Our Apologies. The Jule Selbo Event is Sold Out.
She has been "Touched by An Angel" and "Undressed." Intimately involved with "Young Indiana Jones," "Models," and "Hercules and the Amazon Women." Told "Tales From the Darkside" at "Melrose Place." And made "Cinderella's" dreams come true with a sweet, lonely "Hunchback of Notre Dame.
"Rush" (not the movie or the other TV series) is like any doctor show you can imagine - on steroids. And I wouldn't doubt it if the main character wasn't actually on steroids - he ingests everything else. Everything. Ev-ery-thing.
Let me see if I can encapsulate my feelings about the pilot episode:
Rinse and repeat.
The main character, William P. Rush as played by Wales actor Tom Ellis is a hard partying doctor who will do just about 1) anyone, 2) any drug or 3) anything for a buck - or, er, actually lots of bucks because usually his clients want to remain "off the grid" for whatever medical procedure they're calling him for and they pay handsomely.
Bank. Moola. Cashola - he thrives on it.
What can I say about Comicon that hasn't already been said? Not much. It's too big. over-crowded, hot, noisy, messy, difficult and just about every negative thing you can imagine at a convention. It's also weird, wonderful, unique, mind-numbing and mind-blowing and just the hardest fun you'll ever have.
I didn't love "Snowpiercer." But it is a solid action story (once you get past the unbelievable parts) with great production values and good acting.
The storyline: In the year 2014, global warming has created a horrifying situation for the human race. To combat it, we seed the clouds (I guess) with a chemical that will cool the planet down. This isn't all entirely clear but the result is the Earth freezes solid and kills off humanity except for those lucky enough to board a train with an eternal engine that continually circumnavigates the globe. Yeah. Uh huh. That could happen.
Not a huge Guillermo del Toro fan. I respect his work and his unique visions but most of his stuff is just meh for me. Probably because "Hellboy" isn't my cuppa and I haven't seen "Pacific Rim" at this point - which I hear is great. In-between are various likes and dislikes. I do like some of his work - just don't love it like say, Ridley Scott. Yet. He is most definitely, for me, an acquired taste. But this new series has me appreciating him more and more.
The first time I saw a personal computer it felt like that moment in a romantic comedy when the hero/heroine sees the man or woman of their dreams. I swear I stopped breathing for a period of time. My heart raced. I was gobsmacked and moonstruck. So, yeah, when I say I'm a geek trust that I am.
Because of a film project I'm currently involved in I was unable to attend the opening of the Newport Beach Film Festival. I was doing story meetings with a producer who had flown in from North Carolina and we worked from Friday to Sunday. The reason I mention this at all is because of some things that happened Saturday night, when I did attend, that involved him. More on that later.
My first impressions of the festival this year, its 15th year, are overwhelmingly positive even at this early point. There's something different about this year. It's the same basic NBFF but there's more energy, excitement. The volunteers have always been the best part of the festival - enthusiastic, personable, wonderful people who spend a great part of their lives giving to this event to make it fun and easy to attend. But beyond that, there's just such a tremendous sense of professionalism in every facet that hasn't always been a part of this great event.
In The Immortal Augustus Gladstone—a fake documentary written by, directed by, and starring Robyn Miller in the titular role—a film crew arranges an extended interview with a vampire to learn more about his claims and the people in his life. It’s a fun idea that mixes the fantastic and the mundane in some unexpected ways, but it has no focus. It’s quirky, but not sharply so, and maybe too interested in itself to make an attempt to draw viewers in. It feels like some very talented graphic designers, set designers, and camera operators got together to make a movie based on a few plot beats scribbled on a napkin. If any story was intended, it’s lost in a dry slog through endless interviews.
Much like Augustus' claim of being a vampire, it’s all words, words, words, without much to back any of it up. There is too little attention put towards capturing moments as they happen, so not much happens at all. Emblematic of the film as a whole, Augustus’ trip to the doctor—which feels like a major setpiece with so little else happening—ends with a non-diagnosis. A medical professional attests vaguely that there is something seriously wrong with Augustus, which we already knew.
