Hidden Magic Revealed

Editors Guild Magazine
March-April 2009

editors-guildMarried to legendary film editor Sam O’Steen for 23 years, Bobbie O’Steen compiled the many discussions and interviews with her husband about editing into a memoir entitled Cut to the Chase that was published in 2002. Reviewed in these pages in the MAY-JUN 06 issue (and still online at the www.editorsguild.com), Cut to the Chase is a primary book on the craft of editing featuring insights from the man who edited films such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The Graduate (1967), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and Chinatown (1974).

O’Steen’s new work, The Invisible Cut: How Editors Make Movie Magic (due on shelves in March), will stand as a deft introduction to the “invisible art” of editing and would prove highly useful as a textbook. Her language is direct and the complex craft of editing is clearly explained. Comparing the work of the motion picture editor to that of the stage magician, O’Steen begins with fundamentals and then moves to examples of classic films to illustrate the hidden magic of the editor. Very simply put, the editor decides what is seen on the screen and how long it will be seen. But in this obvious task is great subtlety.

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