Q4 2017

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78 CINEMONTAGE / Q4 2017 by Peter Tonguette T he year was 1976. The place was the New York brownstone of editor Ralph Rosenblum, ACE. And the film was Woody Allen's Annie Hall, released the following year to wide acclaim and four Oscar wins. One day after work, Allen and Susan E. Morse, ACE — later his main editor, then an assistant editor — found themselves leaving the cutting room at about the same time. "He had his car, which was then a cream- colored Rolls-Royce, and he said, 'Would you like a lift?'" Morse recalls. "I said, 'Well, I'm probably not going in the same direction as you are.' He said, 'It doesn't matter. Just drop me off, and my chauffeur can take you the rest of the way.'" As they were driven through the streets of New York, Allen expressed his concerns about Annie Hall, but Morse tried to reassure him about where the film was headed. "He seemed interested in continuing the conversation about what he and Ralph had been discussing: the problem of how to end the film," Morse recounts. "And, in my innocence as a 24-year-old, I said, 'I'm a woman and I can tell you that I identify with the Annie character and I think a lot of women my age will. I think you have to trust that element. You don't need another big laugh.'" In the years that followed, Allen would often look to Morse for cutting room solutions; two years after Annie Hall, she began her 20-year tenure as Allen's editor on a string of his most successful films, including Manhattan (1979), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). Although Allen's work can be divided into genres, ranging from slapstick farces and romantic comedies to dark dramas and the occasional murder mystery, the easiest way to classify his career is to look at who receives the credit of film editor. For nearly a half-century, the director has worked with only three picture editors, with a few exceptions. From 1969 to 1978, Allen worked almost exclusively with Rosenblum (1925-1995), who was hired on his debut film, 1969's Take the Money and Run (Allen disavows 1966's What's Up, Tiger Lily?, a re-dubbed Japanese spy movie, on which he is credited as director), and went on to cut classics, including Annie Hall. In 1979, Morse replaced Rosenblum, remaining in the position until 1998. And, at the end of the century, Allen changed editors again, hiring Alisa Lepselter, ACE (see accompanying story, page 72), to cut Sweet and Lowdown (1999) and all of his subsequent efforts to date. CineMontage spoke with editors representing each era: Ron Kalish, who worked as an editor with Rosenblum, Wendy Greene Bricmont, ACE, who shared an editing credit with Rosenblum on Annie Hall, Morse and Lepselter. Their memories paint a portrait of a director whose creativity did not stop on the set but continued in the cutting room. After garnering attention as a stand-up Deconstructing Woody The Sweet and Lowdown on His Longtime Editors

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