History Piece

 
The Making of Power and the Land (1939-1940)


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Ornitz was never affiliated with a studio or a production company. He worked as a free-lance Director of Photography throughout his entire career with the exception of a short term contract with Screen Gems, A complete filmography of Ornitz's films can be found on www.IMDb.com

Ornitz was fearless and did not suffer fools gladly. The stories about how demanding he could be are still repeated by those who knew him. He was very independent and one of a kind. He is remembered by everyone with whom he worked. At a recent memorial service held at the Academy Theatre for Richard Silbert, Dustin Hoffman remembered Ornitz as the Director of Photography on Hoffman's first film, Next Stop Greenwich Village. It is not every Director of Photography who is remembered 40 years later by an actor.

During the filming of Me Natalie with Patty Duke, when the director found fault with Patty's acting. Ornitz told her to assert herself because she was the star. "Oh no," Patty said, "I'm not the star of this movie, Arthur, you are."

Ornitz made his presence felt no matter where he was or with whom he worked or what he was doing. He was a strong personality, a man's man who liked to spend hours with people he found interesting like Peter Sellers or Sean Connery, films he worked on with both men. His nickname for Peter Sellers was "the Hawk". Ornitz died of cancer in 1985.

His surviving son, Kim Harris Ornitz, a sound mixer, is a third generation Ornitz to be affiliated with the film industry. Kim's latest film is After the Sunset with Pierce Brosnan. He is now working on a film in Delhi, India with Albert Brooks.

                                                                        Hilda Wane Ornitz, Ph.D.

N.B.
Hilda Wane Ornitz earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1970 from CUNY. She was an Assistant Professor at New York University Medical Center and worked at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital for ten years following which she was recruited for a position as chief of a mental health center by the Department of Health in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is now retired and lives in Los Angeles, California.


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