Due to exhibition and distribution, titles attempt to be marketable. The Death of Michael Corleone was altered in 1990, when Paramount Pictures decided to change the name to The Godfather Part III. One can be cognizant, and conscious of, a major movie studio obliging a film director on altering the title of his picture – even if that director is the great Francis Ford Coppola (The Conversation, 1973).
It’s irrational to improperly suggest that the third installment is tainted; the film was never intended to be perceived as part of a trilogy. To suggest this notion would be to disregard Francis’ original moniker for the film; a grave description, nonetheless. The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974) are an epic saga – separate from Part III. Imagine viewing the one-sheet in ’89 and ‘90, simultaneously exposed to the thought of an upcoming Godfather film at the cinema, while also learning of Michael’s grave demise. Since we’ve felt a brief moment of overwhelming distress with the death of Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro) we must accept the inevitable fate of Michael going into the film, as we witness his attempt at cleaning his family of crime, while searching for an appropriate successor to his empire with his nephew, Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia).
Things have come full circle as Paramount is releasing an all-new director’s cut, with a 4K transfer onto Ultra High-Def Blu-ray from the original negative. Francis has included a new opening sequence with a never-before-seen ending. The official title of the film is Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (2020). “I have given it, what really isn’t a new title, but, rather, the original title.” Francis Coppola said. “Many scenes have been re-positioned.” The picture is presented by the name of Mario Puzo – the author of The Godfather – in addition to introducing the word: coda; a concluding event, especially to a pas de deux; the last dance between a man and woman; or in musical terms – an epilogue.
Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone will premiere in December, 2020 with a limited theatrical release. There’s nothing stopping the masses from experiencing this film in a home theater; bad ass sound bar and subwoofer that provides an extra punch, behind a reclining couch with a Marlon Brando in a rocks glass. It’s time to experience the film the way it was originally intended; a standalone film; not attached or detached to or from anything else.