Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man' Is "Definitely A Sony Picture," Talks Role Of 'Ant-Man' In Phase 3, More Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man' Is "Definitely A Sony Picture," Talks Role Of 'Ant-Man' In Phase 3, More First Reviews For 'Terminator Genisys' Suggest Franchise Didn't Need To Say "I'll Be Back" First Reviews For 'Terminator Genisys' Suggest Franchise Didn't Need To Say "I'll Be Back" Kit Harington & Dakota Fanning Replace Robert Pattinson & Mia Wasikowska In 'Brimstone' Kit Harington & Dakota Fanning Replace Robert Pattinson & Mia Wasikowska In 'Brimstone' The Essentials: The 5 Best Colin Farrell Perfomances The Essentials: The 5 Best Colin Farrell Perfomances Review: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 1, ‘The Western Book of the Dead,' How It Differs From Season 1 & More Review: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 1, ‘The Western Book of the Dead,' How It Differs From Season 1 & More First Listen: Here's Your 'True Detective' Season 2 Theme Song & The First Episode Music Cues First Listen: Here's Your 'True Detective' Season 2 Theme Song & The First Episode Music Cues The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far 'The Leftovers' Reboots For Season 2, Switches Setting And Makes Casting Changes 'The Leftovers' Reboots For Season 2, Switches Setting And Makes Casting Changes The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

R.I.P. Cinematographer Gordon Willis (1931–2014)

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist May 19, 2014 at 8:16AM

Gordon Willis, one of cinema's most influential eyes and visual masters who defined the work of an entire generation of filmmakers, passed away over the weekend at the age of 82. But his body of work will forever inspire filmmakers.
1
Gordon Willis Woody Allen

Gordon Willis, one of cinema's most influential eyes and visual masters who defined the work of an entire generation of filmmakers, passed away over the weekend at the age of 82. But his body of work will forever inspire filmmakers.

The most remarkable thing about Willis' filmography is that it's only 37 films long. However, the highlights are utterly remarkable: Alan J. Pakula's "Klute" and "All The President's Men"; Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" trilogy; eight films with Woody Allen including "Annie Hall," "Manhattan," "Interiors" and "Zelig," and Hal Ashby's "The Landlord" are just some of the movies that will play on Willis' sizzle reel. And they all show the versatility that made the cinematographer one of the best the medium has ever seen. From the cool control of "Klute" to the shrouded, nearly majestic darkness of "The Godfather" to the beautifully black-and-white "Manhattan," Willis' greatest gift was in collaborating with the filmmakers he worked with on evoking that intangible mood for each of their pictures.

"You have to understand: I did things in visual structure that nobody in the business was doing, especially in Hollywood. I wasn't trying to be different; I just did what I liked. Don't misunderstand when I say I really had no particular DP I was aspiring to be," Willis told Splice Today in 2009. "I really fell in love with the movies as I was growing up, and I must say, I was emulating things that I saw others doing, that’s how you learn, but you soon have to push past that, and do things that you feel are right…or better."

Willis' last credit was on Pakula's 1997 film "The Devil's Own," after which, due to his failing eyesight, the cinematographer stepped away from film sets. But he couldn't have asked for a better legacy to leave behind, helping to put his creative stamp on films that not only defined an era, but American cinema as a whole. He will be missed, but his work will endure. Check out interviews, clips and more below. [Variety]

This article is related to: Gordon Willis


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates