Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sally Menke (RIP). Tarantino Films Will Never Be The Same Again.

Terrible news to report. This morning Sally Menke's body was discovered in Beachwood Canyon. She was 56 years old. It may have been California's extreme heat on Monday when she went missing but details are still emerging. She had been hiking with her dog, a black lab (the dog is okay). The amazing film editor was best known for her work with Quentin Tarantino. She edited all of his feature films.

Christoph Waltz poses with Tarantino's editing queen Sally Menke, during
the awards run for Inglourious Basterds.

So you can thank her in part for the wondrous control of Tarantino's very distinctive pacing, intricate performance shaping (and so many great performances had to have been carefully shaved, trimmed and aided by Sally's deft hands), freeze framing (just mentioned!) and not least of all those incredibly precise long-form action sequences in Kill Bill Vol 1 and Kill Bill Vol 2.

And here's a lovely compilation from Inglourious Basterds of the actors saying "hi Sally" before and after takes to amuse her in the editing room. My favorite is Til Schweiger's. He's so serious in the film but such a goof here.

Heartbreaking in retrospect but so sweet to think about. She must have so enjoyed these moments.

Fine farewells:
  • Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) shares his last conversation with her. 
  • Aint it Cool News Tarantino: "I don't write with anybody. I write by myself. But when it comes to the editing, I write with Sally."
  • ArtsBeat She was also hiking when she first heard she got the Reservoir Dogs job.
  • Joblo Menke's own words having worked through both of her pregnancies "my babies had Tarantino movies played to them in the womb, but they seem to have turned out OK."
Our hearts go out to Menke's family and to QT.

Trivia: She was nominated for an Oscar twice for Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds. Here at the Film Experience she won two medals, the bronze for Basterds and a gold medal for Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) --  I'm still horrified that the editor's branch didn't honor her genius there.

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