The story on Wednesday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, was the size of the crowds that had come from all over the world to preview the upcoming films from Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures, meet and hear director Christopher Nolan discuss filmmaking, screenwriting, and the current state of movies, and as a bonanza, see the first laser projector, (only costing $120,000) present movies with the brightest colors and picture ever seen, accompanied by Dolby Atmos sound which blows away anything else, and brings you right into the picture.
Perhaps, though, the most notable thing was how screenplays have been uplifted and the bar has been raised, as filmmakers want every area to be beyond perfect and screenwriting has taken a prime seat.
Disney began the day providing a special breakfast treat for everyone when Angelina Jolie stepped out before the crowd to discuss her project for Disney, “Maleficent,” which will hit theatres for Memorial Day Weekend, and what a weekend that will be. Jolie is magnificent as the evil queen of “Sleeping Beauty” and the backstory of what happened to turn her into the mean antagonist most foul that makes Lady Macbeth look like a saint. This is one masterpiece of film, and Jolie is just brilliant in the role. The story is superb, and only Disney could pull this story off so well without becoming caught in the web of the original animated feature. Mark this one down as a definite yes.
The lineup for Disney is big, and kicks off in a few weeks with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” This one is also from a great screenplay, with Steve Rogers battling the demons of living in the present, and, so appropriate for the current moment in world events because he must battle a Soviet agent called The Winter Soldier. The last CA was a blast, this one takes us where we have not gone with this character, rich in depth, story, and great sideplots.
Disney wouldn’t be Disney without animation, and has “Planes, Fire, and Rescue,” a spinnoff from “Cars.” Disney also reboots “Cinderella,” with a live-action film directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Cate Winslett, Hayley Atwell, and Helena Bonham Carter, and this is also no child’s play but a stunning and great story written by Chris Weitz.
Another film screened was the Jon Hamm starer, “Million Dollar Arm,” just in time for the baseball season to begin, with a great story of a slightly out there sports agent who plots to get some Indian cricket players into the big leagues.
And “Big Hero 6,” is Marvel’s first project at Disney and what a project it is. Disney Animation did the work on this homage to big screen heroes in a story where the government recruits a young robotic prodigy to enlist the help of six friends to all become crimefighters and defend the world’s biggest city from a gang of very nefarious criminals.
Christopher Nolan discussed his career and what made him make film. He said that what’s inside a character also drives them as much as the external pressures they face, and he really likes to present complex protagonists rather than black and white. And in his latest project, “Intersteller,” that is what he does to carry off an amazing tale of a spaceship who discovers a wormhole to travel vast differences that are beyond human capability of the moment in the film, and what a film. Matthew McConnaughy, strait out of Oscar-land, follows up with a role that he brings more interest to than Captain Kirk. Wow. He is joined by a cast including Jessica Chastain, Wes Bently, Ann Hathaway, and a great group of professionals who give such gravitas to the film, including Ellen Burstyn, William Devane, and John Lithgow.
Sony president Rory Bruer hosted Sony’s lineup, and it is big. It included a screening of “The Amazing Spiderman 2” in 3D, and also, the bar has been raised on this one, as Peter Parker learns that there is a price to pay for being Spiderman. The film gives the richest portrait yet of Peter Parker, as well as perhaps the meanest group of villains to ever come along – from Electro, played by Jamie Foxx, to Rhino, played by Paul Giammati, to Green Goblin and more – all with one thing in common – the nefarious Oscorp. It is a great action story, but also with human elements that make a superman at times less than normal.
“Heaven Is for Real” is based on the epic best-seller and true story of a young boy who dies and revives and tells the story of what he saw in Heaven. This film was done by the quasi-faith based arm of Sony that has sensed that pictures with God don’t have to be “The Ten Commandments” to command an audience. Writers take note, this field is wide open to you.
