Women Film Editors

Unseen Artists of American Cinema


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About the Book

When the movie business adopted some of the ways of other big industries in 1920s America, women—who had been essential to the industry’s early development—were systematically squeezed out of key behind-the-camera roles. Yet, as female producers and directors virtually disappeared for decades, a number of female film editors remained and rose to the top of their profession, sometimes wielding great power and influence.
Their example inspired a later generation of women to enter the profession at mid-century, several of whom were critical to revolutionizing filmmaking in the 1960s and 1970s with contributions to such classics as Bonnie and Clyde, Jaws and Raging Bull. Focusing on nine of these women and presenting shorter glimpses of nine others, this book tells their captivating personal stories and examines their professional achievements.

About the Author(s)

The author of multiple books on film history, David Meuel has also published two books of poems, more than two dozen short stories, and hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from U.S. national parks to high technology. He lives in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Bibliographic Details

David Meuel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6294-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2520-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 5
1 • “Trojan Annie”: Anne Bauchens’ Epic 40-Year Partnership with Cecil B. DeMille 23
2 • “The eyes to me are everything”: Viola Lawrence’s 47 Years of Seeing into the Eyes of Actors to Convey the Essence of Characters 39
3 • “Boy, was I tough”: The Long Reign and Lasting Legacy of MGM’s Margaret Booth 56
4 • “Bobbie Says…”: Barbara McLean’s Four Decades as Darryl Zanuck’s “Right-Hand Woman” 74
5 • Cutting to the Chase: Dorothy Spencer’s ­Action-Packed ­Half-Century in Hollywood 91
6 • The Revolutionary: Dede Allen Upends American Film Editing in the 1960s and 1970s 105
7 • “Mother Cutter”: Verna Fields Mentors a New Generation of Film Directors in the 1970s 124
8 • Making the Most of Her Moments: The ­Ever-Adaptable and Always Adventurous Anne V. Coates 139
9 • “The most modest of living legends”: Thelma Schoonmaker and Her Lifelong Artistic Partnership with Martin Scorsese 155
10 • Quick Cuts: Nine Other Women Who’ve Left a Memorable Mark on U.S. Film Editing 172
Conclusion: Contributions Worth Noting—and Celebrating 202
Ten Books About Film Editing 205
Chapter Notes 207
Bibliography 215
Index 219