The Godfather Part III lacks clarity, no casting
The Godfather Part III is a terrible sequel. It must be. Doesn’t everyone say that? The Sopranosthe Muppets, every other loudmouth movie review with a youtube channel – spin anywhere in pop culture you can find the third Godfather as the butt of jokes. Whether it be by Al Pacino Hair, Sophie Coppolaacts, or Francis Ford Coppola and At Mario Puzo’s script, no element of the film went well. In other words, until the reissued version titled The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone came out in 2020 and finally smoothed things over, creating a fitting ending for the trilogy.
Or so much of the copy given to Part III left. The fact is that The Godfather Part III received mixed to positive reviews upon its release, and it was a contender for many major awards at the 1991 Oscars. The fact is also that the Coda the cut is almost exactly the same as the theatrical release. Other than the opening scene and the final seconds, there were no substantial changes. Everyone who has written about how the Coda cut was a revelation, they opened their eyes to the same movie that took all the cheap shots for the past 32 years.
And here is another fact: Coda cutting does not solve what is wrong Part III – to the extent that something is seriously wrong with him.
If I look mad it’s because I never understood what was so offensive The Godfather Part III. Coppola and Puzo’s choice to prioritize spiritual concerns over the drug-heavy storylines that Paramount had toyed with in the years between The Godfather Part II and the third film was inspired. Pacino is excellent as Michael Corleone who is sheared, haunted and penitent. The bastard nephew Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia) is a far more fun and dangerous successor to Michael than a son would have been (another Paramount idea). Connie Corleone (Talia County) turn to wickedness is captivating, as is Kay’s (Diane Keaton) steely refusal to let Michael off the hook for his past. Carmine Coppolathe music of is magnificent, the costumes and sets are sumptuous and the climax extended – juxtaposing the opera Cavalleria rusticana with Vincent’s orchestrated hits — is one of the trilogy’s highest peaks.
I also don’t understand the appeal of Coda To cut. As already noted, it’s only slightly tweaked, but the only tweaks I find an improvement are some color synchronization. The theatrical cut opening at the ruins of the Corleone compound at Lake Tahoe, leading up to the ceremony bestowing Michael with a high Catholic honor, paints a better picture of Michael’s state of mind. After that, the only toppings made to the Coda cut are seconds of character interactions and a few scenes with Eli Wallachis the clever Don Altobello. None of the lost moments were essential, but the character beats helped illustrate various relationships, and Don Altobello is one of the best things about Part III; cutting off his part only gave him a bit of evil charm.
And I’ll even be sticking my head out for the work of Sofia Coppola as Mary Corleone. Does she act rough around the edges? Yes. Mary may be an awkward teenager, but there are times in the film where the awkwardness isn’t genuine, at least not in the way it should be for the story. But the weakest points in the young Coppola’s performance are those involving exposition or relaxed conversation. When called upon to flirt, be heartbroken, or sacrifice the lamb for all the sins of her father and family, Sofia rises to the occasion.
All good in the theatrical cut of Part III, and we’re all supposed to point fingers and laugh at it because it’s not as brilliant as two of the greatest movies ever made? if it’s not The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Godfather Part III stands above the likes of Return of the Jedi, The dark knight risesWhere Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Hell, I think it’s been in my Blu-ray player more than the first two Sponsors.
Of course, this is partly explained by the fact that the first two Sponsors are longer and better; if I’m going to watch them, I want the time to see everything. Part III may be good, but it has flaws that make it easy to get to the highlights. Some of the dialogue is weak, so weak it could almost be from an AI designed to spit Puzo-esque lines. Other bits seem contradictory (Michael sold the casinos a while ago…but he’s giving away shares of the casino sale?) There are one or two scenes (none of which are Don Altobello’s , and all were recorded Coda cut) that do nothing for the plot or the characters and just seem to exist.
But these are small potatoes. Whether The Godfather Part III has an almost fatal flaw, like Leonard Maltin once described Sofia’s performance, it is not dialogue, padding or casting. It is in the lack of clarity of the plot of the antagonists.
Ambiguity runs through the whole Godfather trilogy. The first film never shows Don Barzini struggling with the Corleone family, nor does it explain the arrangement between Barzini and the Tattaglia family. The second film does not specify what information Fredo (Jean Cazale) gave Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg) which led to the attempted hit on Michael. In neither case was clarification required. Never mind the deal struck between Barzini and Tataglia; all that matters is that they got one, it knocked Sonny (James Caan), and therefore expands the scope of Corleone’s revenge. It doesn’t matter what Fredo said to Roth; what matters is that he betrayed his brother.
The details of deals and betrayals matter more in Part III. Some characters need to know what’s going on in the third act, and I imagine the audience is supposed to understand that too. It’s not easy to do. The scheme, I think, is this: dark forces in the Italian government and organized crime, controlled by Don Lucchesi (Enzo Robuti) embezzled millions from the Vatican Bank, with the complicity of Bishop Gilday (Donnelly Donnelly). They also used the international real estate company Immobiliare to launder ill-gotten gains. To cover up the theft, Gilday accepts Michael’s offer to buy Immobiliare in return for a $600 million deposit in the Vatican Bank. When Michael clarifies that his intentions are honest, that he will not facilitate money laundering through Immobiliare, Lucchesi enlists accountant Frederick Keinszig (Helmut Berger) to block the deal, while his American ally Altobello indirectly attempts to have Michael killed.
I say that I think it is the schema, because it is never stated all at once. Individual parts are explained throughout the film, some of them quite subtly, and some of them with that poor dialogue I mentioned. Piecemeal revelations and trust in an audience’s perception are often good, but in this case, the characters who need to be aware of developments in this pattern don’t seem to get the information they need, or at least not get it. in such a clear way. registers.
The Coda cutting does not solve this. None of the publicly available images for Part III could. This is a scripting issue, and likely related to production issues. Coppola and Puzo asked for six months to turn their complex plot into a screenplay. Paramount gave them six weeks, requiring the pair to rush through a script and Coppola to frantically rewrite sections during filming. The weakest moments of The Godfather Part III present itself as, if not a first draft, then a work in progress. The first drafts of Part II have similar struggles, but this movie had the time — and Coppola had the weight — to polish them. Part III wasn’t so lucky.
But consider this: even with an under-refined script, Part III has a few more classic lines to add to the trilogy quotes collection. It contains such brilliant scenes as Michael’s diabetic attack and his confession to the future pope. It has Connie’s moral descent, Vincent’s amalgamation of the best (and worst) traits of his ancestors, a standout climax, and a harsh but fitting ending for Michael Corleone. No one is forced to like a movie, but those who seriously claim that The Godfather Part III is one of the most poorly made reconciliations of a trilogy that has not seen enough.