“Mom’s Night Out” starring Sara Drew, is a hilarious tale of several moms who just want a night out away from family and children, and with children being watched by husbands, what could go wrong? This great little story is well written and gives “Home Alone” a run for its money.
And together again are Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in “22 Jump Street” a riotous tale of the two pals who have graduated high school and now go undercover on a college campus. And with all the wild activity on a campus, these two cold be straight out of “Wolf of Wall Street.” It is very funny and will leave you wanting a sequel. Again.
Another sequel is “Think Like a Man Too,” directed by Tim Story, based on Steve Harvey’s bestseller (Harvey is a favorite of females of all ages, from 15 to 90, with a surprising group of seniors loving him.) The whole cast is back for a wedding inVegas, but so many hilarious things go wrong, the whole story gets upended and is what a hilarious surprise it becomes.
“Deliver Us From Evil,” is one hell of a frightener, with Eric Bana as a troubled NYPD detective Ralph Sarchie, who joins with a priest played by Edgar Ramirez, who really knows exorcism, to battle demonic forces gripping the city with disturbing and unexplainable crimes and murders. Based on the true book by Sarchie, this is one that will give you sleepless nights.
“The Equalizer” was based off the old television series, but this one way beyond equal. Denzel Washington is an ex-black ops agent living quietly who must come from retirement to battle a group of murderous Russian gangsters bent on taking over the world. Washington puts this character on par with James Bond, he is simply magnificent. And this has action and suspense the entire film, and is written by Richard Wenk and stars Denzel, Bill Pullman, and Melissa Leo as the good guys. I don’t know how these writers do it, but they come up with never before seen ideas for such suspenseful and big adventures for the characters, it will rock you.
Additionally, Sony has remade “Annie” for Christmas, and it for sure looks like a winner.
Coming in October, James Franco and Seth Rogan star in a comedy film made by the producers of Pineapple Express and written by Rogen, et al, that will split more than your sides. The plot has Franco playing a popular tv show host who is watched daily by dictator Kim Jong-Un of North Korea. Franco is asked by the CIA if he and Rogen could go over to Korea and assassinate Jong, which leads to the most inept assassination plot in history. And very, very funny.
At the end of the day, laser technology dazzled audiences as film scenes were played on digital projection, which is very intense color, and then on laser projection. The laser is the future and a big wow to it, a very big wow.
Additionally, OCSreenwriters got a few minutes with director Ivan Reitman, which we will bring you tomorrow.
Lastly, The Will Rogers Pioneer of the Year Dinner, a huge event attended by everyone from every studio, theatre owners, writers, producers, directors, everyone in the business, and hosted by Jeffery Katzenberg, was a tear jerker, as the entire industry honored Tom Sherak. Sherak passed away two months ago, just after being named by LA mayor Gil Garcetti as LA Film Czar.
Sherak was the model that no one ever sees of Hollywood, yet he ruled the town right up to his death, from heading several studios, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to devoting himself and everyone around him to helping others. All of us have attended charity functions he championed, where he brought the best in entertainment to help raise money for those in need. We have all sat everywhere from the vast Century Plaza Hotel ballroom to the intimate Beverly Hills Hotel, and he brought so many of us together for a cause.
He was the legend that raised billions of dollars for charities, including MS, as his daughter suffered from it; he was the legend who could raise money for charity in a second, finance a film in the next minute, and assist a dog breeder in Pennsylvania as well as get a script from a newcomer to Hollywood to be read.If Tom liked anything, the whole town did. Yet media portray Hollywood as cold and greedy, when Sherek led the pack for the last 25 years at being beyond helpful, but also not afraid to sacrifice for others, especially those in need.
And though the man who really ran Hollywood from top to bottom had many titles, his favorite was “Official Advisor” to the LA Dodgers, as he had followed them since his childhood in Brooklyn.
Tom was the man everyone called for everything. If your picture didn’t open good, Tom was there, and if you were out of money, Tom was there. So much in the town revolves because of his love for the city, and most of all his love for people and sharing everything with them. He started a fund for people in the industry who were older, called Pioneers, and it pays medical bills and so much more for people who worked their lives in the industry.
