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.


'Mr. Z, why not let them go through the door?'


Move to London in 1976
Walter Murch Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

Things got to the point that eventually Carroll didn't like what we had all written and he just kind of stopped the process and wanted to reconsider everything which left me beached. I didn't... now, what was I going to do?

And a job offer came as a result of some letters that I had written to go to England and work with Fred Zinnemann on the film Julia. One thing led to another, and I found myself and my whole family with four kids in London the summer of 1976 working for the first time with people that I had absolutely no history with. Every job that I had up to that point was with people I had gone to school with or people I had met through those contacts. We all had a common language, and we all had a common mission that we understood. And for the first time I was plunged not only in a foreign country, although Aggie, my wife is English and I had been here many times, but now I was working in the heart of the British film industry as a foreigner.

And it was a wonderful learning experience, Fred Zinnemann who was about 70 years old at the time became a very good friend, and we maintained our friendship for the next 20 years until he died almost at the age of 90. The... I met Les Hodgson on Julia, who was a sound editor on Julia, and he became one of the principal sound editors on Apocalypse Now, following...  a couple of years later. And he also became the picture editor on Return to Oz, which we shot in England in the mid-1980s.

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: Julia, England, London, 1976, Fred Zinnemann, Les Hodgson

Duration: 2 minutes

Date story recorded: April 2016

Date story went live: 01 March 2017