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November 2017

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DEPARTMENT 30 POST NOVEMBER 2017 PARAMOUNT RESTORES THE GODFATHER TRILOGY BY IAIN BLAIR Director Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 Oscar- winning masterpiece The Godfather is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential films in cinematic history. Now, in time for the holidays and to celebrate its 45th anniversary, Paramount Home Entertainment is making an offer you can't refuse, and releasing the entire epic "Godfather" trilogy on Blu-ray in a four-disc Omertà Edition. This includes the Coppola restoration of the first two films, as well as the remastered version of Part III (the 1990 release was in far better shape than the first two films). The limited edition includes commen- tary by Coppola on all three films, a full disc of previously released in-depth special features as well as exclusive new collectible Trivia Cards, Magnetic Poetry, an Anatomy of a Scene fold out and Quote Cards. "It's hard to overstate the importance of preservation and restoration of all old films," the director told me in an interview. "Over the years, so many films have been lost through neglect and damage to the original negatives, which is tragic, and I'm so grateful so many people worked so hard on this project." And for so long. The restoration took some three years to complete, reports Andrea Kalas, VP archives at Paramount. "The studio looked at the original negatives and also some early inter-positives and inter-negatives, and then scanned every single one of them that might be useful, in order to be able to choose the best possible source image." That meant no scratch- es for the most part. "But if there was an image that was closer to the original negative, but that had a few scratches, then we might choose that and then clean it up," she adds. "So the whole process was very much a patchwork." The project was supervised by restoration guru, Robert A. Harris, whose restoration credits include such iconic films as Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus, Vertigo and Rear Window, among others. This was all done under the direction of Coppola and cinematographer, Gordon Willis. The director notes that some of the original color "had faded quite a bit," and renowned DI colorist Jan Yarbrough at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging also played a key role. "He's simply brilliant and was able to understand the original intent of the DP, and using the latest technology was able to bring out the best possi- ble look," says Kalas. The result is a restoration "intended to stand the test of time," she reports. "It was an early 4K restoration, when not that many 4K ones had been done. And if the technology keeps advanc- ing to 'more K's' it might one day be a reason to go back and review all the material again. But for now, they all look as gorgeous as they did when they were first released." Kalas adds that studios are now "far more aware" of the need to preserve and restore their classic films. "We store all the original film ele- ments in the best possible way, and Paramount just opened a new vault for exactly this. We want to keep all our negatives from fading and deteriorating, and we want The Godfather to last for as long as possible."

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