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Gordon Willis In Memoriam: Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, More Remember Oscar-Nominated DP

By and | Monday May 19, 2014 @ 3:53pm PDT

gordon_willisInfluential The Godfather and Annie Hall cinematographer Gordon Willis died Sunday at the age of 82, leaving behind a legacy that includes many of the most celebrated American films of the 1970s. He contributed some of his most iconic work in collaboration with two of the greats – Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen – who remembered their frequent DP today:

Related: R.I.P. ‘The Godfather’ DP Gordon Willis

Godfather - Gordon WillisSaid Francis Ford Coppola, for whom Willis crafted a landmark cinematographic aesthetic for The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and The Godfather Part III that influenced generations to follow: “He was a brilliant, irascible man, a one of a kind. A cinematic genius with a precise aesthetic. My favorite description was that ‘He ice-skated on the film emulsion’. I learned a lot from him.”

Manhattan Gordon WillisWillis also shot a number of films for frequent collaborator Woody Allen, including Manhattan, Annie Hall, Stardust Memories, Broadway Danny Rose, and The Purple Rose Of Cairo. He earned the first of his two Oscar nods for his work on Allen’s Zelig. “Gordy was a huge talent and one of the few people who truly lived up to all the hype about him,” Woody Allen said of his late DP. Read More »

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Paramount & Puzo Estate Settle ‘Godfather’ Suit

By | Friday December 21, 2012 @ 1:12pm PST

The war is over. Paramount Pictures and the estate of The Godfather author Mario Puzo have reached a settlement in their legal battle over new books and movies based on the Mafia classic. On Thursday, lawyers for both sides submitted a brief joint stipulation (read it here) to the U.S. District Court in New York asking for all claims to be dismissed. “This stipulation of dismissal with prejudice is pursuant to a settlement agreement among Paramount and Puzo and is not an adjudication on the merits of the claims or defenses of either party,” the stipulation said. No details of the settlement were made public.

This week’s deal comes after Judge Alison Nathan ruled on September 26 that Paramount, which released the original Godfather film in 1972 and its subsequent sequels, can make more movies about the Corleone clan if it still wants to. This legal war started in February when Paramount sued the Puzo estate to stop the publication of an “unauthorized” third Godfather sequel/prequel. In its suit, the studio claimed the book blemished the legacy of the films. In March, the estate countersued, claiming that the contract between Puzo and Paramount distinctly excluded book rights. The countersuit claimed that Paramount is in material breach of its contract with Mario Puzo. The two sides reached an agreement in May to allow the publication of new The Read More »

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Paramount Handed Victory For Future ‘Godfather’ Films By Court; Puzo Estate’s Breach Of Contract Claim Still Alive

By | Friday September 28, 2012 @ 7:36am PDT

The contract that the studio made with author Mario Puzo over The Godfather movies can’t be torn up by his estate, a New York judge ruled (read it here) Wednesday. That means Paramount, who released the original Godfather film in 1972 and its subsequent sequels, can make more movies about the Corleone clan if it wants to. However, that doesn’t mean this legal battle is over. “Not immediately before the Court in the instant motion -and therefore not decided in this opinion -is the underlying question of whether the Estate or Paramount owns the book publishing rights to any sequels to The Godfather. The Court denies Paramount’s motion to the dismiss (sic) the Estate’s breach of contract counterclaim,” wrote Judge Alison Nathan.

In February of this year Paramount sued the Puzo estate to stop the publication of an “unauthorized” third Godfather sequel/prequel. In its suit, the studio claimed the book blemished the legacy of the films. In March, the estate countersued, claiming that the contract between Puzo and Paramount distinctly excluded book rights. The countersuit claimed that Paramount is in material breach of its contract with Mario Puzo. The two sides came to a deal in May to allow the publication of new The Family Corleone while the case went on. After Wednesday’s order by the judge, the next stage in the standoff between the studio and the Puzo heirs is a status conference hearing for early January next year.  G. … Read More »

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Paramount And Hasbro Introduce A Monopoly Game Based On ‘The Godfather’

By | Thursday June 14, 2012 @ 8:31am PDT

Is this an offer you can’t refuse? Just remember: You don’t have to wipe everybody out. Just your enemies.

