Sunday, July 19, 2009

Last Book Read: Ralph Rosenblum

Sure, I've been away from the blog. It's true. I've been busy, sick, swamped and just plain away. And it's been quite a while. Now I'm back.

Usually, when I read, I try to do so in big chunks. I'd rather experience a book, live with it, rather than just chip away at it. That hasn't been possible, lately, though, so my reading has consisted of 10 minutes here, 5 minutes there, between and around tasks. Still, eventually you get to the end.

I've just finished Ralph Rosenblum's When The Shooting Stops ... The Cutting Begins: A Film Editor's Story.

I'm adding it to my fall curriculum -- I'll be teaching a basic editing class -- so I thought I'd re-read it. It's really a delight. As a person's life story, it's a sharply-told account that details Rosenblum's career as one of the most significant editors of his time. From the standpoint of editing, a few highlights not to miss:

  • his invention of flashback techniques in "The Pawnbroker"
  • his nightmares working with first-time directors -- and their egos
  • his account of the changing conception of what an editor does
  • his collaboration with Woody Allen, remaking the films in the edit
Best of all, at least from the viewpoint of my students: it's a theory-free glimpse over a feature editor's shoulder, letting you spend time in the cutting room of one of the pioneers of contemporary editing. A great read.

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