During the filming of his celebrated novel "The English Patient", Michael Ondaatje became increasingly fascinated as he watched the veteran editor Walter Murch at work. "The Conversations", which grew out of discussions between the two men, is about the craft of filmmaking and deals with every aspect of film, from the first stage of script writing ...
During the filming of his celebrated novel "The English Patient", Michael Ondaatje became increasingly fascinated as he watched the veteran editor Walter Murch at work. "The Conversations", which grew out of discussions between the two men, is about the craft of filmmaking and deals with every aspect of film, from the first stage of script writing to the final stage of the sound mix. Walter Murch emerged during the 1960s at the centre of a renaissance of American filmmakers which included the directors Francis Coppola, George Lucas and Fred Zinneman. He worked on a whole raft of great films including the three "Godfather" films, "Julia", "American Graffiti", "Apocalypse Now", "The Unbearable Lightness Of Being", and many others. Articulate, intellectual, humorous and passionate about his craft and its devices, Murch brings his vast experience and penetrating insights to bear as he explains how films are made, how they work, how they go wrong and how they can be saved. His experience on "Apocalypse Now" - both originally and more recently when the film was completely re-cut - and his work with Anthony Minghella on "The English Patient" provide illuminating highlights.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-08-12 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. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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