A tribute doc was put together that showed how Sherak, though so powerful, was till best friends with his childhood buddies from Brooklyn and visited each other, and the two best friends he had in service during Vietnam, very often. Their words, the words of everyday people, showed the enormity of Sherak and what he had done for Hollywood. Every star gave tributes, and everyone closed with Sherak’s famous goodbye line every time he closed a conversation – “Whatever you do, have fun.” Sherak said “we were the most fortunate people in the world to be in this business, it is so great, so inspiring, so interesting and even though we face many valleys, this business is so much fun.”
Those words touched everyone, and it was almost a 60’s LoveFest in the room as the Four Tenors, a phenomenal quartet from Canada, sang a song Sherak loved, “Nessun Dorma,” and closed the night.
If you are reading this, and you are in the business, you know it’s true – it’s fun. So long, Tom Sherak.
Nobody shall sleep!...
Nobody shall sleep!
Even you, o Princess,
in your cold room,
watch the stars,
that tremble with love and with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me,
my name no one shall know...
On your mouth I will tell it when the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!...
(No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.)
Vanish, o night!
Set, stars! Set, stars!
At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!
Lorenzo P. is currently stalking the highways and byways of CinemaCon for OC Screenwriters. Thanks, Buddy!
What a great second day at CinemaCon 2014. Universal Studios has a huge lineup of diverse film, and Universal has been on a roll, and with the upcoming slate, will continue that roll through this year. And Lionsgate with director Ivan Reitman at the helm brought out a film that established Kevin Costner as one of the best actors of our age, as well as giving us a film set against a sports backdrop that will literally take your breath away.
Universal Distribution President, Nikki Rocco, presented their lineup and the stars to a jam-packed Coliseum Theatre at Caesar’s Palace of industry people and media from throughout the world.
Universal screened Neighbors in its entirety, and footage from Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West; The Purge: Anarchy; Fast & Furious 7, with a great tribute to Paul Walker; the James Brown bio pic – Get on Up; Fifty Shades of Grey; the great sequel, Dumb and Dumber To; the animated Minions, which is a spin-off from the hugely successful Despicable Me; Angelina Jolie directed Unbroken; Luc Besson’s Lucy, which stars Scarlett Johansson.
“Neighbors” stars Seth Rogen and Zac Effron and is a bawdy comedy that had industry insiders roaring and this will be big for Universal, as it is in the model of “Ted” and just as funny, if not funnier.
Seth MacFarlane the creator of “Ted” was up next with his “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” which is a hilarious take off on many of the western dramas of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood, and has a great group of stars carrying it off.
And certainly, everyone was in awe and gave a standing ovation to Angelina Jolie as she presented “Unbroken”, the unbelievable story of Louis Zamperini, who was no ordinary prisoner of war, and who’s exploits in WWII are legendary. This was originally supposed to be a Universal vehicle for Tony Curtis, in 1959, but never got made. Jolie found the script, and the rest, as they say in Hollywood, is legend.
Another treat was the first footage seen from “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and even the execs at Universal hadn’t seen this yet.
Scarlett Johansson stars in Luc Besson’s “Lucy”, a sci-fi action film that keeps you on the edgfe of your seat, and Besson is a master of that format.
And now, 20 years later we get a sequel that got the audience laughing so loud it had to have been heard up and down the strip – “Dumb and Dumber To” and Jim Carrey is back in a big way in this film as well as Jeff Daniels when Carrey wakes up from a 20 year stay in an institution.
“Get On Up” is directed by Tate Taylor, who directed “The Help,” is the bio of James Brown, and no matter if you know Brown or not, you will be up out of your seat jamming in the aisles on this fantastic look into Brown’s life.
Most people were stunned at “The Purge: Anarchy,” which was a sequel to last year’s big hit, but this one has a great storyline, that for twelve hours, once a year, all crime is legal, including murder.
