Monday, December 26, 2005

Thelma Schoonmaker on Fresh Air

This interview was on Fresh Air today and I thought it was completely fascinating. I've been a fan of Thelma Schoonmakers work for as long as I can remember caring about film and hearing her talk about it is always, always enlightnening.

She's cut some of the best films in the last 25 years. From Raging Bull to Goodfellas to Casino to the Aviator, she's cut them all. And she's arguably one of the best music montage editors in history. Granted, she has Martin Scorsese standing behind her every step of the way, that doesn't take away from the fact that she's the editor.

Editing is an art that not a lot of people seem to notice unless it's extremely wrong or particularly mind-blowing and Thelma Schoonmaker has been in the latter category for two-and-a-half decades. Think about some of the work she's done for a minute.

The boxing scenes in Raging Bull.

The last day of Henry Hill's freedom (Is that a fucking Helicopter?) in Goodfellas.

Joe Pesci getting beaten to death and tossed into a hole in Casino.

The sped up ambulance sequences in Bringing out the Dead.

The fight sequences in Gangs of New York.

I could go on about specific scenes and montages, and some would say, "Well that's Scorsese, forget Schoonmaker," but listening to them talk about each other they seem more symbiotic than anyone would care to admit.

And if it were really Scorsese, I'd bet he'd take the credit himself. She's a master of the art in my opinion and you can learn something from her.

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