- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Chicago Review Press (November 5, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1641602554
- ISBN-13: 978-1641602556
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away: My Fifty Years Editing Hollywood Hits―Star Wars, Carrie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Mission: Impossible, and More Hardcover – November 5, 2019
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27 customer reviews
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The book is filled with anecdotes about some of Hollywood's greatest stars (get on Tom Cruise's good side and you'll receive a cocoanut cake every Christmas) and directors (George Lucas seems like a good guy; Francis Ford Coppola, not so much). You also get a quick education in how films used to be edited in pre-digital days and how they are edited today.
Hirsch writes very well and the book zips along. He seems like a modest guy and is careful to relate his gratitude to the many people who helped him or treated him well along the way. The backstabbing and credit-hogging that dominate Hollywood in some accounts are mostly absent here.
If you have an interest in the movie business or in how movies are assembled into finished products, you'll undoubtedly enjoy this book.
As a Star Wars fan I picked up this book for Paul's work on both the first Star Wars film and its sequel, 'The Empire Strikes Back'. As a filmmaker (and fellow editor) I was enthralled by his overall experience in the film industry over the years and his work on some of my other favorite films, 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off', 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles', and 'Falling Down'. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Paul's book is both insightful, informative, entertaining, and chock full of stories that any cinephile will enjoy. It is a well written book and hard to put down once you get going.
I can't recommend this book enough - if you know anyone in your life who loves movies (and/or Star Wars) buy them this book as a gift! You (and they) won't be disappointed!
As we travel the timeline of his career, he also explains what editing on film was like before the days of computers, where the technical limitations required great craft and ingenuity. He also presents the challenging political environment of the editing room: where the editor’s intellectual, intuitive and creative ideas must be presented with great diplomacy. Hirsch is also well-versed in music and gives specific examples of his early choices to show how editors use temporary music to support the film in progress and to influence the composer. Reading the scope of his life story also shows a realistic portrait of the unstable and challenging freelance life, and the dedication required to travel on location with a family.
Editing is a constant process of trial and error- screening and listening to your audience, then re-cutting- and Hirsch shows you this challenging process throughout the brilliant triumphs and failures (Pluto Nash!) of his long and amazing career.
Tons of great stories and behind the scenes anecdotes.
I love the inside look at the making of some of my favorite movies. But to then hear about the heartbreak of a bomb-in-the-making. No one wanted "The Adventures of Pluto Nash" to bomb... especially the people behind the scenes. To hear what happened is so interesting and fascinating.
Seriously... a great read.