Monday, May 19, 2014

Gordon Willis, 1931-2014

The death has been announced of cinematographer Gordon Willis, whose career included groundbreaking work on the Godfather movies. He was a week and a half shy of his 83d birthday. Willis also handled the cinematography on several Woody Allen films, including Annie Hall, Manhattan, and Zelig, as well as the 1974 conspiracy film The Parallax View.

I have to admit that cinematography isn't an area I'd consider myself particularly knowledgeable in, only really noticing whether a movie is nice to look at or not. Some of that may have to do with the scenery -- especially in location shots -- naturally making some movies look good; other times set design can make a movie naturally look good. How much a cinematographer should get credit when a shot comes out right, or how much of the blame he should get when the shots look bad, is something I don't know that I'm competent to judge. But the people who do know say that Willis was a master. I'll admit that I never noticed anything special about the cinematography in The Parallax View or the Woody Allen movies, although certainly The Godfather does have a distinctive look. Perhaps some of Willis' non-Godfather work deserves another viewing, even if they're not particular favorite films of mine.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Purple Rose of Cairo deserves some recognition, I think.