Most laypeople don't really understand what film editors do, so they're not often given attention upon their passing. But Hollywood lost one of the best yesterday. ---
Film editor Sally Menke -- best known for her collaborations with director Quentin Tarantino, including Oscar nominations for Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Basterds -- was found dead in a Los Angeles ravine yesterday after failing to return from a hike, presumed to be a victim of the 100-degree-plus heat wave affecting the area. Menke was only 56 years old.
Tarantino's work in particular was a challenge for a film editor, often combining multiple narrative threads and overlapping time frames. As gifted a writer and director as Tarantino may be, it's hard to imagine the tension of a scene being as dependent on brilliant editing as Butch's return to retrieve his watch in Pulp Fiction, or Hans Landa's opening scene in Basterds. Great artists of any kind are too rare; it's a shame to have lost one whose talents were on view to so many, yet whose name was probably know by only a few.