Tuesday, May 22, 2012


For some reason, I'm not able to respond to any of the comments that have been left so far, so I figured I'd throw a new post up to respond to the folks that have been kind enough to write in. Feel free to continue commenting; if I don't respond personally, I'll try to come up with a post like this ever so often.

Onizuka wrote:

It's interesting to see that the AMC broadcast of The Godfather Saga seems pretty close to the 35mm :




Even more closer that the 2001 DVD. But there is just a slight green tint, perhaps due to the broadcast or the encoding of the release.

I'm very interested by your project and i wish you all the best for the future.


We noticed that too. Our source at Paramount confirmed that AMC's print of The Saga was actually from a private collection and had been stored away since 1977, meaning that it had basically been shown once or twice before being put away for safekeeping.

This print then was pretty important during the restoration because (A) it was a first generation transfer from the original negatives, which at that point were only 5 and 3 years old and (B) it hadn't experienced any wear and tear from repeated screenings. This was the closest that Paramount could find to an untouched theatrical print (in fact, some parts of The Coppola Restoration came from this print of The Saga) so in many ways it was like having an original 35mm print of the first two movies.

The problem with this print is that being produced on Eastman stock, it didn't age well at all. Most theatrical prints saved on Eastman stock tend to lose their blue and green dyes over time, which makes the picture turn kind of reddish brown. (This was especially noticeable in the laserdisc Trilogy as well as parts of the 2001 DVD set). 

However, this print of The Saga was an interpositive print, which suffers from a different type of degradation. Instead of losing its greens and ending up red, interpositives tend to lose their yellows and end up green. This explains the greenish tint in AMC's Saga. Which is a shame, because even though a new master was struck in HD, no film restoration or color correction was attempted. Instead, they just cut out the scenes that had really degraded and/or substituted them with footage from the regular TV prints of Part I and II. (You can spot these parts pretty easily; they appear overly dark and devoid of the green tint present throughout the rest of the picture.)

We've actually used a few of the scenes from the AMC Saga in our edit, simply because they were in much better shape than our old video tape recordings. We toned down the green as best we could by adding more red and giving it a slight yellow sheen to match the core footage from The Coppola Restoration.

Anonymous wrote:

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?

Unfortunately, they're probably lost for good.

Our source at Paramount confirmed the rumors concerning the original negatives for the first two Godfather films. Either intentionally or through neglect, most of the footage has been destroyed over time. About the only thing that we're sure still exists is the Master Print for the Saga, which means that it is possible that we may get some more additional footage over the years. (Remember, not all of the footage from the Master Print has been released- there's still at least a half hour of footage unaccounted for.)

But these two scenes were never part of the Master Print, which means they were kept in the vault. And as we found out a few years ago, most of the vault footage is destroyed.

The only hope that we will some day finally get to see these scenes is if Barry Malkin held on to his tapes from '76. In preparation for editing the Saga, Coppola had all of the vault footage (over 90 hours worth) transferred to videotape and sent to Barry Malkin so he could construct a rough edit of The Saga. If these tapes were kept in a safe place, then who knows...

Anonymous wrote:

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


Stay tuned over the next few weeks. We're going to start reprinting a slew of articles concerning the Saga, including the TV Guide cover story!

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.

Yes, they mainly came from the 1968 sequence that originally closed the film. According to the screenplay:

Michael is diabetic and walks with a cane. Connie has become his caretaker, his only confidant, cooking his meals and taking him on walks. He spends his time staring at the lake where Fredo died. He is prematurely aged, decaying from within like the abandoned ruins of the Corleone compound in New York. 

A slow closeup to Michael, sitting outdoors in his chair. It is late fall, and the leaves are dead. The wind rustles in the background. A cigarette rests idly in his hand, as if forgotten. Michael closes his eyes, and his head nods forward slightly. Is he napping, or is he dead? Fade to black, dead silence. Credits roll. 

Naturally, Paramount vetoed this ending. It was too depressing, according to them. (Notice how Michael's ambiguous death scene in this version came pretty close to the way he actually died in Part III). So all the parts with Connie and Michael eating dinner and walking around the Lake Tahoe property were nixed and the final "chair" scene was reshot with Pacino in slightly less aged makeup. But thankfully some of these scenes wound up in The Saga's opening credits, otherwise we may have never seen them!

Not only did Coppola rewrite the ending at Paramount's request, he also added the end title theme that begins to swell as Michael sits in his chair and the credits start to roll. Even with the less-depressing new ending, Paramount lobbied for "epic" music at the end in order to make the ending feel more upbeat. In our edit, we've gone with the original idea of ending in silence. The scene, we feel, is a million times more powerful without the orchestral score in the background.

Next time: rare articles scanned and posted here at the Godfather Museum!



  1. 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?

  2. 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 :)

  3. Is there any way fans can petition to see the DC of Godfather Part II.....1959 to 1968.....this footage has to be released at some point.