CARLSBAD, Calif., June 14, 2012 — It’s not personal, it’s business as you systematically eliminate your opponents to reign supreme in this classic MONOPOLY game with a Godfather twist. Produced by USAOPOLY, under license from Hasbro and Paramount Licensing, this collector’s game celebrates the 40th anniversary of the release of one of the most seminal films of our time.

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‘Godfather’ Prequel Deal Made: Paramount And Puzo Estate Tell NYC Court Today

By | Friday May 11, 2012 @ 7:39pm PDT

Paramount and the estate of Mario Puzo announced in a NYC court today that they’ve made a deal to allow a new Godfather prequel. Its profits will be put in escrow while they fight over who owns the publishing rights for a book that’s already out. The Depression-era The Family Corleone hit bookstores and online retailers on Tuesday. A source tells Deadline the son of Godfather author Mario Puzo agreed to the escrow arrangement “several weeks ago”. Anthony Puzo made the decision so Paramount wouldn’t prevent the book from coming out. It’s written by Ed Falco and “based on a screenplay by Mario Puzo” it says on the cover. Things could get more complicated if, as Paramount’s lawyer Richard Kendall noted today in Manhattan court, the book does well and “there’s an attraction to do a movie.”

In February, Paramount sued the Puzo estate to stop the publication of an “unauthorized” third Godfather sequel/prequel. The studio claimed the book tarnished the legacy of the studio’s films. In March, the Puzo estate countersued, claiming that the contract between Mario and the studio distinctly excluded book rights. The countersuit also claims that Paramount is in material breach of its contract with Mario Puzo. “We’re seeking cancellation of the contract,” Puzo lawyer Bert Fields reiterated to the judge today. Both lawyers have agreed to mediation to try to settle the matter. Judge Nathan said she may hold … Read More »

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‘The Godfather’ Author Mario Puzo’s Lawyer Ready To Go To Mattresses Over Ownership Of Mob Classic

By | Tuesday March 13, 2012 @ 3:08pm PDT
Mike Fleming

The Godfather Lawsuit Mario Puzo

UPDATE: Paramount has responded to the charges leveled by the estate of The Godfather author Mario Puzo. Said a spokesperson: “Paramount has tremendous respect and admiration for Mario Puzo and his legacy. We are only seeking to adhere to the terms of the deal that were agreed upon by Mr. Puzo himself.”

EXCLUSIVE: The Estate of Mario Puzo has fired back in answering and filing a counterclaim that refuted the suit Paramount Pictures filed last month to stop the author’s son from publishing a new sequel novel to his father’s classic Mafia saga of the Corleone clan. Attorney Bert Fields is seeking to refute the studio’s claim that it controls book rights to The Godfather and will try to terminate the studio’s rights for material breach of its contract with Puzo. Anthony Puzo is executor of his father’s estate. To hear Puzo’s attorney tell it, Paramount might have thought it made a smart move, but it was Fredo-smart, because now they are going to the mattresses. “Mario Puzo brought vast wealth to Paramount at a time when they desperately needed it,” said Fields. “Now that he’s gone, Paramount’s trying to deprive his children of the rights he specifically reserved. I promised Mario I’d protect his kids from this kind of reprehensible conduct. Paramount wanted a war, and they’re going to get one — only the stakes will be much higher than they thought.”

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Paramount Sues Over New ‘Godfather’ Novel From Mario Puzo’s Estate

By | Tuesday February 21, 2012 @ 2:23pm PST

Paramount says the son of The Godfather author Mario Puzo is tarnishing the legacy of the studio’s films by attempting to publish a new sequel to the original novel. So it’s suing the Puzo estate in U.S. District Court in New York to stop publication of The Family Corleone later this year. The complaint filed late last week says Paramount bought the copyright of Puzo’s novel in 1969 and allowed Random House to publish a sequel, The Godfather Returns, in 1994. The studio said a second sequel, The Godfather’s Revenge, was published in 2006 without Paramount’s approval, and “far from properly honoring the legacy of The Godfather, the unauthorized The Godfather’s Revenge tarnished, and in the process, also misled consumers into believing that The Godfather’s Revenge was authorized by Paramount,” the complaint reads. The studio is also seeking damages saying the estate is infringing on copyright and trademarks — like those famous puppet strings — by using them to promote the new book. The original 1972 Godfather film won three Oscars and was co-written by Puzo.

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