It’s safe to say that many of cinema’s finest have been overlooked and underappreciated during their lifetime, missing out on Oscar trophies and nominations as well as critical and commercial success. One man who was certainly overlooked by the Academy was Gordon Willis, the cinematographer behind some of the most iconic films in history: “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II.”
Willis is best known for the deep blacks and rich textures he imbued in every movie he worked on, earning him the nickname “The Prince of Darkness.” In addition to his work on the ‘Godfather’ trilogy, Willis made a handful of films with Woody Allen, “All The President’s Men,” and many more over his 30-year career. Eventually, Willis was nominated for his work on Allen’s “Zelig” and “The Godfather Part III,” though he won neither — and not to mention that both were certainly nowhere near the high points of his collaborations with Allen or Francis Ford Coppola, respectively.
To help run down Willis’ incredible body of work is a new video essay from wolfcrow. “Understanding The Cinematography Of Gordon Willis” carefully highlights the delicate and masterful work that Willis produced and perfected throughout his career. The five-minute video essay also underlines Willis’ ability to modulate between such a wide variety of styles: from crime dramas to thrillers to slapstick comedies, and most everything in between.
Overall, it’s a fascinating look at the masterful work of a cinematic legend. Check out “Understanding The Cinematography Of Gordon Willis” below and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments. [One Perfect Shot]