Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sally Menke (RIP). Tarantino Films Will Never Be The Same Again.

Terrible news to report. This morning Sally Menke's body was discovered in Beachwood Canyon. She was 56 years old. It may have been California's extreme heat on Monday when she went missing but details are still emerging. She had been hiking with her dog, a black lab (the dog is okay). The amazing film editor was best known for her work with Quentin Tarantino. She edited all of his feature films.

Christoph Waltz poses with Tarantino's editing queen Sally Menke, during
the awards run for Inglourious Basterds.

So you can thank her in part for the wondrous control of Tarantino's very distinctive pacing, intricate performance shaping (and so many great performances had to have been carefully shaved, trimmed and aided by Sally's deft hands), freeze framing (just mentioned!) and not least of all those incredibly precise long-form action sequences in Kill Bill Vol 1 and Kill Bill Vol 2.

And here's a lovely compilation from Inglourious Basterds of the actors saying "hi Sally" before and after takes to amuse her in the editing room. My favorite is Til Schweiger's. He's so serious in the film but such a goof here.

Heartbreaking in retrospect but so sweet to think about. She must have so enjoyed these moments.

Fine farewells:
  • Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) shares his last conversation with her. 
  • Aint it Cool News Tarantino: "I don't write with anybody. I write by myself. But when it comes to the editing, I write with Sally."
  • ArtsBeat She was also hiking when she first heard she got the Reservoir Dogs job.
  • Joblo Menke's own words having worked through both of her pregnancies "my babies had Tarantino movies played to them in the womb, but they seem to have turned out OK."
Our hearts go out to Menke's family and to QT.

Trivia: She was nominated for an Oscar twice for Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds. Here at the Film Experience she won two medals, the bronze for Basterds and a gold medal for Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) --  I'm still horrified that the editor's branch didn't honor her genius there.


Sid said...

OMG! This is just shocking news... one of the all-time greats, IMO.

Ibad said...

To me, just as good as Schoonmaker/Scorsese's collaboration, and very much apart of the reason Tarantino's movies have left such a pop culture impact. It's just such an awful shame. I feel like perhaps Quentin shouldn't even bother with the third Kill Bill, now. :(

Ed Howard said...

Wow, that really is a damn shame. Editors are under-appreciated in general, and I've never heard her mentioned anywhere near as often as other high-profile editors, like Schoonmaker, who have collaborated with a single director over an extended period. Her work has been crucial to Tarantino's aesthetic, and she'll definitely be missed.

Volvagia said...

Um...well...that's too bad. I'm sorry to say this but: Mother of mercy, is this the end of Tarantino?

Mirko said...

that's a real tragic loss. such a talented lady! it's true Tarantino's films won't be the same without her


/3rtfu11 said...

My thoughts are with the people who love her.

Anonymous said...

Gloria Stuart
Sally Menke

Who is next?

RIP to these two lovely ladies who left a lasting mark on cinema.

Bill Clinton said...

^ Jimmy Carter.

Stella said...

This is truly a shock. I'm such a fan of hers, and did anyone see that "Hi Sally!" montage for Inglourious Basterds on the DVD, when all of the cast members break character to say "hi" to her in some way.


Andrew R. said...

OH NOOOOOOOO! Aside from the fact that this is really sad, not only was she great, but now Tarantino has no editing genius!

RIP Sally!

Stella said...

And poor Tarantino, I'd just like to add; I've seen interviews of him talking about Sally, and he speaks of her great ability to understand what he wants and how often she's in-tuned to his thought processes, and jokingly said that he gets annoyed when she doesn't read his mind "100% of the time". She seems irreplaceable to him.

Tim said...

I can't even express how much of a pit this leaves in my stomach. Probably my favorite editor out there, absolutely irreplaceable in every way. My heart goes out to everyone who knew her.

Samson said...

This news breaks my heart. I'm in complete shock. What in the world will Tarantino do now?

RIP to one of the great film editors of our time.


IslandLiberal said...

She was as important to Tarantino as Kahn is to Spielberg and Schoonmaker to Scorsese. Tarantino's films won't be the same without her.

Mierzwiak said...

That's so sad, I'm speechless.

She was extremely talented editor, and Tarantino's movies are great not only because of his writing and direction, but also because of always brilliant editing made by Sally.

RIP Sally.

Neil Fulwood said...

I never got round to watching the "Hi Sally" feature on the DVD. I watched it for the first time this evening on your site. In tears 30 seconds into it.

A tragic loss.