Instructor - Norman Hollyn

Lesson #16

December 9, 2003


(and, yeah, I know the background of this part of the page is pretty stupid, but what're you gonna do -- I thought it was funny)

Additional Material

Assignments for Next Week

Handouts for this Week

Lesson for This Week


This week, your finals week, is primarily a finishing-up week. You'll hand in your complete CRIMSON TIDE sequences. You will receive them back later on this week, along with some comments. If you want me to e-mail you the comments, let me know.

We'll also take a look at the completed CRIMSON TIDE sequence as cut by Chris Lebenzon. You'll see that there is a strong use of close-ups in the sequence, far more than I've been encouraging you to cut. There is also a very strong story-telling sense. By this I mean that Lebenzon and director, Tony Scott, always try and make clear exactly where we are and what the characters in the scene are doing with and to each other.

This is part of Scott's typical style, but it also typical of much of the Hollywood style of action filmmaking and, to be broader, a story driven Hollywood film. It is a satisfying way of watching film for much of the American audience and it does, I think, partially account for the failure of the film MAD DOG TIME, which I edited. That film was deliberately obtuse in story, though specific in style and tone. Like it or not, it was not a film which was easily accessed by the typical audience. That is neither bad nor good, though United Artists (who distributed it) may feel differently.

touch of evil posterWe're also going to do something interesting.In the first class we took a long at the famous opening shot from Orson Welles' TOUCH OF EVIL, a three and a half minute dolly shot through a Mexican border town (actually shot in Venice, California, but let's not sweat the details). Laid over the shot are a ticking Henry Mancini score and the film's titles.

According to a memo unearthed by producer Rick Schmidlin, neither of those two things were ever meant to go over the shot.

Schmidlin, along with editor/sound man/director Walter Murch, reconstructed the film with the help of that large memo and tonight we are going to look at the results of that effort. Now that we have spent fifteen weeks studying all of the varying facets of how to construct a film -- picture, sound, music, etc. -- let's see if you can feel what the differences are. It's easy to see what they are, but how do they make you feel? What things do we pay more attention to? Less? What happens to the bomb through line? Is the explosion more or less of a shock? In other words, how have the elimination of titles and, more importantly, the reworking of the sound design, affected the storytelling?

Though I'm sure we won't get to it tonight -- I occasionally show a scene from POLLACK on the final evening of class. Click here to see my discussion about that film.

You will also get back the quizzes that you took last week. Not everyone had the same test. You had 25 questions.

In previous years we sometimes had a guest speaker for the last class. One semester we had David Newman, the composer, who discussed his experiences on BROKEDOWN PALACE. Click here to see the web site discussion of that visit.

Finally -- last week, I asked you bring into class tonight one question that you wished we had dealt with in class, but hadn't. We'll go through them, one by one (hopefully with a glass of wine or beer in hand), and deal with them. Learning never stops, I hope. Not yours and not mine.


Careers In Post-Production
This excerpt from a union seminar on various careers in editing and the allied industries, was excerpted in the Guild Newsletter. This piece has a few choice quotes about how different pieces of the post-production puzzle fit in together to create an entire film.

Assignments for Next Week

I must be joking, yeah?

Yeah. I am.

This is really the end. Thanks for letting me be part of your education, your life and your Monday nights. Keep me posted on what you're up to and don't hesitate to e-mail me at class@norman-hollyn.com if you have any questions, scripts or pieces of cut footage that you'd like me to look at.

It's been a great semester.

Added Material

Questions To Analyze An Edited Film
Anatoly Antohin, who teaches film theory in Fairbanks, Alaska, has put together a long list of items to look for in a film, that reflect on its editing. It's actually quite a fascinating list and covers how the editing uses cinematography, music, sound and many of the other things that we've been talking about these last fourteen weeks. He also discusses the theory of montage on another page. If you can get past the incredibly annoying MIDI music he drops on some of his pages, you'll find a wealth of often rather insightful pieces on film.
Interview With Walter Murch about the Touch Of Evil reconstruction
This is a series of interviews about the process that the people involved in the reconstruction of this Welles film, went through to get the sound correct


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All material, except where noted, ©1999-2008 by Norman Hollyn. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me an e-mail at my office
Last Modified - September 30, 2008