Book Review: A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away by Paul Hirsch

June 27, 2024

About:

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 by Paul Hirsch is a memoir that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the job of a movie editor. Mr. Hirsch has been working as a movie editor since the 1970s, with over 40 films to his credit.

  • 384 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : Chicago Review Press
  • Language ‏ : English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1641602554

Book Review: A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away by Paul Hirsch
My rat­ing for A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away5
Buy A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away from Amazon.com*
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Thoughts:

This fascinating book is a memoir of the author’s 5 decades of experience as a movie editor. I always knew that movie-making is a director’s medium, but also a collaborative process of hundreds of people. This book makes the case for the huge contributions of editors to the final product. I have heard before that movies are made in the cutting room.

There are many excellent anecdotes in A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away by Paul Hirsch, but it’s also a thoughtful and insightful book about the industry from the editor’s point of view. Whether it’s putting Star Wars together, or making sure the audience will stay to watch the end credits scene in Ferris Buller’s Day Off, Mr. Hirsch’s contribution to cinematic history cannot be understated.

Movie by movie, the author goes through the discussion and thought process of what it takes to make some of the many iconic films and scenes he worked on. I was especially fascinated by his interest and musical score and the decision on what beat to cut the scene, giving future composers a template to work from. My favorite anecdote, however, was how he got a VIP status (“cloth napkin”) in one of New York’s most famous Jewish delis.

I found myself playing many of the scenes which the author talks about in my head. I have the vast majority of the movies he writes about. The interesting part is that one doesn’t have to be familiar with the movies at all. Carrie’s prom scene is familiar to every movie lover regardless if they saw the movie, Footloose iconic scenes are seared in my generation’s memories

To be frank, the biggest surprise in this book is that with 50 years worth of great stories, it’s coherent, entertaining, and informative. Mr. Hirsch doesn’t shy away from the challenges in his work, like finding the next project or working with different personalities. He is good at what he does and loves it. A job we should all be lucky to have.

Buy A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away from Amazon.com*
More Books by Paul Hirsch*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I bought this book.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
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 by Paul Hirsch
Author Rating
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Wrap Up

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 by Paul Hirsch

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