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It’s hardly controversial to say that The Godfather movies are treasured film classics… or at least, the first two are. 1990’s The Godfather Part III, on the other hand, was met with mixed critical reception upon its initial release, and while it did later earn seven Academy Award nominations, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who finds it measures up to its predecessors. However, the director’s cut of The Godfather Part III arriving soon may fare differently, and it already has a fan in Diane Keaton, known in the Godfather world for playing Kay Adams-Corleone.
It was announced earlier this year that director Francis Ford Coppola returned to the editing bay to piece together a new version of The Godfather Part III, which is officially titled Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. Coppola invited some of the stars of the threequel to watch this new take on its events, including Diane Keaton, Al Pacino, Talia Shire and George Hamilton. Here’s the praise Keaton recently heaped upon the director’s cut:
It was one of the best moments of my life to watch it. To me it was a dream come true. I saw the movie in a completely different light. When I saw it way back, it was like ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ It didn’t seem to do that well and the reviews weren’t great. But Francis restructured the beginning and the end and man, I’m telling you it worked.
Diane Keaton clarified later in her interview with Variety that she was indeed among those who “didn’t appreciate” the original version of The Godfather Part III. That said, she’s certain that people’s opinions about the movie will change once they see the director’s cut. The actress, who’s also well-known for movies like Annie Hall and Something’s Gotta Give, noted that seeing Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone not only reminded her of the fun she had filming the threequel, but was also one of the few times where she didn’t mind watching herself on-screen.
One particular element of The Godfather Part III that Diane Keaton thinks has been significantly improved in the director’s cut is Sofia Coppola’s role as Mary Corleone. Coppola (who nowadays is chiefly known for her film work behind the cameras) stepped in at the last minute to replace Winona Ryder, and her performance was among The Godfather Part III’s most criticized elements. Keaton argued that the director’s cut gives Coppola more of a chance to shine, saying:
That’s not going to happen anymore. She’s what a daughter would be like if you had this guy as your dad, the head of a criminal organization. She was not so sure of herself and is kind of quiet. Kind of haunted. I thought she was fantastic.
Among the changes Francis Ford Coppola made for The Godfather Part III’s director’s cut include shuffling some scenes around, altering some music cues and tacking on a new beginning and end. Although there was once talk about making The Godfather Part IV, it doesn’t look like such a project will ever happen. So if you’re one of those people who was disappointed with how The Godfather Part III wrapped up the crime saga centered on Michael Corleone, perhaps this new telling of its events will be more to your liking.