Lisa and I have always loved the Godfather series of films. It's Shakespearean in its characters and has all the same pathos, murder, mayhem, family jealousies and political posturing as the old I Claudius series about Roman Emperors on BBC and PBS years ago. But one thing had always bothered me... the out of sync chronological order of the plot line between Godfather and Godfather Part II. We don't get to know how young Vito dealt with his early life until Godfather II.
Back in 1977, NBC aired a 4 night mini-series called The Godfather Saga that addressed this problem.... putting the scenes in chronological order. The film starts with young Vito as a boy in Sicily in 1902 and moves the story along seamlessly until 1959. I loved that series but was never able to find it on videotape or disc.
Well, HBO has done something very special in offering The Godfather Epic, a 7 hour version which combines Godfather and Godfather Part II--chronologically. As a bonus, there also "additional material" included in this release. I can't wait.
I've already kicked my HD Tivo unit into gear to record the show, with its second airing on normal HBO channels this weekend, but both HBO Go and HBO Now are making a new streaming offer (press releases are saying it's an "offer you can't refuse", but I won't go there.)
The Epic has already aired on HBO on Jan. 17, but is being shown again on Saturday, January 23rd at 9pm on HBO. Now, I'm not sure if it's the original version aired on NBC years ago, but on Friday night, January 29th at 9pm, HBOZ is showing The Godfather Saga. Since a 7 hour HD recording takes up a lot of hard drive space on my Tivo unit, I'll only record the Epic version. I wonder if they are much different anyway. Supposedly, Epic is remastered and re-edited with those additional scenes so perhaps the Saga is really the older, 1977 version. In my opinion, either one is a better way to watch the Godfather story told in both films.
So, here's my challenge: Set aside 424 minutes this Saturday night (or Friday, if you're Saga-inclined) and see if you can make it all the way through the showing in one sitting. I have a feeling that many of you have honed your tolerance by binge watching multiple episodes of your favorite streaming shows anyway...
Afterwards, let us know what you thought about it!
--Jerry (Sleeps with the Dishes) Finzi
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