5.9.1926 - 18.10.2005
DENNIS BARTLETT BSC GBCT
Dennis joined Technicolor Camera department in October 1942* and for 6 months worked in the Process studio with Ray Parslow animating model aircraft singly or in formation and plotted sky back-grounds to match, to be used in training of anti-aircraft gunners. The system was called Bisley Dome Trainer.
*[Because of the complexity and delicacy of the 3-strip colour cameras, Technicolor employed its own camera staff.]
He later graduated to clapper boy on, “This Happy Breed (1944 Directed by David Lean and photographed by Ronald Neame BSC), Henry V (1944 Directed by Laurence Olivier and photographed by Robert Krasker BSC), Blithe Spirit (1945 Directed by David Lean, photographed by Ronald Neame BSC) and Caesar and Cleopatra (1945 Directed by Gabriel Pascal, photographed by Freddie Young OBE BSC, Robert Krasker BSC, Jack Hildyard BSC and Jack Cardiff BSC).
He joined the Army on 13th Mar 1945, and was demobbed 15th Mar 1948, training as a projectionist in Army Kinematograph Society on l6mm and twin 35mm projectors and later became stills photographer at an ordnance depot covering special parades and inspections, new equipment, and civil service functions.
In 1948 he was back at Technicolor as clapper boy on Bonnie Prince Charlie (Directed by Anthony Kimmins, photographed by Robert Krasker BSC) and The Blue Lagoon (Directed by Frank Launder, photographed by Geoffrey Unsworth BSC), then as focus on 3rd unit for Quo Vadis? (Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, photographed by William H. Skall and Robert Surtees), 2nd unit on, The Crimson Pirate (Directed by Robert Siodmak, photographed by Otto Heller BSC) and The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953 Directed by Charles Crichton, photographed by Doulas Slocombe BSC). 1st unit on Festival of Britain, Raising a Riot, They Who Dare, Geordie and in Italy on Attilla and the first part of War and Peace.
Shot the first CinemaScope titles, and extremely difficult main and end titles for Moby Dick (1956 Directed by John Huston) for cinematographer, Ossie Morris to look at and re-light the paintings for backgrounds to the special colour saturation of the film.
Went to Paris on Funny Face (1957 Directed by Stanley Donen, photographed by Ray June) as focus puller, returned to England after three weeks to start a new chapter in his life working in the Travelling Matte* department of the Rank Organisation at Pinewood Studios in June 1956 supervising shoots using special beam—splitter cameras (usually the old 3-strip Technicolor cameras) and lighting. On films such as: Tiger in the Smoke, Admirable Crighton, Sherriff of Fractured Jaw, A Night to Remember, Sink the Bismark, and TV series The Saint, The Persuaders and Avengers as well as Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove, Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad Films, Gullivers Travels, Golden Fleece, The Eye of the Tiger, The Golden Voyage and Clash of the Titans, Fathom, N W Frontier, War Lovers and Summer Holiday.
*[Travelling Matte: a photographic process to enable one piece of film with a moving subject to be superimposed over another piece of film to create the illusion, say of an actor in a part of the world he didn't visit. For instance, on board a boat.]
Dennis became an expert in his field and while at Pinewood he worked on many high profile films supervising effects work such as: Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, Battle of the Bulge, Aces High, Saturn 3, Condor Man, and Outland. As well as shooting 2nd Units and model work.
At the end of July 1977 Rank closed the Travelling Matte department and Dennis went freelance on films such as: Superman 1,2 & 3, Dragon Slayer, The Never Ending Story 1, Supergirl, Santa Claus, Enemy Mine, Conan, Batman, Sheena – Queen of the Desert, Emerald Forest, Out of Africa, Laybrinth, Empire of the Sun, and Memphis Belle and was involved in many complicated commercials.
In between times, he wrote dissertations on the problems of anamorphic lens design, types of blue screen and film stocks.
He retired in 1992.
Dennis Bartlett/edit Phil Méheux