BLAM. BLAM. (reload) BLAM. BLAM. (reload)
Walks over, stands over Fabrizio's slightly twitching body.
BLAM. 

 


Michael lays the shotgun on Fabrizio's back. The camera stays on his corpse while Micheal's footsteps fade away. 







This would have been immediately followed by the scene in Michael's office, where Connie rushes in and calls him a murderer for having assassinated her husband. Had the gunning down of Fabrizio remained in the film, it would have made Michael's subsequent lie to Kay all the more chilling.



While cutting the Saga down to its 7.5 hour length, Coppola placed the events in Part II in chronological order (the Vito Corleone/Little Italy sequences before Part I, and the Michael Corleone Lake Tahoe/Cuba sequences after Part I.) This was done solely to aid in cutting and sequencing the scenes, but Coppola liked the chronology so much that he decided to make the entire presentation linear, sans flashbacks. 

Like the earlier television cut of Part I, Malkin and Coppola dug into the vaults to find alternate takes of violent scenes. They also called in Bruno Kirby, Robert DeNiro, and several others to record new dialogue and voiceovers. (In addition to "clean" dialogue in place of profanity, NBC also insisted that the subtitled Italian dialogue during the Little Italy sequences needed to be replaced by English language dialogue. The idea was that viewers would tune out if they thought they were watching a foreign film.) Some of the workprint footage had unfinished audio that needed to be re-recorded. Unfortunately, not all of the original actors were willing to come in and redub new dialogue, which resulted in subpar scenes like Vito Corleone speaking in a voice that is clearly not Brando's. 

For several months, the project had been referred to in the press and by Paramount as The Godfather Saga, Coppola's original title for the combination cut. But prior to airing, NBC requested that it be retitled The Godfather: A Novel For Television, the original title for the aborted "extended" TV cut of Part I. Coppola argued that since this version contained both movies instead of just Part I, it should be called The Complete Novel For Television. The film, when it finally aired, displayed the official title Mario Puzo's The Godfather: The Complete Novel For Television. Newspapers and TV listings still referred to it though as The Godfather Saga.




 1980-1981




Though it is often thought of as the "home video version of The Saga", The Godfather: The Complete Epic 1902-1959  was a completely different edit. This cut was rush-assembled in order to make it to stores for the Christmas season. (Part I and Part II were released separately on VHS and Betamax that summer, and Paramount had a hard time meeting demand- the two films were constantly sold out in stores, making Part I and Part II the very first home video blockbusters). 





Dig that crazy Beta!

NBC still owned exclusive broadcast rights to The Saga, so if a chronological cut was to appear on home video, it needed to be a new edit that didn't infringe on their contract. Thus was born the 386 minute Complete Epic, clocking in at nearly 45 minutes shorter than the Saga. Much of the bonus footage that appeared in the Saga was missing, although new footage that wasn't included in The Saga was used for The Complete Epic. Again, this version was whittled down from the Master Print and reassembled in a slightly different order for home video. The alternate longshots and redubbed profanity were jettisoned and the violence, sex and swearing were thrown back into the mix. 

The rush release of The Complete Epic was apparent. The subtitles and location cards were in a font totally unlike any seen before or since in a Godfather project (ditto the end credits). Even the title was wrong: the story spanned the years 1901-1959 and not 1902-1959. (Technically, the last shot of the film, with Michael Corleone sitting alone in his chair, took place in 1968, though this was uncommon knowledge to anyone that hadn't read the original screenplay). Nevertheless, The Complete Epic was a best seller that stayed in print for many years, longer than any of the other chronological cuts. 
Due to the overwhelming number of pre-orders, most stores didn't actually receive their copies of The Complete Epic until after Christmas 1980, which is why you often see the erroneous release date of "1981" ascribed to it. 


  
 1982


A new edit of The Saga was produced for network TV entitled The Godfather Novella. This was  basically a special presentation of The Saga which had been cut by two and a half hours in order to be shown over two nights instead of four. Coppola and his associates had no involvement with this project. Almost the entire sequences in Sicily and Cuba were excised, along with most of the Little Italy footage. 

The only unique footage to appear in this cut were a few pre-commercial break scenes that ran several frames longer than what had appeared in The Saga or The Epic. Hardly discernible to the naked eye, we still dutifully included these extensions in our edit. 




  1990



Prior to the theatrical release of Part III, The Complete Epic was repackaged in a smaller slipcase and 
retitled The Godfather: The Epic 1901-1959. It was the exact same cut as The Complete Epic with just a minor titular change. 




