The Conversations

The Conversations

Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film

Book - 2002
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The Conversationsis a treasure, essential for any lover or student of film, and a rare, intimate glimpse into the worlds of two accomplished artists who share a great passion for film and storytelling, and whose knowledge and love of the crafts of writing and film shine through. It was on the set of the movie adaptation of his Booker Prize-winning novel,The English Patient, that Michael Ondaatje met the master film and sound editor Walter Murch, and the two began a remarkable personal conversation about the making of films and books in our time that continued over two years. From those conversations stemmed this enlightened, affectionate book -- a mine of wonderful, surprising observations and information about editing, writing and literature, music and sound, the I-Ching, dreams, art and history. The Conversationsis filled with stories about how some of the most important movies of the last thirty years were made and about the people who brought them to the screen. It traces the artistic growth of Murch, as well as his friends and contemporaries -- including directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Fred Zinneman and Anthony Minghella -- from the creation of the independent, anti-Hollywood Zoetrope by a handful of brilliant, bearded young men to the recent triumph ofApocalypse Now Redux. Among the films Murch has worked on areAmerican Graffiti,The Conversation, the remake ofA Touch of Evil,Julia,Apocalypse Now,The Godfather(all three),The Talented Mr. Ripley, andThe English Patient. "Walter Murch is a true oddity in Hollywood. A genuine intellectual and renaissance man who appears wise and private at the centre of various temporary storms to do with film making and his whole generation of filmmakers. He knows, probably, where a lot of the bodies are buried."
Publisher: Toronto : Vintage Canada 2002.
ISBN: 9780676974744
Characteristics: xxi, 339 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Murch, Walter 1943-


From Library Staff

Perhaps the most interesting book on film to come out in years -- still more interesting than "Pictures at a Revolution" after the dust has settled. The range of the conversation and the intelligence and curiosity of the minds are absorbing as the reader gets to listen in.

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Mar 25, 2010

Very interesting book. While some parts seem wordy & "kinda seventies" feeling, Ondaaatje & Murch offer great insights into the film editing process. If you enjoy this title, be sure to see the "Bullitt" DVD, disk 2 -- there's a great documentary overview of the history of film editing, which has a section featuring Walter Murch.

Devin_Library Aug 05, 2009

Extrapolate from the principles of editing film, as Michael Ontdaatje and Walter Murch do here, and you get a fascinating treatise on making art. Murch and Ondaatje, two masters of their respective forms, dish over movies, montages, and the difference the blink of an eye makes.

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