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Circuit 3: Cinematography

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With the passing of iconic cinematographer Gordon Willis this past Sunday, I felt it would be nice to dedicate this week’s Circuit 3 to the craft of cinematography in his honor. Willis, who will probably be best remembered for his distinctive use of shadows and light on Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy, was as skilled behind the camera as anyone has ever been, with films like Manhattan, Annie Hall, All the President’s Men, and Klute to his credit. While he was nominated for the Oscar twice (Zelig, 1984; The Godfather Part III, 1990), he would only win the well-deserved Honorary Oscar for his “unsurpassed mastery of light, shadows, color, and motion” in 2010. Willis passed at the age of 82.

So it is pretty simple this week. We are basically ranking the three most beautifully shot films of all time. So whether a single shot decides whether you rank the film in your Circuit 3, or whether you look at the entire film when deciding how to measure it up against its competition, let us know what you think the very best achievements in cinematography are below.

My Circuit 3 for Cinematography:

  1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – Cinematography by Freddie Young; Directed by David Lean
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth; Directed by Stanley Kubrick
  3. The Third Man (1949) – Cinematography by Robert Krasker; Directed by Carol Reed

What do you think are the three best achievements in Cinematography?

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Written by Mark Johnson

Lover of all things film and Oscar. Fantasy sports’ equivalent of George Steinbrenner. Your very own Han Solo, making friends all over the movie-loving galaxy in spite of himself. When he’s not ranking just about everything or dominating boardgames, Mark is breaking down the Oscar race 24/7 with Rain Man-like stats and knowledge. In his downtime, you can find him commiserating with other Northeast Ohio sports fans because a hero isn’t complete without a little heartbreak. If Game of Thrones, Lost, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Survivor are your style, then congratulations, you have something in common with this inglourious basterd.

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