The original DVD box set, released by Paramount in 2001, was a huge disappointment. Dark scenes were murky, bright scenes were washed out, and several shots were marred by the video equivalent of pops, ticks, and static. For instance, in Part II's opening close-up of Al Pacino standing in his darkened office, it looked as though mosquitoes were swarming down his face. Paramount's executives were loath to admit it at the time, but the problem was that the original negatives for both films were in terrible condition, the result of studio neglect and technical mishaps in an era before film preservation became a concern, then a cause.
Coppola had already won on Oscar for co-writing the screenplay for Patton (1970), and he won Best Director Oscars for both Godfather films. He would receive 14 total nominations over the next 25 years.
Michael: I'm working for my father now. He's been sick, very sick.But of course, Michael's efforts to become "legitimate" prove impossible, and Kay realizes that in the final shot of the the first film. Michael's sister Connie (played by Talia Shire) accuses him of arranging the murder of her husband, which he cooly denies. As viewers, we know that Connie suspicions are right on the money. Kay asks him about this, and he repeats his denial, and for a moment, we see her relief. But a moment later, Michael's new caporegimes enter to pay their respects, and as they close the door, Kay realizes the truth about what her husband has become.
Kay: But you're not like him, Michael. I thought you weren't going to become a man like your father. That's what you told me.
Michael: My father's no different than any other powerful man, [Kay laughs] any man who's responsible for other people. Like a senator or a president.
Kay: You know how naive you sound?
Kay: Senators and presidents don't have men killed.
Michael: Oh, who's being naive, Kay? Kay, my father's way of doing things is over, it's finished. Even he knows that. I mean in five years, the Corleone Family is going to be completely legitimate. Trust me.
But eventually Kay has enough, and can no longer stand by and support Michael in a life that she can't defend. She tries to take the children and leave, but Michael stops her. He can't see that she's fed up with the lies, the hypcorisy, and the descent into immorality. He thinks she's simply upset because she'd recently suffered a miscarriage.
Kay: Oh, Michael. Michael, you are blind. It wasn't a miscarriage. It was an abortion. An abortion, Michael. Just like our marriage is an abortion. Something that's unholy and evil. I didn't want your son, Michael! I wouldn't bring another one of you sons into this world! It was an abortion, Michael! It was a son Michael! A son! And I had it killed because this must all end! I know now that it's over. I knew it then. There would be no way, Michael... no way you could ever forgive me, not with this Sicilian thing that's been going on for 2,000 years.
Connie: Michael! You lousy bastard -- you killed my husband! You waited until Papa died so nobody could stop you, and then you killed him. You blamed him for Sonny -- you always did. Everybody did. But you never thought about me -- you never gave a damn about me. Now what am I going to do?
Kay: (puts her arms around Connie, trying to comfort her) Connie...
Connie: Why do you think he kept Carlo at the Mall? All the time he knew he was gonna kill him. (then, to Michael) And you stood Godfather to our baby -- you lousy cold-hearted bastard. Want to know how many men he had killed with Carlo? Read the papers -- read the papers! (she picks up and slams down a newspaper) That's your husband! That's your husband!
She's right, of course but Michael dismisses her, He tells the others in the room that she's hysterical, that they should take her upstairs and get her a doctor.
At the beginning of the second film, we learn that Connie's rage over her husband's murder has caused her to abandon her family completely. She has drifted through a series of marriages and engagements, and seems to have abandoned her children. But after the death of her mother, she straightens up, and seizes the opportunity to become the new matriarch of the family. At the funeral she tells him:
Connie: Michael, I hated you for so many years. I think that I did things to myself, to hurt myself so that you'd know - that I could hurt you. You were just being strong for all of us the way Papa was. And I forgive you. ... You need me, Michael. I want to take care of you now."In his review of the film, Roger Ebert wrote: "There is little room for women in The Godfather." I don't think that's the right way to look at the movie at all. The women are the key to the story arc, serving as the barometers for a man who is otherwise without limits or boundaries. Because they can not be tempted by the lure of power, they can stand back and look at what unfolds objectively. There may be no role for women in the Godfather's world, but they play a pivotal role in this film.