In Memoriam: Enzo Martinelli

By Anonymous | American Cinematographer, April 1997 | Go to article overview

In Memoriam: Enzo Martinelli


Anonymous, American Cinematographer


Enzo Martinelli, ASC, a veteran of more than 60 years in motion picture and television cinematography, died on February 5,1997, in Jackson, Tennessee. He was 89.

Born in Union City, New Jersey on September 13, 1907, Martinelli became interested in photography as a child. His uncle, Arthur Martinelli, allowed him access to his equipment and darkroom. Enzo's parents died when he was 12, so his uncle assumed guardianship of the young lad and took him to California. He attended a military academy, as well as CalTech, and then landed a job in the lab at Paramount, where his uncle had become a cinematographer. In 1927, Enzo was transferred to the camera department, where he became an assistant to Victor Milner, ASC on Street of Sin. For two years he served under most of the cinematographers then employed by the studio. Ironically, he would work with his uncle only once: in 1932 on the classic chiller White Zombie.

In 1929, Martinelli joined Fred Jackman, ASC in the Warner Bros, special effects department. In 1936, he joined Columbia's visual effects department, where he executed process, miniature and insert photography. He also was an assistant to several directors of photography, including Joseph Walker, ASC on Lost Horizon. He joined Republic in 1942 as an operating cameraman, working with Bud Thackery, ASC, John MacBurnie and the Lydecker brothers in both the special effects department and on production cinematography. He later operated for both Jack Russell and Jack Marta.

Martinelli was still at Republic when it became Revue TV and the burgeoning company moved to Universal. While there, he operated mostly for Benjamin Kline, ASC and Walter Strenge, ASC. In 1966, he was promoted to director of photography on one of the early feature-length series, The Virginian, for which he photographed 103 episodes from 1966 to 1970. Martinelli then moved on to another feature series, The Name of the Game, followed by Man of the City. …

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