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

On Film Editing

An Introduction to the Art of Film Construction, 1st Edition

By Edward Dmytryk


184 pages

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Paperback: 9781138584327
pub: 2018-10-06
Hardback: 9781138584310
pub: 2018-09-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429506086
pub: 2018-09-26
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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


About the Authors

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.

About the Series

Edward Dmytryk: On Filmmaking

In the 1980s, Focal Press published five books on the art of filmmaking by legendary film director Edward Dmytryk (1908 – 1999), Oscar-nominated director of Crossfire, The Caine Mutiny, and The Young Lions, among many other films. Together, these five titles comprise a masterclass with one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed, storied, and controversial filmmakers.

With most of these books long out of print, Focal Press/Routledge is now pleased to reissue these classic titles with all-new supplemental material for current-day readers. Each book includes a new introduction, chapter lessons, exercises, discussion questions, and terminology.

Mick Hurbis-Cherrier serves as coordinator for the series, and has assembled professional and academic contributors from across the country to contribute to each volume.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Film & Video
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / Direction & Production