On Film Editing : An Introduction to the Art of Film Construction book cover
1st Edition

On Film Editing
An Introduction to the Art of Film Construction

ISBN 9781138584327
Published October 6, 2018 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

In On Film Editing, director Edward Dmytryk explains, in clear and engaging terms, the principles of film editing. Using examples and anecdotes from almost five decades in the film industry, Dmytryk offers a masterclass in film and video editing. Written in an informal, "how-to-do-it" style, Dmytryk shares his expertise and experience in film editing in a precise and philosophical way, contending that all parties on the film crew—from the camera assistant to the producer and director—must understand film editing to produce a truly polished work.

Originally published in 1984, this reissue of Dmytryk’s classic editing book includes a new critical introduction by Andrew Lund, as well as chapter lessons, discussion questions, and exercises.

Table of Contents

Edward Dmytryk: A Short Biography

Introduction by Andrew Lund


  1. Titles and Definitions
  2. Who Cuts the Film?
  3. Smooth Cutting—The Ideal
  4. The Cutter Begins
  5. You’ve Got to Have a Reason
  6. The Action Cut—and What Makes It Work
  7. Keep It Fresh and Fast with the Overlap
  8. Trying a Little Harder
  9. Cutting Dialogue
  10. The Reaction Is What Really Counts
  11. If You Can’t Make It Smooth, Make It Right
  12. Knowing Your Audience
  13. Dissolves: Why, How, and If
  14. Editing—Simple and Pure
  15. More of the Same
  16. Rescuing the Actor
  17. Where It All Began—The Montage


Filmography of Edward Dmytryk

Chapter Notes by Andrew Lund


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Edward Dmytryk (1908-1999) was an Oscar-nominated American filmmaker, educator, and writer. Over an acclaimed forty-year filmmaking career, Dmytryk directed over fifty award-winning films, including Crossfire (1947), The Caine Mutiny (1954), Raintree County (1957), and The Young Lions (1958). Entering academic in the 1970s, Dmytryk lectured on both film and directing, first at the University of Texas at Austin and later at the University of Southern California. He is the author of several classic books on the art of filmmaking, including On Film Editing, On Screen Directing, On Screen Writing, On Screen Acting, and Cinema: Concept & Practice, all published by Focal Press/Routledge.

Andrew Lund (contributor) is Director of the Integrated Media Arts MFA Program and teaches film production at Hunter College CUNY. He received law and film degrees from Columbia University, where he studied with the legendary editor Ralph Rosenblum (The Pawnbroker, Annie Hall). Andrew has edited three films, worked as a producer on ten features, and has written and directed numerous shorts that screened in festivals worldwide and were theatrically distributed. Andrew’s writing on film focuses on the short as an art form.