Bullitt's dynamic editing, highlighted by its twisting, squealing, hill-leaping chase sequence that leaves viewers whooping and woozy, earned a 1968 Best Film Editing Oscar and helped make the film an action classic. How d... more »o film editors work this kind of magic? This fascinating program lets you in on the secrets. "What makes a movie a movie is the editing," says Zach Staenberg, Academy Award-winning* editor of the Matrix trilogy. Closeups, flashbacks, parallel action, slow motion, juxtaposition of images - these are just a few tools that make clips from Birth of a Nation to Pulp Fiction, The Battleship Potemkin to Gladiator indelible. Narrated by Kathy Bates and with interviews of a who's who of contemporary directors and editors, The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing is, shot for shot and frame after frame, reel magic.« less
Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D. | Northville, MI USA | 09/20/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a filmmaker, university film instructor, and author/writer of film topics. I was excited to hear about this DVD because, to quote it's own blurb "this fascinating program lets you in on the secrets..." of film editing I had presumed. I expected an educational presentation that would dissect the cuts and the tricks, and show the development of a scene from the multiple takes and camera angles, and how an editor selects, massages, and makes it come together visually and aurally. There is a little of that... maybe 10%. The rest of it is talking heads about the "secrets" and the pontificating by directors and editors about how amazing they both are. Good Grief! Save me the self-aggrandizement. I think you've heard the adage: "Don't tell me, show me." There is far too much talking head about what is done, but there are no examples of scenes "in process" but only the final cut. The examples are only referential. Very disappointing. And Tarantino's gushing and hugging his editor has nothing to do with how editing works. This is a blatant ACE promotional piece masking as a documentary. Especially disappointing was the Sharon Stone crotch shots from Basic Instinct that destroys the DVD for high schools and makes it inappropriate for most other audiences. Even the director admits that the inclusion of these shots was NOT at the editor's discretion, but was his intent all along, no doubt to get at the audience's "basic instincts." The shots have everything to do with the story... but little to do with a secret of editing... more to do with the secrets and tricks of marketing. I had hoped to use this in my classes, but I cannot. I am returning the two I ordered. Can't use 'em."
This is a fascinating documentary
Paul McElligott | Lake Forest, CA | 08/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"if you are interested in the art of film. Note that this is the same documentary that was included as an extra in the recent DVD of Steve McQueen's "Bullitt" so if you already have that DVD, you don't need this. Of course, if you want to spend a few extra bucks, you can get this some documentary and a kick butt Steve McQueen movie to go with it."
Nice intro to editing
Bob Costa | FL United States | 10/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's NOT a technician's viewpoint of how to edit. It IS a great overview of the history of editing style and film. If you have never looked took film history classes, this may be the best intro to the art of editing I have seen. It is interesting for non-editors and editors alike. I watched the cable version several times, learning new things each time. It was especially interesting to see how and when editing broke the rules and forged new styles. It has made me much more connected with the art of my craft. WHhen I watch old movies now, I can place them in the correct "editing era" easily. I am now ordering the DVD since it supposedly has some extra material not covered in the broadcast version, and since it has already proven to be a good review for watching multiple times. The material on the relationships between director and editor are also very interesting to me. I would say that things I learned in this one video have improved my editing style by double."
Not enough Technique!
KayCee | 04/26/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is a nice overview of editing history but the time spent with the talking heads (especially the "I love editing/editors" segments) could have been put to better use showing more sequences of editing choices and how the final selection was made to what effect. When one watches a program/film on editing, isn't the point to LEARN more than to be entertained? I wanted a film that explained the language of editing, the aesthetic/artistic process, the technical process and the end result on film viewer/reader so that my literature class could learn more about the unique elements of film as an artform in our examination of interpreting theme from narrative forms (including narrative film). Years ago, I could just copy segments from my VHS tapes to show my students exactly what I wanted so we didn't use two full class meetings with filler and still need to view something else to discuss lighting, sound and mise-en-scene!"
A decent introduction to the importance of the movie editor
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 07/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing" is a 2004 documentary celebrating the first century of film editing. Those expecting a fitting counterpart to "Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography" are going to be a bit disappointed because this documentary is not on that same level. What you will find is part history lesson on the development of movie editing and part introduction to the things film editors do. The emphasis at the beginning is all about cutting, but we will learn that film editors make a lot of other decisions and there are lots of film editors and directors appearing as talking heads to explain these things with accompanying examples from lots of classic (and not so classic) films. Quentin Tarantino speaks to the importance of a single frame and his reasons for deciding to work with a female film editor, and Steven Spielberg talks about the objectivity of the film editor. But you have to wish that this documentary could have let these points be made by the film editors themselves since one of the premises here is that film editors are often forgotten when people think about how a film is made.
The history lesson begins with not only the creation of movie editing when Edwin Porter, one of Thomas Edison's employees, first cut scenes together to create a story in 1903, first in "The Life of an American Fireman" and then the more famous "Great Train Robbery." A theoretical distinction between the polar approaches of D.W. Griffith's seamless editing, as in "The Birth of a Nation," versus the more manipulative approach of Russian documentary filmmaker Dziga Vertov and his team in "Man with a Movie Camera" and later Sergei Eisenstein in "Battleship Potemkin." The history of film editing seems to come down to certain individuals who were in the right place at the right time, but there is also the interesting observation that originally women were film editors because the task was seen as being akin to knitting, and it was not until sound was introduced and the process became so "technical" than men started doing the job instead. Ultimately the goal in this documentary is not just to be informative but to persuade viewers that after the director and the stars the film editor is the most important person involved in the production of a film and in creating "the final script."
Sections are devoted to the general idea of cutting action, suspense, or sex, as well as cutting for the studios or to make the actor a star. At one point "The Rules" are established, and then the documentary looks at how successful film editors have broken all of those rules. Specific examples of editing that look at the specific choices that were made are fairly rare in this documentary. There is a brief example from "Home for the Holiday" where we actually get to see some of the choices for cutting a scene where a turkey falls on Cynthia Stevenson, but usually all you get is the editor describing after the fact what they did, as with Walter Murch and the hotel sequence at the start of "Apocalypse Now." There are a couple of choice examples of how sound comes into play with Pietro Scalla in "Black Hawk Down" and Tina Hirsch in "Dante's Peak," that helps to expand our notion of film editing. Then you have the extreme case of Alan Heim convincing director Bob Fosse to cut 20 minutes following the climactic courtroom scene in "Lenny" to get to Bruce's death. The problem is every time you get one of these specific examples you want more and the documentary is more likely to get back to a general topic (I was waiting for a section on the concept of American montage exemplified by the baptism scene in "The Godfather," but that never came). Still, you do get a decent introduction to the topic."