But again, the story was Costner himself in this film skillfully guided by Reitman's sure directorial hand. He carries this film in every scene, and the dramas and humors that build around him are played like no one else. He is back like you have never seen him before, and he has risen in stature as a real star who is also a great actor, just as Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart.
And the story is so great, with all the action taking place in one day, and the screen gets time of day at different spots to highlight the enormity of the day and build on the intense pressure to find not only the best player, but players that will sell season tickets and create fan devotion.
The cutbacks and split screens on phone calls was done so well the moviegoer was in on the call.
Great kudos to Costner, the screenwriter, and the director, Reitman, for pulling this off, and it is a huge picture that opens in April. This picture is perfect in what is defined as great, from the opening scene to the credits this is a great film in the long tradition of Hollywood films that engage the moviegoer immediately into the action and the character, and we feel the enormity of the stakes from the first scene.
Thank you, Universal, and thank you very much, Lionsgate.
Lorenzo P. is currently stalking the highways and byways of CinemaCon for OC Screenwriters. Thanks, Buddy!
Hello to OC Screenwriters and our web followers around the country and to all the ships at sea.
Day One at CinemaCon 2014 in Las Vegas, where its been home for more than thirty years, kicked off at Caesar’s Palace, with a preview of the entire week and in addition to the film stars, the largest film convention in the world, with every major studio and producers, directors and stars attending from around the world, soon to be standard technological achievements in everything from cameras used in filming to advanced popcorn poppers was teased to an audience of more than 20,000.
Paramount lit the fireworks that started CinemaCon. The annual convention where theatre owners from all over the world gather in Las Vegas and meet and greet the stars and hear what product will be offered over the next six months from the studios, had Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Will Arnett delighting the huge crowd with story after story of their upcoming films for Paramount to be released by summer.
Paramount presented its product reel of glimpses from summer films that included Transformers: Age of Extinction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hercules, and 3D SpongeBob.
Rob Moore, executive vice chairman of Paramount, introduced their upcoming films and welcomed stars to the stage to greet the audience of National Association of Theatre Owners, and Mitch Nuehauser, the CinemaCon managing director dropped down from the ceiling wearing a Ron Burgundy costume from the film.
Dwayne Johnson walked through the crowd and took the stage, and had a few words about his role as Hercules. “Before we started shooting Hercules, I agreed the goal was for me t completely disappear into the character, including hair, makeup, and prosthetic penis.”
"Before we started shooting Hercules, Paramount, MGM and I made a pact," he told the crowd. "The goal was for me to completely disappear into the character -- hair, makeup, prosthetic penis."
Johnson, in the clips of the film screened, battled enormous armies and giant boars, and wore a lion’s head as his battle helmet.
Will Arnett introduced “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, which have come a long way from their earlier relatives of the early 1990’s. The film clips were awesome, as the Turtles are computer graphic created and the whole group were wisecracking and funny as most teens are.
Mark Wahlberg said he took the role in Transformers to work with Michael Bay, and that it wouldn’t let anyone down and would blow us away. And that is exactly what happened when a portion of the film was screened, and this is like no Transformer movie ever seen. Bay has raised the bar a great deal and the creations were beyond imagination.
In the film, Wahlberg is an inventor who discovers a Transformer, and his daughter becomes a hostage, and Wahlberg has to rescue her. Easy enough? No way. These Transformers go way beyond the determined menace of even the Terminator. This film will be huge.
Special treats today will include studio film previews of the summer, and the latest technological advancements, including laser projection, which will leave digital far behind, and also a special showing of new 4D, yes that’s right, 4D.
And no good convention that celebrates Hollywood would be without cocktail parties, food created by chefs from around the world, and music by well-known recording artists.
You heard it first, right here!
Day Two starts at 8 AM.
