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Is Michael Kahn a good editor???

Is Michael Kahn a good editor???  

48 members have voted

  1. 1.

    • Yes, certainly.
      38
    • No, definitely not.
      1
    • He IS good, I guess, but there are plenty of better editors out there.
      9


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I think he's generally good, but I wasn't impressed with some of the editing in The Terminal, mainly some noticeable 'movement' errors in the scene with the pills guy.

Then again, Spielberg wouldn't use him if he didn't think he was one of the best ;)

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Walter Murch, who's done films such as Apocalypse Now, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Jarhead (most recently)

Also, the Coen brothers edit their own movies under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes, and they all flow very well.

Tim

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Nightscape mentioned the best in business (Murch), but Sally Menke is indeed a great one. She needs to do work for people other than Tarantino to get her name out there, since he makes only one film a decade. Ha ha.

I'd also like to add Gerry Hambling. He's Alan Parker's editor, and he does great work, especially in musicals.

Some editors are mostly known for one work (the editors of The Matrix, American Beauty and Jaws come to mind), and sadly never get another great film.

But Kahn is a good editor. He's never flashy. He makes the story well-told and finds the best images to suit the overall film. The only exception to this would be "Fatal Attraction," which I find to be captivating.

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He's a very solid, competent editor, but I think there are others out there that push the art more than he does.

Neil

Yes.

Morlock- who rarley notices particulaly good editing, but is impressed with a lot of Kahn's films, as well as Schoonmaker (who, I think, did a phenominal job with the Aviator), and teh above mentioned Roderick Jaynes.

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Raiders of the Lost ARK and Saving Private Ryan are, to my unedutacted eyes, some of the best edited movies ever...specially Raiders, which is the most "balanced" movie I have ever watched.

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Yeah, but then there's the issue if continuity over a peroid of time. Like PoA had horrible continuity in the back-in-time part, so that Harry and Hermione could chat in the pumpkin patch in between their original selfs' lines.

~Sturgis

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Yeah, but then there's the issue if continuity over a peroid of time.  Like PoA had horrible continuity in the back-in-time part, so that Harry and Hermione could chat in the pumpkin patch in between their original selfs' lines.

~Sturgis

When you have people going back in time, continuity is the least of all problems when the slightest miscalculation could lead to a massive disruption in the space/time continuum, hence collasping the world. 8O

Then again, her hair doesn't look like that from the back. :mrgreen:

Tim

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It should be said about the comments regarding Kahn and continuity that errors of this nature may not always be his fault. If Spielberg didn't get the raw material for Kahn to work with, then there's not a lot even the best editor can do. And you'd think it may sound blasphemous to think Spielberg wouldn't bring in solid footage for Kahn all the time, but there are some glaring instances. Look at the editing on the "shoot her" bit in the first few moment of "Jurassic Park." The screen direction is absolutely horrid when cutting between shots. I'm not sure if this is a case of Spielberg (and his continuity people) dropping the ball or a decision that was made, match cuts be damned, for effect, but it's one of the most technically unsound bits of editing in all of Spielberg/Kahn's work.

Overall though, Kahn is as good as they come for my money. Looking at some of his work makes me absolutely giddy about how well he can dovetail images together. The collaboration between Kahn and Spielberg has given us some of the best examples of cinematic storytelling in film history. I think the Kahn/Spielberg collaboration is every bit as important as Williams and Spielberg's work together.

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Kahn is good, no doubts there, but I think Jill Bilcock is one of the most talented editors working in the business today. Her work on Moulin Rouge! was truly outstanding and seminal, not to mention her hand in the 2 other films that comprise Baz Luhrman's "Red-Curtain Trilogy" (Romeo + Juliet and Strictly Ballroom). Oh, and she also edited one of my other favorite films - Road to Perdition :thumbup:

moulin-rouge02.jpg

Ahhhhhhh Moulin Rouge........I need to watch that film again very soon methinks......

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In the end, I don't think any of us is qualified to judge an editing job.

What makes us qualified to judge anything?

Neil

Well, since film music is at the centre of our interest, I think it's fair to say that we know more about film music than about film editing. Most of us start and end our day with either playing or listening to music. Who can say he's actively studying the editing during each film?

----------------

Alex Cremers

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Well, since film music is at the centre of our interest, I think it's fair to say that we know more about film music than about film editing. Most of us start and end our day with either playing or listening to music. Who can say he's actively studying the editing during each film?

Speak for yourself, I've watched slowed down scenes in movies so I can examine the edits more closely. Also, film music and editing complement each other, music can make a scene feel faster or slower than it really is.

Jeff

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I love films that have discontinuity that you don't notice right away. Besides, the editor is not the continuity person. That's the job of the director and the continuity person.

The editor is the person that edits the footage. Sometimes the director is actually calling the shots and the editor merely carries them out. Sometimes the director gives the editor more freedom. Sometimes no freedom. When they have freedom, then they are responsible for partially the flow and pace of the film. But the director still has more to do with that than the editor because most films can only be cut together a limited number of ways in order to be chronological.

My favorite discontinuity in a Spielberg film is when Mola Ram escapes from the Temple fight. His hat is on, off, on, off within a mere 4 seconds of film. Brilliant!

