Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sampling The Godfather in 4K

Sampling the first 40 minutes of The Godfather in the 4K DCP of Hollywood Classics Digital, at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Sight & Sound Top Ten Films), 11 April, 2013.

I have never seen a good presentation of The Godfather in a cinema. When Francis Ford Coppola visited the Midnight Sun Festival in Sodankylä in 2002 the print was booked from Paramount Pictures, but even the studio print did not do justice to the bold visual concept of Coppola and his DP Gordon Willis. The film has such an exceptionally difficult definition of light that it borders on the experimental. The ultimate test is in the beginning: the contrast between the utter darkness of Don Corleone's room versus the sunny brightness of the outdoors wedding party.

The Godfather was apparently such a runaway hit that much more prints were needed than predicted and the negatives went into bad shape. That's why it became difficult to access a good print.

My definitive The Godfather experience has been the 2008 dvd release, the third dvd release of The Godfather in The Godfather Box: The Coppola Restoration (a 5-dvd box set), based on a 4K scan. For the first time The Godfather really felt like I had always imagined it should look.

Seeing the 4K DCP from Hollywood Classics Digital on our screen I'm impressed by the film itself, but as for the visual quality it must be confessed that more recent 4K DCP's, such as the one of The Taxi Driver, are superior. I'm looking forward to the next restoration of The Godfather.

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