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The Godfather Part III: More Than an Afterthought, Not Quite the End

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It sounds like a line you’d hear from Vito Corleone:  “It’s not over, til it’s over.”  When The Godfather Part III came out in 1990, sixteen years after The Godfather Part II, it felt like an afterthought. Director Francis Ford Coppola resisted doing a sequel for years and then lobbied for this one to be called The Death of Michael Corleone:  Perhaps he hoped that, after watching this final installment, fans would let the Don rest in peace.  Despite a consensus that the film wasn’t as good as the earlier Godfather films, it did well at the box office and was nominated for seven Academy Awards.  So, while Coppola might be done with the series, you can bet, Paramount will find a way to keep the family saga alive.

Mario Puzo (author of The Godfather novel that started it all) was open to continuing the series. But his death in 1999 seemingly put an end to expanding the story, at least on paper.  Flash forward to 2002: Puzo’s editor Jonathan Karp sends out an email seeking an author to pick up where Puzo left off:  “The author we choose will bring his own vision to these characters, just as Francis Ford Coppola did in the Godfather movies. Whoever inherits this series will be given the opportunity to build his or her own fictional world on the foundation created by Mario Puzo.”  The author who got the job was Mark Winegardner. The result? Two books:  The Godfather Returns (2004) and The Godfather’s Revenge (2006).  Guess who owns the rights?  Paramount.  It’s only a matter of time before the Corleone’s control the box office again.

Until then, enjoy The Godfather Part III showing tonight, Wednesday, February 20 at 9PM | 8C.  For a complete schedule of the Godfather films showing this month click here.

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