Magazine article Variety

The Final Cut

Magazine article Variety

The Final Cut

Article excerpt

AT VENERABLE Pinewood Studios west of London, a fledgling Anne Coates hoped editing experience would serve as a stepping stone to directing. No surprise, the industry proved even more resistant back in the 1950s to distaffoccupants of the canvas chair than today.

But the cutting room has always welcomed a woman's firm hand, whether old school "cutting neg" or manipulating top-of-the-line digital equipment. The would-be helmer soon became a celebrated doyenne of the world editing community, subject of academic analysis of the "Anne Coates style," a concept about which she claims to have no clue.

Now she's become only the second editor to receive an honorary Oscar, after MGM stalwart Margaret Booth in 1978.

Coates has worked with the best directors. Tasked with presenting her assemblage of "Lawrence of Arabia" test footage, she trembled until David Lean - no mean editor himself - stood up and announced, "I don't think I've ever before seen anything cut exactly the way I would have cut it myself." The team went on to collect individual Oscars for the 1962 epic, and collaborate on the triumphant 1989 restoration.

"I've worked with many good editors, but you're the one with the most heart," the great Carol Reed told her. …

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