Interviews with Master Editors

Master Editors – Anne V Coates

Anne V Coates has cut such great films as Lawrence of Arabia, In the Line of Fire, Out of Sight and Erin Brokovich and in this excerpt from Justin Chang’s Film Craft: Editing she shares her recollections on editing Lawrence of Arabia with David Lean and also the transition from cutting on film to cutting digitally. Chang’s book is a collection of interviews with master film editors and can be found on amazon and trendy bookshops.

I remember cutting a few test sequences on Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and David Lean asked me during dailies, with the whole crew present, if I had finished cutting the first scene. I said I had, and he asked me to bring it down and show him. I said I couldn’t possibly show it to him in front of all these people, but he said, “Don’t be so silly, just go and get it.” I was terrified. I sat there watching, and I don’t think I saw a cut go by; I was so frightened. When it was over, David got up and said, “I think that’s the first time in my life that I’ve seen a piece of film cut exactly the way I would have done it,” which was the best compliment I had ever had in my life. I was stunned, absolutely stunned.

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