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well I did sleep at a Holiday Inn last night :thumbup:

Seriously I think anybody who's passionate about movies has the right to judge editing job, I mean why can we judge movie scoring jobs and not editing? It's a process like any other in movie making, its an artistic job like cinematography or set editing or whatever. It also requires good dialogue with the director, but that's the same for many other crafts in movies. Many great editors are not as known as in other fields because well, editing sometimes when done good, is "invisible". The process where editors will do artistic decisions for time or space continuity, are often the choice of the director or both together. It's a very psychological craft (ex: the Kuleshov experience).

Some of us have studied in cinema you know!!!

Oh and let's not forget the masters Robert Wise, Sergei Eisenstein and DW Griffith, who practically invented modern cinema editing.

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Seriously I think anybody who's passionate about movies has the right to judge editing job, I mean why can we judge movie scoring jobs and not editing?  It's a process like any other in movie making, its an artistic job like cinematography or set editing or whatever.  It also requires good dialogue with the director, but that's the same for many other crafts in movies.  Many great editors are not as known as in other fields because well, editing sometimes when done good, is "invisible".  The process where editors will do artistic decisions for time or space continuity, are often the choice of the director or both together.  It's a very psychological craft (ex: the Kuleshov experience).

Some of us have studied in cinema you know!!!

http://imv.au.dk/publikationer/pov/Issue_0...n_1/artc2A.html

Cheers!

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In the end, I don't think any of us is qualified to judge an editing job.

Speak for yourself, Alex! :) I'd say I'm definitely qualified to judge since I studying editing on everything I see. As much as I adore film music (and listen to it from the moment I wake to the moment I sleep), I'd hardly consider myself qualified to speak technically on what makes a good score. But editing I could blather on about for hours. Sadly, not many people care to hear about film editing...

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I love films that have discontinuity that you don't notice right away. Besides, the editor is not the continuity person. That's the job of the director and the continuity person.

That would be the script supervisor. :)

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there may be better out there, but you only have to look at the opening portion of SPR, or all of Close Encounters, not to mention Raiders.

He was innovative on some slocky B films like Golden Needles, Trial of Billy Jack, and the goo effects film the Devil's Rain, but I am sure there are few here who know or have even seen these.

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Raiders of the Lost Ark is what every director/editor tries to do in terms of action/adventure pacing yet nobody has ever been able to do it as good. The narrative is just incredible to watch on screen, the way its edited and developped. The way characters are brought to the screen one by one, always helped by the great camera work by Spielberg and his crew per example.

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Yeah, Kahn's really bungled a lot of Spielberg's movies. I mean, look at Always! But he hasn't done anything like what William's did to Spielberg's work in Saving Private Ryan. I mean, peaceful choir in a war movie?!

C'mon, he may not be the flashiest editor, but I don't think you can put anybody active (at most, 2-3 people) in Hollywood beside Kahn at the moment. He's a legend.

:roll:

The Ghoest- Who was being sarcastic, for anyone who doesn't understand the English language.

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This is hilarious. Michael Kahn has been nominated numerous times and has won three Oscars for Best Film Editing. He already had a two decade career even before working with Steven Spielberg - a previous editing  career (including Hogan's Heroes), that for many would be enough & testament to his abilies. 

I believe Michael Kahn ACE, is an undisputed master editor within his professional field of expertise. 

You can deconstruct the obvious skills of a good editor, but the difference between a good editor and a great craftsman is not something you can notice by counting 'continuity' errors (as mentioned in previous posts) . Nobody deliberately leaves errors in work because they are bad crafts people?

The skills required of a sucessful editor are more than just the obvious technical ability used to create a good visual 'cut'. It's problem-solving, both narrative, artistic and technical - things the audience will not immediately know - and if you sustain it for the incredible length of time that Michael Kahn has - you're very, very, very good and also lucky. 

In my opinion, Michael Kahn is one of the most rounded and accomplished editors of the last forty years (and I'm also including Stuart Baird, Terry Rawlings, Richard A. Harris and Conrad Buff in this). He structures narrative and performance expertly, whilst pacing the drama, action and pathos perfectly- granting time & space for tense/thrilling/scary and comedic moments to maximum impact. If you only count Close Encounters, Poltergeist, Raiders and Schindler's List in this you've done well (obviously Schindler's isn't used to illustrate comedy 🤣) But all those editorial talents are masterfully brought together in Jurassic Park (despite what anyone said in previous posts regarding the 'shoot her' scene at the beginning of the movie) 

Similarly like an actor requiring a good script, an editor cannot really create a good result without a great Director, script and cast to create and inspire the work. 

A good & experienced Film Editor like Michael Kahn (and many others) will always bring that extra 'something' to a project. Expertise in story-telling, editorial judgement & timing that a good Director and Producer will recognise & embrace. 

You need to listen, articulate & express ideas, study, be creative artistically and practically - whilst having the stamina to work often long hours, in a darkened room (sometimes without windows). You also need to confidently handle the pressure & stress of being responsible, especially when things aren't working as you'd hope. 

I don't know Michael Kahn, but I've worked as an editor for over twenty five years and studied editing from my teenage years and examined his work. I believe that to sustain his long career, he most likely embraces all the previously mentioned qualities. So therefore, besides being not only being professionally 'good', I believe he also has that 4th dimension 'X Factor' that makes him a fantastic editor!

There are many other fantastic editors with whom he sits alongside - but they didn't have the luck to collaborate with Steven Spielberg.

Either way - we've all benefitted! 

 

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Going back to this thread... any reason why Kahn never edited E.T.?  He had done, at that time, 3 Spielberg movies in a row including an Oscar win.  Same for why Spielberg went *back* to him for Twilight Zone.

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