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OCTOBER 9, 2001
If there was ever an offer you couldn't refuse, it's...
Francis Ford Coppola and Paramount Home Entertainment held a press conference and street fair in Brooklyn on June 11, 2001, and yours truly was there! The exciting news, of course, was announcing the release of THE GODFATHER DVD COLLECTION on October 9, 2001*! If the preview of the set is any indication, then I must say this will be the crown jewel in any DVD collection! [*see International Release dates]
The three films will only be released together in this set. The Godfather and The Godfather Part III will each be on one disc, and The Godfather Part II will take two discs. The first of the good news? Francis Coppola has recorded full-length audio commentaries for all three films!
But wait, there's a fifth disc that will blow your socks off! Check this out -- the bonus disc contains 3+ hours worth of special features, including:
> "The Godfather Family: A Look Inside" documentary
> "On Location" with production designer Dean Tavoularis
> "The Cinematography of The Godfather"
> "Coppola and Puzo on Screenwriting"
> "The Corleone Family Tree" character and cast bios
> Photo galleries with captions
> Filmmaker bios
> Corleone Family timeline, with real-life events mixed in! (Sort of like this one that's been on this site for the past few years, but with "official" dates)
> "Francis Coppola's Notebook", an inside look at taking the book to screen
> "The Godfather Behind The Scenes"
> "The Music of The Godfather"
> Storyboards from GF2 and GF3
> Academy Award® acceptance speeches
> Theatrical trailers
> Several "Easter Eggs" - shhh!
> Never-seen alternate opening of GF3!
> And [almost] "all" of the extra footage found in The Godfather Saga!
The picture quality looked fantastic -- Coppola's American Zoetrope did a wonderful job restoring the films (they did it electronically). From what I could tell, the sound quality was perfect, and the on-screen menus looked great [see sample screenshots]. The DVD packaging looks nice, but some type of booklet would have been cool. They had floor displays set up (see below) as you will see them in stores (art subject to change), chock full of DVD sets! Unfortunately the DVDs were blanks, and much of the packaging was written in gibberish, otherwise I'd've found a way to 'acquire' a set or 10 ;-) There will also be a nifty poster to advertise the set [pic].
All three films are in widescreen* format with English 5.1 surround sound, French mono, and English subtitles. [*see this note about widescreen versions of the Godfather films, by Harlan Lebo, author of The Godfather Legacy.]
Perhaps the only "bad" news I heard was that there were no plans at this point to release the chronological version on DVD. Francis said that the films were meant to be seen with the flashbacks, and I tend to agree. The biggest plus of having The Godfather Trilogy or Epic on tape, or watching The Godfather Saga on TV, was all the extra footage included. Well, the bonus disc in The Godfather DVD Collection contains "all" of the extra footage, and even something we've never seen anywhere before: an alternate opening for The Godfather Part III. Francis didn't give a firm "no" though; he cited technical reasons for not being able to include all the extra footage on DVD: the different scenes are in various levels of production ("they weren't mixed and scored"), making it difficult to add them seemlessly with today's technology. Maybe, but they seemed to be okay in the boxed sets....
As a side note, someone asked about a possible Godfather Part IV. Francis said simply, "there will not be a Godfather IV." When asked "absolutely not?" Francis simply repeated, "there will not be a Godfather IV" to laughter. I guess that's not a "never"....
Besides Francis Coppola himself, the speakers at the press conference were Eric Doctorow (President of Paramount Home Entertainment Worldwide), Kim Aubry (Technical Director and VP for Engineering and Technology at Coppola's American Zoetrope), Meagan Burrows (Executive VP Sales and Marketing for Paramount Home Entertainment), and Phil Jackson (President of Paramount Home Entertainment International). The emcee was Martin Blythe (Paramount's VP of Publicity). [pic]
For you die-hard collectors, there will be full saturation in the U.S. this Fall and holiday seasons. Paramount says that "95% of all U.S. households will see The Godfather message ten times"! Keep an eye on the Fall issues of People, EW, Premiere, Playboy, SI, and TV Guide. Watch all major TV networks plus VH1, ESPN, E!, TBS, TNT (more in the big cities). Even bus side panels in the Top 6 Markets! This promises to be the biggest DVD release -- ever!
[Audio excerpts on the way -- check back soon!]
After the hour-long press conference, it was time to party! The location of the event was on the same block as Francis' Morisi-Coppola Pasta Factory [pic]. In street festival style [pic][pic][pic] we enjoyed Francis' rustic pasta in various old-world shapes and sizes (including Rosette and Quadrefiore) covered in his own styles of organic tomato sauces such as Pomodoro-Basilico and Puttanesca. And to top it off, it was washed down with his wonderful Niebaum-Coppola wine [pic] (Rosso and Bianco)! I must say, he knows what he's doing in the food and drink department, too. Everything was fantastico, even the band [pic]! Be sure to look for the "Francis Coppola presents... Mammarella" brand of pasta and sauces [pic], coming soon nationally (you can also order them online) -- you will not be disappointed! And don't forget the wine, which you can also order online in many states.
Guess what? Yours truly was interviewed on camera by KPI and it may run on TNN! (it's not The Nashville Network anymore, it's The National Network ;-) Apparently there is going to be a big special on TNN this fall called "America Loves... The Godfather". I was never interviewed on camera with the big fuzzy mic under my chin before, so it was a little bizarre -- and I was so nervous I messed up "my favorite quote from the movie" (among other things)! Instead of saying, "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer", like a bumbling moron I said, "Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer". Figures, "the expert", right? ;-)
...BUT NOT LEAST!
I attended the event with my compatriot Justin Cristaldi at SicilianCulture.com. Guess who he knows? It just so happens that his best friend is enganged to one of Sonny Corleone's twin daughters (from Part I)! That's right, she came along, too! In the classic family portrait from Part I, she's the one on the left. She brought along some "family portrait" photos from the filming that weren't used, and said her mom has an awesome "do not touch" collection (she was in it, too; an extra in the Don's funeral scene). I gotta go check it out...! [See a pic of Theresa now, with her fiance, Matt]
BTW, Justin lives in Sopranos country in North Jersey, right near Tony Soprano's house [pic].
Before the press conference I met up with Marc from the Mailing List briefly; he's a freelance photographer and was taking pictures for the Daily News. I tell you, he had great positioning during the conference, right next to the podium! [pic] ;-) He assured me I'd have some of his shots for the site, so keep an eye out! And thanks again, Marc!
OH, AND DON'T FORGET:
> Order The Godfather DVD Collection Now! at CD Now [ or Amazon ]
> Order Region 2/PAL version here (Europe, Middle East, Japan only)
J Geoff Malta
Visit Niebaum-Coppola for Francis's food, wine, and filmstuff
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