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September 29, 2010


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I first saw this news on one of the snarkier websites, and in the comments section a bunch of quipsters were making jokes having something to do with their disbelief that Tarantino had an editor.

These comments pissed me off for all sorts of reasons, the bad taste being just one of them. But what really grinded my gears was that these were people who fancied themselves knowledgable about filmmaking, and yet still believed that an editor's primary job is to make things shorter.

Menke was a genius. If I had to narrow her work down to one sequence that stands as a testament to that, I'd go with the tavern scene from INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. Breathtaking.


I'm reminded of George Tomasini's premature passing, also in his mid-50s.


jim emerson

bill: Every year I feel the need to note that the Oscar nominees for editing really seem to be saluting "Most Editing" or "Most Noticeable Editing" (though I suppose that could be said about nearly every category, from costumes to cinematography to acting). I'm surprised that even people who work in the industry show so little understanding or appreciation for what a really good editor (or cinematographer, or director) does. Editing isn't about making more cuts. Nor is it about inserting "flashbacks." I saw one "tribute" to Menke that credited the structure of "Reservoir Dogs" to her editing -- when, of course, that structure, like "Pulp Fiction"'s, was there in the script before a frame of film had been shot. Makes me even sadder when artists aren't recognized for the work they actually do...


@jim - Yes, on that same website mentioned before, someone wanted to give Menke credit for PULP FICTION's structure. What in the world do these people think is going on when movies are being made?

Frank McDevitt

bill and jim,

I know what snarky website comment bill is talking about (and I happen to enjoy the overall website on which the comment was made), but I'd like to point out that just a little ways down from the dumb comments bill has cited, there's this one:

"The only people who were thinking that, Jorge, were people who have no clue as to what goes into editing. Menke's work on Tarantino's films was precise, elegant and artful. She was a great. You, Douchotr and KB don't know what you're talking about."


That is the exact website, Frank, and it's fair to point out that later comment. But I never said everybody on that site was stupid -- just the people making those particular comments. Which, in my defense, outnumber the kind you quoted. But that's not the point anyway.


bill--In fairness to the site you mention, the comments are often (sadly, not always) on a slightly higher level depending on the subject--see, for instance, the recent discussion on The Purple Rose Of Cairo. But a discussion of Tarantino always brings out the fanboys, and worse.

And as far as people giving Menke credit for the actual chronological structure of Tarantino's films, yeah, it's a stretch, but not entirely unreasonable. Everyone knows how Ralph Rosenblum gave coherent shape to the formless mess that Woody Allen shot, but the published script for Annie Hall faithfully reproduces the film that was released, not the one Allen actually wrote.

Glenn Kenny

"And as far as people giving Menke credit for the actual chronological structure of Tarantino's films, yeah, it's a stretch, but not entirely unreasonable." Maybe, maybe not. What I think really IS unreasonable is using the awful death of a talented film editor as a cudgel against one of her most prominent collaborators. That's pretty unreasonable in my book. Still, at least this gives us an idea of what to expect next time a Tarantino associate passes on.


Can't we call the AVClub.com by its name?


I guess we can NOW. I didn't think it was worth the trouble when I brought it up, but I also didn't expect that aspect of it to be focused on so much.

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