Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RIP Gerald Perry Finnerman

Gerald Perry Finnerman died on April 6, 2011. He was the primary director of photography for Star Trek and then, two decades later, Moonlighting. In between came Night Gallery, The Bold Ones, Kojak, Police Woman, and a number of TV movies (he won an Emmy for 1978's Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women).

Star Trek was Finnerman’s debut as a DP. Prior to his voyage on the Enterprise, Finnerman had been a camera operator for the legendary cinematographer Harry Stradling (Suspicion, Johnny Guitar, A Face in the Crowd, My Fair Lady), who personally recommended him to Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Finnerman had another mentor in the family: his the British-born Perry Finnerman, was also a director of photography who spent his last few years (he died in 1960) shooting episodes of Maverick, Lawman, and Adventures in Paradise.

It’s difficult to write about cinematographers without looking at the work again, but the imagery of the original Star Trek is certainly stamped on my brain. Idiots chortle over how the original Star Trek looks "dated" – they’ve even replaced the special effects with digital upgrades, which look cool but miss the point. But it’s precisely the look of Star Trek – the costume and set design, the makeup, the visual effects – that make Star Trek special, much more than the scripts or the utopian ideas of Gene Roddenberry. I love the bright colors and the strange shapes and spaces of the Star Trek world. The show’s budget meant that the Enterprise consisted of a lot of bare walls – and Finnerman wasn’t afraid to shine an orange or green or fuchsia lamp on them, for no particular reason.

Obit per Stephen Bowie

FINNERMAN, Gerald Perry
Born: 12/17/1931, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Died: 4/6/2011, Los Angeles, Caliornia, U.S.A.

Gerald Perry Finnerman's westerns -cinematographer:
The Viriginian (TV) - 1962
Barquero - 1970
Hitched (TV) - 1971
Little Moon and Jud McGraw - 1975
Go West, Young Girl (TV) - 1978
The Legend of the Golden Gun (TV) - 1979
September Gun (TV) - 1983

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