The Chicago Sun-Times’ Jim Emerson of the always outstanding Scanners blog has accomplished both with this really terrific video examination of the late Sally Menke’s editing of “Inglourious Basterds.”
I’ve rearranged previously-scheduled posts slightly this morning because of the very sad and unexpected death of editor Sally Menke at age 56. Ms. Menke was best known as the editor of all of Quentin Tarantino’s movies and, it was obvious from interviews, a hugely valued collaborator to the director. It appears she may have been a victim of the record heat yesterday. (It’s not unusual in Southern California for the highest temperatures to come right about this time.)
It’s sometimes hard for people to understand who’ve never worked on a movie to understand how important a good editor is and how much of a truly creative task it is. It’s also not that easy for outsiders to understand an editor’s contribution because we don’t see all the raw material they work with. I’ve seen editors take some pretty horrible stuff and make it usable and they can take good-to-okay material and make it near perfection. It’s a kind of alchemy. In any case, our sincere condolences to all of her friends and family, including Mr. Tarantino. I’m sure he’ll agree that his movies from this point forward will be inevitably somewhat different. I think you’ll get an of just how crucial Sally Menke was from what’s below.