November/December 2014

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74 CINEMONTAGE / NOV-DEC 14 too?' I was 21 and wanted everybody to know I was with the great Sidney Meyers — the man who made The Quiet One — and he was acting as if he was my friend. "Years later, a good friend and I were working on a television science series for CBS and Sidney came to visit us in the cutting room. 'It's good,' he said, 'you guys are working. How do you get jobs? I'm looking for work.' I was ashamed. 'Your trouble,' I said, 'is you're over-qualified. People think you're too good for the junk they have. They're afraid to ask you.' He said, 'I'll put an ad in Variety: SIDNEY MEYERS HAS LOST HALF HIS SKILL.' Later, when Walter Hess heard the story, he told me, 'I'll put an ad right under it: I HAVE FOUND HALF OF SIDNEY'S SKILL.' "That wish spoke for all of us," Kirchheimer concluded. "We were the lucky ones; we who knew him, who were privileged to share him. And maybe just because he was so vulnerable, so human, and because he didn't give to us in such a way that we felt we owed him something, maybe that's why we loved him so and why we took him for granted. And maybe that's why it took so long for me to realize why he was so important to me." In Films on the Left: American Documentary Film from 1931 to 1942 (1981), author William Alexander writes of the time when Sidney was engaged with the Film and Photo League and Frontier Films, but it is a judgment that might characterize his whole career: "It is possible that among this very talented group of artists, it was Meyers who was the most talented. Many… believe this to be the case. A man of great wit and character, an assiduous reader who was highly skilled in several arts, a man who could never be doctrinaire yet whose politics and loyalties were firm, a man who would edge into the background rather than seek recognition, he was greatly loved and admired. It is almost impossible to find a negative word about him..." f Savagely Quiet CONTINUED FROM PAGE 60 He was asked by the distributor to cut down Rashômon for American audiences. Sidney said, "It's the work of a master — I wouldn't touch it."

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