 1991


When it was released to home video, The Godfather III ran nine minutes longer than the original theatrical release. This "Final Director's Cut" became the official version of the film, although the theatrical cut was still shown on HBO and other cable channels for several years. 






  1992


Paramount releases The Godfather Trilogy: 1901-1980 on VHS. Not to be confused with the 1997 chronological cut with the same exact name, this edition was basically The Epic/The Complete Epic with the Final Director's Cut of Part III tacked on at the end. (From this point forward, the 1997 Trilogy will be referred to as The Godfather Trilogy: 1901-1980²). 

Each tape had its own individual slipcase.



1997


USA Networks shows The Saga on television for the first time in ten years. The USA Cut is is not quite the same cut as the original Saga. Certain sequences that had been deemed too violent in years past were allowed to air uncut, which meant that the alternate longshots unique to The Saga were gone. Also, since it was shown in 2 parts instead of 4, the second and fourth title sequences were excised. Overall, the film was about 15 minutes shorter than the original Saga.

Though it was missing some of the added footage of The Saga, the USA Cut did contain some unique scenes. First, the title card finally reads "Mario Puzo's The Godfather Saga" instead of the previous "The Complete Novel For Television." Second, the party sequence for Part II was recut and some long shots of the partygoers that had never been exhibited before were thrown in. 

The scene with Don Fanucci backstage at the playhouse was altered. In the theatrical release, Genco and Vito go backstage to talk with Genco's girlfriend. They open the door and find Fanucci shaking down the theater owner for protection money. 

In The Saga, the scene plays a bit longer and when Genco and Vito first open the door, Fanucci is nodding to a passing troupe of actors before he begins to shake down the theater owner. 

In the USA Cut, Vito and Genco open the door, and Fanucci is telling the theater owner that he needs to feature more Sicilian songs instead of Neapolitan. He starts to do a bit of opera singing and then shakes down the theater owner. Gone is the part where he nods to the passing troupe of actors.   

(The AMC Cut from 2012 combines all of this footage, but it excludes two brief shots of Genco and Vito standing at the door reacting to the violence! Our cut, of course, contains all of the footage.)



Around the same time, USA also showed a unique version of Part III that has never been shown before or since. This version is known as The Godfather III USA Cut. The film starts off with footage of an elderly Michael Corleone sitting in his chair (taken from the end of the film) but features a couple of unique closeups that never made it into either the theatrical or home video version. The intro voiceover has been trimmed and most of the opening montage showing the neglected grounds of the Corleone compound (which had actually come from The Saga) was excised.


Alternate intro for GF III


The GFIII USA cut is essentially the Theatrical cut, but two extra scenes from the Final Director's Cut made it into this version: BJ Harrison asking the Archbishop "How do you think I got this grey hair?" and Don Altobello handing over a big check for the Vito Corleone Foundation.








Later in the year, The Godfather Trilogy: 1901-1980² is released to laserdisc. This is a completely new cut that had nothing in common with the previous release that used the same exact title. The Saga was used as the foundation to the project, and several trims were made to remove footage that had degraded too badly or suffered from poor post-production audio redubs from the original 1977 project. (The audio and video tracks were scrutinized particularly close for this project, as it was to be remastered in THX and for the first time ever, feature a stereo soundtrack remixed from the original mono). 

The Master Print was also referred to for sequences that were felt needed to be included but were degraded too badly from the TV print. This mixing of censored TV footage and uncut Master Print footage resulted in a strange mix that on the one hand would include the violent gundown of Sonny but would then have Frankie Pentangeli shouting "Canopies, my eye!" instead of the theatrical "Canopies, my ass!" 

L-R, The Trilogy laserdisc set; the 2001 DVD set (in limited edition red packaging) and the 2008 Coppola Restoration Blu Ray

But by referring back to the Master Print for certain sequences, we get some exclusive "lifts" that were cut for time for The Saga. Most of these are minor shots, such as Tom Hagen looking up at the staircase after witnessing Woltz's nymphet being pulled back into her bedroom. In The Saga, the girl is dragged back into her room and the camera remains on the staircase for several seconds before fading out for a commercial break. 

