Q1 2024

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That got me thinking about some re- search I did more than 14 years ago, when I was studying for my M.A. at the National Film and Television School in the U.K. The resulting paper was eventually called "Matriarchs and Moviolas: Women in the Cutting Rooms of Early Hollywood." The spark was the excellent documentary "Cut- ting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing" by Wendy Apple. The story of these pioneering women captured my imagination and in- spired me at the start of my career — and it might inspire others, too. After some initial research, I found there was a small group of women who had exceptionally successful editing careers that started almost at the birth of cinema and continued for much of the 20th century. However, according to a 1945 Los Angeles Times article, out of about 300 working edi- BOSS: Margaret Booth, above, ruled post-production at MGM with an iron fist, with the 1965 letter below capturing her cool style. Opposite page: Anne Bauchens receives a kiss from film star Victor Mature (top clipping), while a newspaper announces the engagement of Barbara McLean to director Robert Webb. tors in Hollywood, only eight were women. How did this group get started and why were they so outnumbered? In the early days, cutting, patching (gluing trims together), sorting and t i n t i n g w e re s e e n a s f u n c t i o n a l rather than creative or technical roles, and since women were the cheapest available labor, they were the most likely candidates to fulfill them. Ironically, the fact that these women were doing a job that was perceived as irrelevant gave them a foothold on what would turn out to be a key role in the filmmaking process. As the role evolved, so did the skills of the women doing it. As Ally Acker points out in her book "Reel Women," "by the time filmmakers began to discover that film 23 W I N T E R Q 4 I S S U E F E A T U R E

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