This Cinematographer Changed the Look of Movies When He Filmed ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Manhattan.’ Gordon Willis Dies at Age 82

May 20, 2014  •  Post A Comment

"Influential cinematographer Gordon Willis, 82, whose photography for Francis Ford Coppola’s 'The Godfather' series and Woody Allen’s 'Annie Hall' and 'Manhattan' helped define the look of 1970s cinema, died of cancer Sunday [May 18, 2014] in Falmouth, Mass.," reports Variety.

The article adds: "Willis was known as the Prince of Darkness for his artful use of shadows, and served as cinematographer or director of photography on seminal 1970s films including  Alan J. Pakula’s 'Klute,' 'The Parallax View' and 'All the President’s Men' and James Bridges’ 'The Paper Chase.'

"For years, cinephiles were shocked that he wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar for his unique approach. Two nominations finally came, in 1983 for ''Zelig' and 1990 for 'The Godfather, Part III.'" Willis lost both times. Finally, he "received an honorary Academy Award in 2009 at the first Governor’s Awards ceremony for his 'unsurpassed mastery of light, shadow, color and motion.' He had stopped photographing movies in 1997.

According to Variety's sibling publication, Deadline.com, Willis' death " 'is a momentous loss,' confirmed American Society of Cinematographers President Richard Crudo late Sunday night. 'He was one of the giants who absolutely changed the way movies looked. Up until the time of "The Godfather" 1 and 2, nothing previously shot looked that way. He changed the way films looked and the way people looked at films.'”

Gordon Willis' opening sequence of Woody Allen's 1979 movie "Manhattan":

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