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Thelma Schoonmaker

Who is Martin Scorsese’s Favorite Editor Since 1980? 

Martin Scorsese is an American multi-awarded film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is also the recipient of several accolades, including Academy Award, Grammy Award, British Academy Film Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Directors Guild of America Awards. With his huge success in the industry, he has truly made an impact in Hollywood. But did you know that he had a favorite editor?

Martin Scorsese, the legendary Hollywood director was best known for his violent gangster films. He has always kept the same female editor, Thelma Schoonmaker. She worked on all of his films since 1980’s Raging Bull.

Thelma Schoonmaker, Martin Scorsese’s Favorite Editor

Thelma Schoonmaker was married to the late English director, Michael Powell. Schoonmaker is an Oscar winner, not just once, but three times. She is cinema’s ultimate backroom heroine, who has worked alongside Martin Scorsese since he made Raging Bull in 1980.

Schoonmaker is a testament to the hidden legacy of women who quietly worked on the films we have watched since the art form first began. 

People think there were fewer women in Hollywood than there were. After all, Cecil B DeMille’s editor, Anne Bauchens, actually won an Oscar, DW Griffith worked with Margaret Booth, and Alfred Hitchcock’s films were edited by his wife, Alma. I welcome the push for more diversity in the industry, it is terrific, of course, but I also hope people understand women were there from the start.

Thelma Schoonmaker

(Source: The Guardian)

Women’s Crucial Role in the Film Industry

According to Schoonmaker, women got their start in the field as film lab assistants.

They were there spooling film in the labs, back when it was just one 100 feet roll. Then Griffith and Sergei Eisenstein in Russia started cutting and editing their films, and directors needed someone to splice the footage together. These women already knew how to handle film.

Thelma Schoonmaker

Schoonmaker also contends women are better physically suited to editing than men since they were more dextrous and were great at multi-tasking.

During the height of Hollywood studios, female editors like Booth at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Barbara McLean at 20th Century Fox became prominent supervisors. They were often brought in to approve or save a film.

But the major thing is we are more cooperative and collaborative. It is not such of an ego thing for a woman somehow. When two people are battling over a movie, it is very bad for the movie.

Thelma Schoonmaker 

Schoonmaker met Scorsese by accident at a New York summer film school, and he began to teach her his technique.

Marty believed he could trust me to do what was right for a movie. My artistic development came through him. We don’t fight and it has been a wonderful collaboration.

Thelma Schoonmaker 

Schoonmaker believes that part of Scorsese’s competence is his ability to think like an editor from the minute he has an idea for a new film.

His favorite part is editing. Without a sense for it, I don’t think you can be a great director.

Thelma Schoonmaker

When Schoonmaker received the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) fellowship, which is the British film industry’s top honor. (Source: The Guardian)

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