Saw The Godfather in the theater last week...
Cinemark, 40th anniversary of the original release. Remastered in XD digital by Coppola, original 1.85:1 ratio, big 5.1 sound.
The film itself needs no comment. I've seen it at least a dozen times, as recently as within the last year. This was probably the third time I've seen it in a theater, but I couldn't tell you when the last time was; maybe the late '70s?
The XD theater is pretty big, and it was crowded, but not full; maybe 80% of capacity. The screen is huge. We got good seats, middle with a slight downward look.
Regarding the need for remastering: the treatment of the original film negatives is one of the great travesties of modern cinema. The films have been edited and re-edited, made into a chronological version for TV, had scenes added and deleted, and have generally been treated as throwaways.
The new version is far from perfect. Some scenes fare better than others. Some of the tropes used by Coppola are the movement from light to dark, from outside to inside, from urban to rural. The restorers seemed to work at getting the dynamic range right between those contrasts, and maintaining detail in shadows and in brightness. For many scenes, the range is there at the expense of excess graininess. But much of it is fine that way, too. It depends on the condition of the particular piece of film that was being worked on. I only noticed one bad "splice", and just barely; about 10 minutes from the end, there is a minor sound glitch and a change in the graininess, it went from bad to unnoticeable.
The experience itself was rapturous. There were no previews; at 7:05 the film started. The audience sat silent and spellbound. And when it ended, with Neri shutting the door as Kay turns to the camera to speak... the audience, almost all of whom were younger than the film itself, gave a standing ovation.
If you missed this, you have a second chance to see something similar. The Godfather Part II will be shown at Cinemark theaters, same format, on Thursday April 19th. Highly recommended.