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THX 11384 EB


Talented George Lucas
Walter Murch Film-maker
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I remember we were all in an animation class, learning how to do drawings and animate bouncing balls and we all... we had to do a project and we all did something that kind of was what you would expect somebody in early animation to be doing and George's film which was, I think called, A Look at Life, which was clips of photographs from Look and Life magazine animated in a kinetic way with moves on the photographs about the riots in Watts, the race riots which had just happened that summer, and Vietnam. And it was all with a great soundtrack and it was like when we had the film screening and we looked at it, we thought, where did this... This is fantastic. Where did this come from? It was electrifying and from that point on, his path through film school was... had booster rockets underneath it. Everything he did was new and fascinating and interesting and we were collectively just in awe of him and where his talent had come from but we were all pals.

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: A Look at Life, George Lucas

Duration: 1 minute, 29 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2016

Date story went live: 01 March 2017