World War II interrupted Ornitz's
career. In the Signal Corps, he was first stationed, together
with many other Hollywood film people at the film studios
at Astoria, Queens, Long Island. Later he was sent to the
ETO (European Theatre of Operations). Returning to New York
after the war, Ornitz formed a partnership with Richard
Banks, who had been attached to the OWI during the war,
working with Garson Kanin in England and France. Ornitz
and Banks returned to France in 1946 to try to break into
the French film industry.
Ornitz continued to live and work in Europe
until 1951. In 1948 he married Hilda Wane, an American living
in Paris who had come to Europe with the American Red Cross.
After she resigned from the Red Cross, she remained in Paris
and worked with the American Joint Distribution Committee.
Ornitz and his wife went to Brussels in 1948 where Ornitz
collaborated on a full length documentary with Henri Storck,
a noted Belgian film director. The film they made became
the inspiration for the French film, Les 400 Coups,
which launched Trauffault's film career.
1949, Ornitz was invited to join the Nordisk Film
Company. He and his wife left Paris and moved to
Denmark. His first film for Nordisk was made on
location in Jutland, on the coast of the North Sea,
in a small village called Blokhus. It was directed
by Astrid Henning-Jensen, a well-known woman film
director in Denmark. Years later, the Disney Company
bought this film, which was cut up into ten minute
segments and shown as a continuing serial each day
on the Mickey Mouse Club Musketeers television program.
Ornitz worked on several feature
films in Denmark and Norway until 1951 when he returned
to the United States. Although he later made films
in Europe and other countries for the rest of his
life, as a member of IATSE, Local 644, his base
of operations from 1951 was New York City.
The script written by Paddy Chayefsky that
launched Ornitz's career as a Director of Photography in
the United States was The Goddess, with Kim Stanley
and Stephen Hill. Other films followed. Although too numerous
to mention, some which are still considered classics today
are Serpico, Requiem for a Heavyweight, The World of
Henry Orient and An Unmarried Woman.