Sally Menke – An Appreciation

by Melissa Silverstein on September 29, 2010

in Women Techies

I didn’t know Sally Menke, or even much about her, but her body of work speaks volumes.  She was a vital part of the filmmaking team of Quentin Tarantino and received 2 Oscar nominations for editing his films. She was nominated in 1994 for Pulp Fiction, and just last year for Inglorious Basterds.

Sally’s tragic passing while hiking in LA gave me a moment to look at women editors in general and one thing I noticed very quickly is that guys known for their violent films like Tarantino and Scorcese both have these amazing women editors. Thelma Schoonmaker has worked with Scorcese for decades. Menke worked with Tarantino since Pulp Fiction. On another note, Susan E. Morse worked with Woody Allen for over 10 years. There have got to be other relationships of this type that I don’t know about.

Anyone know about other director/editor partnerships?

Looking at the statistics for women in Hollywood in 2009, women editors made up 18% (of the editors on the top 250 US grossing films). And unlike directing, a bunch of women have won the editing Oscar. Here is a list below:

1940 North West Mounted Police – Anne Bauchens
1944 Wilson – Barbara McLean
1958 Gigi – Adrienne Fazan
1962 Lawrence of Arabia – Anne V. Coates
1975 Jaws – Verna Fields
1977 Star Wars – Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas, Richard Chew
1980 Raging Bull – Thelma Schoonmaker
1983 The Right Stuff – Glenn Farr, Lisa Fruchtman, Stephen A. Rotter, Douglas Stewart, Tom Rolf
1986 Platoon – Claire Simpson
1987 The Last Emperor – Gabriella Cristiani
2004 The Aviator – Thelma Schoonmaker
2006 The Departed – Thelma Schoonmaker

Here’s some Sally love from the cast of Inglorious Basterds

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jihad Punk 77 September 29, 2010 at 10:48 AM

that is so sad. Rest in Peace

David September 29, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Where did you get the movie stats from on the wonen editors? I liked Sally Menke.

Harriet Margolis September 29, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Cecil B. De Mille worked with Anne Bauchens as his editor for decades, along with other significant female members of his team.

Maia September 29, 2010 at 8:10 PM

Jeffrey Blitz (Spellbound, Rocket Science etc.) always works with Yana Gorskaya – in both his fiction and documentaries.

Melissa Silverstein September 30, 2010 at 7:48 AM

The stats are all from the Center for Study of Women in TV and Film at SD State. Check out my factoids page for more info.

Dorothea September 30, 2010 at 6:31 PM

The first time I was to meet Sally Menke was for a screening I was handling of Kill Bill Vol. I followed by a Q&A with Quentin and some of his collaborators. I was aware that Sally was his longtime editor and wasn’t sure what to expect. She had told me over the phone she wasn’t sure she could be there at the appointed time. But she made to the theatre to be part of panel and explained that she had just finished baking cookies, or maybe it was cupcakes or brownies for a school function the next day. I remember being struck by the fact that this woman who was so connected to Quentin’s vision was also a wife and a mother! Somehow I hadn’t expected that!!

She will be missed.

blade October 2, 2010 at 11:38 AM

J.J. Abrams & editors Mary Jo Markey & Maryann Brandon, Tyler Perry & editor Maysie Hoy, Jason Reitman & Dana Glauberman, Catherine Hardwick & Nancy Richardson, Sanaa Hamri & Melissa Kent. Lawrence Kasden & Carol Littleton.

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