The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film Paperback – Aug 31 2004
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Michael Ondaatje may be the only writer in the history of motion pictures to be happy with the film adaptation of his novel. During the production of that movie, The English Patient, he became friendly with the film's editor, Walter Murch. A few years later, looking to clear his head after seven years of labour on Anil's Ghost, Ondaatje embarked on a series of interviews with Murch. Murch is perhaps the best-known practitioner of an anonymous art, having been responsible for sound and/or picture editing for many of the landmark pictures of the 1970s, including the Godfather trilogy, American Graffiti, and Apocalypse Now. He's also a bit of a Renaissance man, a well-read iconoclast whom his frequent collaborator Francis Ford Coppola calls "the film world's one intellectual."
The Conversations is an appropriate title for the book (beyond its nod to one of Murch's most celebrated and personally resonant films, The Conversation), because of the friendly interplay between Ondaatje and Murch. Of the recent odd-couple film interview books (Cameron Crowe and Billy Wilder, Steven Soderbergh and Richard Lester), theirs is the most natural and comfortable pairing. Ondaatje's genial, sophisticated curiosity matches Murch's, and their discussions range from broad theories of art to the vital minutiae of their own work, such as Murch's search for a recording of "The Ride of the Valkyries" whose brassiness could match the acid blue of the ocean in Apocalypse Now's now-legendary helicopter invasion scene. In its solitary orchestration of narrative, Ondaatje argues, editing is "the stage of filmmaking closest to the art of writing," and the discussions in The Conversations will appeal to anyone interested in art, writing, or film. But Murch is first and foremost a sound technician, and after hearing him talk about his work, you'll never listen to a movie in the same way again. --Tom Nissley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Ask most moviegoers, "Who is Walter Murch?" and they're likely to stare uncomprehendingly. Ondaatje (The English Patient) seeks to eradicate that ignorance by providing an expert analysis of Murch's consummate film editing skills, and pointing out along the way the monumental contributions editors make to motion pictures. Murch, a three time Oscar winner and integral collaborator on such cinematic milestones as The Godfather, Julia, The English Patient and American Graffiti, attended the University of Southern California with George Lucas and bonded early on with UCLA film student Francis Ford Coppola. A relative neophyte, he worked on Coppola's The Rain People and a low-budget sci-fi picture, THX 1138, which has since become a cult classic. Murch adhered to a rule of not watching other movies while concentrating on a project of his own, calling himself a "queen bee who gets impregnated once and can lay millions of eggs afterwards." Through his eyes, and Ondaatje's remarkably insightful questions and comments, readers see how intricate the process is, and understand Murch when he says, "The editor is the only one who has time to deal with the whole jigsaw. The director simply doesn't." He also offers insightful thoughts on Orson Welles, Marlon Brando and Fred Zinnemann. Although Murch claims the actors on his films rarely know who he is, this excellent, eye-opening book done in a question-and-answer format will make readers glad Ondaatje has shown them the significant role he plays behind the scenes. Photos.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Michael Ondaatje asks smart questions to Murch and offers interesting comparisons between literature and film. Yet I found him continually plugging and referring to his own work over and over - c'mon man we KNOW you wrote the English patient - I couldn't care less - it's no Godfather... ;)