How does an editor make decisions about where and when to cut in
order to make the rhythm of a ﬁ lm?
When asked, most editors will say something along the lines of “by
intuition ” or “you just know when it’s right. ” For example, in First Cut,
Conversations with Film Editors by Gabriella Oldham, editors are quoted
talking about rhythm and editing as “ magic ” (Sheldon Kahn), “ feels
right ” (Carl Kress), “it’s intuitive ” (Bill Pankow), “it’s intuition ” (Paul
Hirsch), “having a sense ” (Donn Cambern), “you just know ” (Sidney
Levin), “exclusively in the realm of intuition ” (Merle Worth), “an inter-
nal sense ” (Richard Marks), and “we go by intuition ” (Alan Heim). 1
These are extremely estimable editors, and there is no question of the
validity of their answers. They are, in my experience, absolutely right,
and if there is one thing this book aims to respect and support, it is
the power of intuition.