Starring: Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, james Caan, Diane Keaton, and Robert Duvall.
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola
Where I watched it: Paramount Plus
English Audio description Available?: Yes
Look, this is The Godfather. i don’t think anyone was on the fence about watching The Godfather, and was sitting at home and said “Let’s see what John Stark had to say about this over on his site. Maybe then I’ll watch this film that’s been around for 50 years.” That’s the whole thing, it’s been fifty years. The Godfather is having a mid life crisis, and is now a member of AARP. And as a result, PAramount has celebrated this occasion by remastering the original print (again) and even did a theatrical rerelease to celebrate 50 years of taking the cannoli.
My interest in rewatching a film I’ve always respected, yet wouldn’t consider one of those films i need to rewatch over and over, was fueled largely by the release of The offer, the Paramount Plus limited series on the filming of this movie. I figured, now was as good of a time as any to revisit the Corleone family. And it has been a while for me. The last time was after I bought it on DVD, which I’m projecting was somewhere around 18 years ago. I don’t think I’ve seen it since then. To be honest, there just are films I hold in reverence, but I consider them one and done. I also don’t feeel the need to revisit 12 Years A Slave, and have somehow watched Saving Private Ryan far more times than i would have elected.
The Godfather was made at a time when people comfortably has the attention span to enjoy a three hour movie. Now, we just get a fuckload of limited series, because everyone is trying to milk to most they can out of things that should just be a movie. If The Godfather was made today, it would never have gone to theatres. It would be a 10 episode limited series on Paramount Plus (effectively making it even longer).
The Godfather is just a classic as is. It needs no introduction. It has permanently entrenched itself in cinema, and there’s really nothing anyone can do about it. Arguably, even the recent revelations around Gone With The Wind didn’t kill its status as a classic film, it just made anyone who chose to watch it now do so with a different lens, and feel completely different about their life choice.
So unlike the titular character, The Godfather is untouchable. Do I have something to offer to this conversation that hasn’t been said by a thousand other critics? It was nice to see this performance by Pacino, who has crafted a very specific persona for himself since this film, and it’s been great to watch him. but here, he feels completely the opposite of everything he’s become. It’s a youthful early performance from one of the greatest living actors, juxtaposed against a performance in the twilight of Brando’s career, before he slowly started to fall off the rails with his career choices. He’s still a good 20 years away from The Island Of Dr Moreau, but the 70’s were really the last great decade for Brando films. When was the last time you heard someone singing the praises of Don Juan DeMarco?
As far as the restoration went, it mostly just brushed up the visuals I’m sure. The audio track is what it is. Is still sounds like a film from the 70’s, and there really isn’t enough technology around to change that.If you’ve never seen The Godfather, it’s either out of apathy and laziness, or it’s a personal choice at this point. Or, I suppose, you’re seven. in which case, reading a movie blog at seven years old is very mature of you.
What’s there left to say about The Godfather? How do I get you to watch it? Do I make you an offer you can’t refuse?
The Blind Perspective: Honestly, it’s been so long, that visually when I was going through this, only a few scenes popped back into my brain as they were being described, and it seemed to be what was there before. Like, I think the description was well written. I think Paramount hired a new narrator for the Remaster, but the question is which one? The guy who narrates the film portion was boring me to tears. He needs a Red Bull. Then a completely different voice started to read the credits before Paramout Plus assumed I had the attention span of a puppy and ripped me out of the credits and threw me into Part 2 (which also has a different narrator). This film is described by two people. one for the film, and one for the credits. And Paramount refuses to let anyone watch credits or outtakes.
Final Thoughts: It’s The Godfather. If you’ve ever thought about becoming a film critic, or wanted to round out your cinematic history to call yourself a film buff, this one is a must. It just is. The world has made it that way, and it cannot be changed.
Final Grade: A