In The Trilogy², after the girl is dragged back into her room, the camera cuts back to Tom Hagen, who is obviously trying to process the scene he just witnessed. He looks down and walks away (you can almost visualize what he's thinking; "Boy, wait till I tell the Don about this!") So while we lose three seconds of footage from The Saga (the empty staircase, the echoes of the girl protesting her treatment prior to fade to black) we gain a new shot of Hagen exclusive to this version. (Again, in our cut, you get the entire sequence on the staircase plus Tom Hagen walking away.) 

Several other minor shots and extensions pop up in The Trilogy
². Perhaps the most notable addition is of Michael in Sicily witnessing a Communist march, which had never been exhibited in any of the previous edits.  
 


2001




The three films are released to DVD and most of the additional footage from The Godfather Trilogy²  is included as bonus material. 




2002


Spike TV airs The Saga in two parts. This version is the same as the USA Cut with approximately five minutes of footage deleted in order to fit in more commercials. 




2007

 
Bravo Networks airs The Saga in two parts. Again, this is the same version as the USA Cut, but going even further than Spike TV went, Bravo cuts 22 minutes from the run time in order to fit in as many commercials as possible.

Bravo also aired Part III immediately after The Saga. This version was essentially the Final Director's Cut, but one of the opening montages from The Saga was added to the beginning for reasons unknown. The montage has been slightly trimmed in order to remove the credit screens for Part I and Part II. A flashback of the events from the first two films are interspersed with a closeup of Michael sitting in a chair, smoking a cigarette.



2012



To celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Godfather films, AMC airs their version of The Saga. The AMC Cut is notable for being the first time any of the chronological edits have appeared in a widescreen format. It was also broadcast in HD, another first. 

In 2008, while sourcing footage for the Coppola Restoration, Dreamworks came across a pristine copy of the original 1977 NBC print for The Godfather Saga. This was then matted to a widescreen ratio and the footage was synched up with the 2.0 Stereo mix from The Trilogy². (For scenes that were in the Saga but not the Trilogy², the soundtrack reverts back to its original mono). Some of the scenes that were unique to the Trilogy² were also flown in for this cut. 

While this cut, on the surface, appears to be the ultimate merging of The Saga and The Trilogy, it suffers from several minor trims and lifts throughout. A line of dialogue here, a minor scene there, etc, all add up to make a cut that is almost five minutes shorter than the original Saga, despite having the extra scenes from The Trilogy²! Some of the scenes that were exclusive to the original airing of The Saga are missing, like Michael asking Santino Jr. how his book is coming along. 

Overall, it was great to finally see (most) of the original Saga in a cleaner format, but thankfully we held on to our 35 year old Betamax recording of the initial airing. 






The Fanedits

 

1995: The Godfather Epic Saga

The first Godfather fanedit that we're aware of is The Regency Elf's VHS mash-up from 1995 entitled The Godfather Epic Saga. This was a chronological edit incorporating all of the then-available footage from The Godfather Saga, The Complete Epic and the theatrical cuts. 

Back in 1977, one of Elf's family members had recently purchased a Sony SL-8200 Betamax machine which was capable of recording two hours per tape. The result was five Betamax cassettes containing the whole of The Godfather Saga (along with an episode of MASH thrown in for good measure). 


The Sony SL-8200 cost about 1500 bucks in 1977- over $5000 in today's money.


This same relative in 1983 also recorded The Godfather Novelette (this time on VHS!) Using these two collections, Elf edited the extra scenes into The Complete Epic to achieve what was then the most comprehensive cut available. 

This edit saw very limited release aside from a couple of dozen dubbed copies that were circulated to members of a national Godfather internet fan club mailing list ca. 1996-7. After he was finished borrowing the original 1977 and 1983 broadcast recordings, Elf returned the tapes back to his uncle. 



 


2006: The Godfather Fanfiltration Edit


In 2006, Fanfiltration released his fanedit entitled The Godfather: 1901-1980 Epic Edit, also known as The Chronological Edit. It was made up of most of the footage from The Complete Saga and The Trilogy² and was very well made. It did lack all of the exclusive Saga material, and while it included some of the scenes found as extras on the DVD set, it didn't feature all of them. It was also missing several scenes that were found only in the theatrical versions. 






2011: The Godfather Chronological Edit (1901-1980)





In 2011, Modernknife released the first version of The Chronological Epic. It included almost all of the footage available to him at the time. Gone were some scenes from the Bonus DVD, Trilogy² and the theatrical cuts. Modernknife also made several artistic changes to his version, such as placing the part with Kay lighting the candles in church after the events of Part I; re-inserting the original workprint opening to Part III back at the beginning of the film; and placing "birth and death" cards next to a screen shot of each key character at the end of the film.

