The By further fragmenting the action and cutting for

 The scene reaches an emotional peak and
classical cutting allows Griffith to isolate moments, characters, actions and
reactions in juxtaposed close ups. Although the acting may seem theatrical by
today’s standards, Griffiths more fragmented and detailed cinematic storytelling
allows for performances far subtler and sophisticated than we see in earlier
films such as The Great Train Robbery. By
further fragmenting the action and cutting for dramatic emphasis in control,
and trusting the audience to follow the movie through constant shifts in
viewpoint, Griffith has essentially already perfected the style of editing that
dominates most scenes and sequences in modern day film/television.

If we jump forward to
perhaps the most well known scene, Anna has fled and is stumbling through a
blizzard in which David is searching for her. This is parallel action at it’s best. Jumping between multiple simultaneous
storylines in such a way that our experience and interpretation of each informs
our understanding and appreciation of the other. When we’re with David we think
‘hurry, she needs you!’ and when
we’re with Anna we’re thinking ‘don’t
give up, he loves you!’  Under these
new editing techniques, Griffith highlighted the fact that story telling isn’t
all dependant on the actor, and can instead be heavily influenced by the way in
which the film is edited.

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‘Editors have a deep understanding of how people
think, feel, remember and learn. We use this knowledge to build powerful,
moving stories and experiences. The best editing decisions come from empathy —
both for the people who exist virtually on the screen and for the audience
watching them.’  


The evolution of film
editing and film audiences has changed a significant amount from the days of
Melies, Porter and Griffith as audience preference replaces artistic creation. However,
each film requires a different perspective, we’re now in an era where
technology is the backbone for conveying the unimaginable. At the time, these
films were cutting edge and revolutionary cinematically and editorially. Have
they aged? Yes, but with no agenda other than to be straightforward and
entertaining they achieve their primary purpose.


During the 1960’s overproduction
and a series of failed films put the industry into a long recession, therefore
Hollywood became progressively out of touch with the adapting nature of it’s
audience. The popularity
of youth-specific, romanticised and experimental films grew, therefore our next
topic is Bonnie and Clyde (1967.)


‘In 1967, Dede Allen became the first film editor to
receive a solo opening credit on Bonnie and Clyde.’  


Allen perfectly executes
the climatic shootout that has audiences simultaneously captivated and shocked.
The juxtaposition between birds in flight, the meadow, medium footage of the
shrubs where the shooters are veiled and close ups of Bonnie and Clyde’s faces create
a scene that’s power never fails, time is distorted in these traumatic


Towards the end of the
70’s, Allen’s editing techniques were no longer perceived as radical, slowly
being embraced by fellow editors.