Lorenzo Porricelli reporting for OC Screenwriters
CinemaCon - 2014
One of the greatest influences in my life was by a gentleman named Rudi Fehr. He was not only my mentor, but was my dear friend. I first met Rudi in my freshman year at California Institute of the Arts, while attending his editing course. He must’ve seen something in that quiet, frightened and lonely boy I once was because he quickly took me under his wing and we became fast friends. Rudi had great patience. He would always listen attentively, never growing impatient with my constant chatter, never taking sides if I was having a disagreement with my parents and was always willing to give sagely advice when necessary.
Rudi is gone now, but there isn’t a day that passes for me without a thought of him, remembering him with a certain amount of magical awe. I have often spoken about the love and respect I have for Rudi, but I realize the unfortunate fact that nobody really knows about this incredible man. Therefore, to honor my dear friend I would like to share with my readers, the life of Rudi Fehr.
The life of Rudi Fehr is an incredibly rich story of an immigrant refugee. He rebuilt his livelihood in the United Statesand has left a cinematic legacy to the classic Hollywoodstudio era. Rudi joined Warner Bros in 1936 as a film editor until attaining producer status in 1952. In 1954, Rudi was elected to the board of governors of the Academyof Motion Pictures Artsand Sciences. After retiring from Warner Bros. in 1976, he returned in 1977 to supervise foreign language adaptations of the studio’s films for France, Germany, Italyand Spain. In 1980 Rudi joined Zoetrope Productions and worked with Frances Ford Coppola. He returned to the editing bench in 1984 to gain an Oscar nomination for John Huston’s black comedy Prizzi’s Honor.
A native of Berlin, Germany, Rudi was born on July 6, 1911and studied at the Lyceum Alpinum in Switzerland. “I really intended to be a diplomat,” Rudi once told me of his early years in Berlin, but, because of the Hitler regime and his ethnic background, it was not possible. So he studied music and wanted to be a symphony conductor.
Rudi’s father was a banker on the board of one of the leading German film combines, Tobis-Klangfilm. He arranged a job for his son to work as an apprentice film editor and within months Rudi was editing his first film, Der Schlemiel (1931). Rudi worked for the producer Sam Spiegel in Germany, then in Austriaand Englandafter the Nazis came to power.
Upon his arrival to the United Stateslate on night in 1936, Rudi had barely stepped off the ocean liner when he was detained by an immigrations official. Apparently the immigrations official was concerned that Rudi was trying to smuggle the numerous musical instruments he had brought with him from Germanythrough customs. Tried as he might to explain to the immigrations official he played all the instruments, the man wouldn’t believe him and insisted that Rudi would play every instrument present. Rudi warmly recalled, “So I graciously obliged the official by taking up each instrument and serenading him while standing on a New Yorkpier on a beautiful evening.”
He moved on to Warner Bros’ studios at Burbank, California, initially translating German films into English, then becoming an assistant to the editor Warren Low on such notable productions as The Life of Emile Zola (1937), starring Paul Muni, and Jezebel (1938), starring Bette Davis. My Love Came Back (1940) with Olivia de Havilland was the first feature he edited himself. While cutting Million Dollar Baby (1941), he met one of its supporting players, Maris Wrixon, who later became his wife.
Of his early work, Rudi said, “I was especially pleased with Watch on the Rhine (1943). The director had never made a film before and I worked with him day and night to lay out all the shots.” This was Herman Shumlin, who had directed the hugely successful stage original on Broadway and was fine with the actors (Paul Lukas and Bette Davis) but had no idea of film technique.
Working at Warner Bros, Rudi had little choice in the films he cut. “Each of the major studios produced about 60 pictures annually. The picture that started shooting was assigned to the editor who had just finished a show,” he explained to our class. Editors worked in varied genres and had little or no opportunity to impose a style of their own. In fact, when asked whether there was such a thing as a style that would identify a particular editor, he responded: “In my humble opinion, absolutely not!”
Many of his films were routine, but A Stolen Life (1946) had the visual intricacy of Bette Davis playing the dual role of two sisters, initially on screen at the same time, and Humoresque (1946) presented John Garfield as an outstanding violinist, dubbed by Isaac Stern. Garfieldhad to be carefully filmed and edited as he couldn’t play a note. He kept his arms behind his back in close-ups while a member of the studio orchestra perched on each side of him, their hands coming into frame to do the fingering and bowing. John Huston’s tense crime drama Key Largo(1948), with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, was another plum that landed in Rudi’s lap.
