Movies and Film: Some Films Whose Editing Is Worth Visiting

Some Films Whose Editing Is Worth Visiting

Here is a list of films worth examining for their editing excellence:

  • Intolerance (1916). Griffith's monumental film about intolerance through the ages edits together stories from four different eras, so that the stories unfold simultaneously rather than sequentially. No one would try this trick again until the end of Hollywood's golden era.
  • Battleship Potemkin (Bronenosets Potyomkin, 1925). No discussion of editing is complete without referring to Eisenstein's masterpiece of montage. Watch especially the very famous "Odessa Steps Sequence" for a terrific example of "intellectual montage."
  • Rope (1948). Alfred Hitchcock gives the illusion that the entire film was shot in one long take, with no editing at all. See if you can spot the editing seams.
  • Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982). Watch Steve Martin insert himself into the narrative of various famous film noirs via simple crosscutting.
  • Groundhog Day (1993). Very few special effects; instead, the fantasy of this imaginative piece resides in how the central character relives the same day over and over. The editing that gets you from one day to the next is smart and hysterical. Check out the suicide montage.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Movies and Film © 2001 by Mark Winokur and Bruce Holsinger. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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