a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Orson Welles's technique of shooting


Touch of Evil: Janet Leigh's broken arm
Walter Murch Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

There are a couple of interesting things about the film that film scholars know and I discovered. One of them is that in searching for locations along the Venice canal a couple of weeks before shooting, Janet Leigh fell and broke her arm. And her arm was in a cast throughout all of the shooting of this film. And if you look carefully, you see, I think, it was her left arm, it's held carefully against her body, and usually draped with something. And her right arm is free. I think I got it right, right and left. And it only comes off when the so-called rape scene happens, and in that case, it's a body double, it's not Janet Leigh, it's somebody else and the arm is moving around. But a fantastic example of the kind of things that happen in a film and, you know, I was talking about the conditions under which a film gets made. And: 'well, we thought today was not going to be cloudy but it is, but we have to shoot today anyway.' Here: 'I didn't think my leading lady was going to have her arm in a cast all the way through this film, and I don't want to reveal that fact. How am I going to do it?' So Welles figured out, and Russell Metty, the cinematographer, and the costumes designer, they all put their heads together and figured out some way for Janet Leigh to have her arm in a cast throughout the film and not have it be blatantly obvious.

Born in 1943 in New York City, Murch graduated from the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. His career stretches back to 1969 and includes work on Apocalypse Now, The Godfather I, II, and III, American Graffiti, The Conversation, and The English Patient. He has been referred to as 'the most respected film editor and sound designer in modern cinema.' In a career that spans over 40 years, Murch is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Francis Ford Coppola, beginning in 1969 with The Rain People. After working with George Lucas on THX 1138 (1971), which he co-wrote, and American Graffiti (1973), Murch returned to Coppola in 1974 for The Conversation, resulting in his first Academy Award nomination. Murch's pioneering achievements were acknowledged by Coppola in his follow-up film, the 1979 Palme d'Or winner Apocalypse Now, for which Murch was granted, in what is seen as a film-history first, the screen credit 'Sound Designer.' Murch has been nominated for nine Academy Awards and has won three, for best sound on Apocalypse Now (for which he and his collaborators devised the now-standard 5.1 sound format), and achieving an unprecedented double when he won both Best Film Editing and Best Sound for his work on The English Patient. Murch’s contributions to film reconstruction include 2001's Apocalypse Now: Redux and the 1998 re-edit of Orson Welles's Touch of Evil. He is also the director and co-writer of Return to Oz (1985). In 1995, Murch published a book on film editing, In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing, in which he urges editors to prioritise emotion.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Janet Leigh

Duration: 1 minute, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2016

Date story went live: 29 March 2017