The production chief Jack L. Warner came to place great value on Rudi’s taste and judgment, and in 1952, without asking him first, promoted him to a producer. But, after handling the mediocre 1953 remake of the musical The Desert Song, Rudi escaped back to the cutting rooms, where he had the great satisfaction of editing two Alfred Hitchcock thrillers in a row. I Confess (1953) was shot in Quebec, but Rudi remained in Burbankto look at each day’s rushes as they were processed, phoning Hitchcock with his comments. The footage went off to Canadafor Hitchcock to view, then back to Rudi to start editing.
Despite the director’s reputation for “storyboarding” his films and “cutting in the camera”, Rudi recalled, “I never saw any set-ups he had thought of before. I never saw anything on paper. With I Confess, he shot a lot of film because he knew he couldn’t go back to Quebecto retake it.” The second Hitchcock film, Dial M for Murder (1954), produced much less footage, being shot mostly on one set at Burbank, but Rudi again saw no evidence of preconceived editing by the director. “He gave me a completely free hand. He never told me how to do anything. He looked at the film after I finished my first cut and gave me few changes – never more than five or six. I got along with him just famously. It was the most pleasant association I’ve ever had in my career.” Dial M for Murder was shot in 3-D. Rudi had earlier cut the horror hit House of Wax (1953) in that short-lived process and found that it made no significant difference to his work other than to ensure that the 3-D highlights, like a ping-pong ball leaping out of the screen, were presented to maximum effect.
When Rudi did accept an executive position in 1955, it was as Warners’ head of post-production. He viewed the rushes of all the films in production each day with Jack Warner and oversaw their editing. He was also required to accompany the studio chief on the five-minute walk from the cutting room to his office, so that Warner could avoid being collared by people he didn’t want to see by pretending he was too busy discussing an editing crisis. “I never asked for special favors, even though I was alone with him two hours a day while we went over rushes,” Rudi related to me: “Once, my wife convinced me to ask for a two-week vacation; we wanted to go to Arrowhead. Warner’s answer was, ‘Rudi, when I’m here, you are here. When I take my vacation, you take your vacation.’ Finally, Warner did take his vacation. I went to his right-hand man and asked for my vacation. He said, “Are you crazy? Do you want me to carry the ball for you too? I need you now more than ever.” So he said no; and therefore from 1956 to 1963 I didn’t have one day off.”
Rudi became a skilled diplomat and intermediary between executives, producers and directors, trying to get all sides to agree to editing changes. He specially supervised the foreign-language versions of the Jack Warner production of My Fair Lady (1964) in order to make them as good as the English version. He remained at the studio 10 years after Jack Warner relinquished power. He managed to get on with the next generation of innovative filmmakers.
After retiring from Warner Bros in 1976, he joined Francis Ford Coppola at Zoetrope, working on post-production of Apocalypse Now (1979) and as the supervising editor on One from the Heart (1982). In 1984, when John Huston asked him to edit Prizzi’s Honor, Rudi exclaimed, “But the last time I edited was in 1954!” “Oh, it’ll come back to you,” responded Huston. Rudi went to work. “The toughest problem was to cut 28 minutes out of a two-and-a-half-hour cut. I thought that Huston was going to do that, but I was told it was my responsibility.” Working on the picture with his daughter Kaja, he cut it down to an effective 129 minutes.
Rudi’s crowning achievement was in 1983, when he was presented with the Grand Medal of Merit by the President of West Germany. In 1990 he joined the California Institute of the Arts faculty, worked on foreign-language versions, and chaired the committee for the foreign film Academy Award, and in that year was honored by the Landof Berlin, which presented him with the Medal of Merit. In March of 1993, Rudi received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Cinema Editors.
Rudi passed away on April 16, 1999.