TheRegencyElf came across Modernknife's version and offered to send him his previous Epic Saga cut so that the missing scenes could be reinserted into the Chronological Epic. Version 2.0 was quickly issued with the extra scenes from Elf's cut either inserted back into the film or included as bonus material.





2012: The Godfather Saga: The Complete Epic Trilogy 1901-1997


While I was impressed with Modernknife's cut, I wanted to attempt my own edit that I hoped would improve technically over all the previous fanedits. The main thing that stuck out for me about The Chronological Edit was that all of the extra footage was presented in full-frame while the core footage was presented in widescreen. That meant that the aspect ratio jumped back and forth, which made for a harrowing viewing experience in my mind. 

In early 2011 I began building a large collection of Godfather footage. Everything from the RCA Selectavision discs to each VHS version, all the way up to 35mm reels. (While I amassed several hundred feet of film from each movie, it only amounted to just a few minutes of actual screen time. A complete 35mm print of each film was absolutely not in my budget!)

Thus began a systematic analysis of each version of the three films and TV/Home video chronologies to find every extant scene that had ever been released. Some surprises turned up: an Argentinian VHS release of Part II from 1986 had a close up of John Woltz that was not in any other print ever released. Several different edits of The Godfather III exist (some are noted above) and it would seem that most of the American TV edits of Part III that feature exclusive scenes or different takes were themselves taken from foreign prints. (For example, the USA Network version that is basically the Theatrical cut plus two scenes taken from the Final Directors Cut is exactly the same as the Russian theatrical version, minus cuts for dialogue/violence).

It seemed like every day for months I was watching one or more Godfather movies. I also had to track down the equipment to play them: PAL VCRs, Videodisc machines, an 8mm projector, Betamax players, etc. 

While doing this worldwide search, I contacted many members of the Godfather fan community who graciously lent their videotaped recordings of TV broadcasts (and in some cases, reels of 35mm film) to me in order to screen. TheRegencyElf was one of those guys. Modernknife gave him credit for supplying the Saga footage, so I contacted him to see if he still retained the actual broadcast recording from 1977. According to Elf:

"I called my uncle and said ‘Remember when I borrowed those Godfather tapes about 15 years ago? Do you still have them?’ My uncle never throws anything away, which is good. But it also sucked because he has three storage sheds full of old VHS and Beta tapes from the 70's through the 90's. I had to wade through them all, which took about 6 months, but I finally found four of the five Saga tapes and The Novelette to boot, which I had never even heard of before prior to this discovery."

The footage was in pretty bad shape, but it was cleaned up as best as possible and included in our new cut. The nuts and bolts of making this edit will be fodder for another post, but just to make it clear: EVERY scene from EVERY version made it into our presentation. 
  


More next time!









10 comments:

  1. I can't wait! What do you think happened to the two segments ( Clemenza's hoods beating the guys,and Michael killing Fabrezio)? Does Paramont have them,or someone else,or are they forever lost?

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  2. just found this old cover of TV guide for the saga.

    http://chrisbaker.typepad.com/.a/6a01156f1b6b31970c01348870a069970c-320wi

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  3. watching the AMC version of the godfather saga again, the scenes used during each opening credits montage are definitely from the lost godfather II scenes.

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  4. I wonder if the 1930s Don Vito footage and the DC/Miami footage still exist and will see the light of day at some point. Is there any other information about this. Original script?

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  5. How can I get a copy of the 2012: The Godfather Saga: The Complete Epic Trilogy 1901-1997 ???

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  6. Hey hows the new version coming along? It must be agony trying to put all that together.

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  7. I have a question about the footage of Michael after the death of Fredo. The film originally went on for an hour and a half. Is this footage part of the original master print of the Saga?

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  8. This post is incorrect on one detail. The 1992 VHS is not the Complete Epic with Part III added. I recently purchased it and the total running time for all five tapes is 583 minutes (9 hours 43 minutes). The Complete Epic runs for 386 minutes. The 386 for the Epic plus the 162 minutes for Part III is 548 minutes. The Trilogy offers 35 minutes of additional footage over the Epic. Just wanted to clear that up. I am unsure about the specifics of the 1997 VHS, though.

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  9. Has anyone been able to get a hold of the "Complete Version" which includes every scene from every version? If so, where can I get a copy?

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  10. I've been hoping for years for Paramount to release the chronological version on DVD.

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