Anne Bauchens

1882 – 1967

Anne Bauchens was the main editor for Cecile B. DeMille for forty years. She edited forty-one films for him and twenty for other directors. In 1934 the Academy Award for Film Editing was created and Bauchens received a nomination for editing Cleopatra. Six years later she won for North West Mounted Police, making her the first woman to win the Oscar in that category. Bauchens also got Oscar nominations for The Ten Commandments and The Greatest Show on Earth.

“Many people ask me what film editing is.  I would say it is very much like a jigsaw puzzle, except that in a jigsaw puzzle the little pieces are all cut out in the various forms and you try to fit them together to make a picture, while in cutting films you have to cut your pieces first and then put them together.

Some directors stop work on a picture after the last scene has been shot. Then the producer takes the responsibility and does all the editing with the cutter or editor in the projection room. Other directors work very closely with the cutter and follow the film through until after the preview. A few insist on cutting their own pictures. But they are very scarce.

We must reinterpret the material given us by the director so that the strips of film will assume a rhythmic flow. Our work is highly individual; no two editors work alike. We must rely on our instinct and previous experience to create the pattern. We must maintain the whole greater than the sum of its parts. If the film is poorly cut, the whole sense of the story is lost. If it is well cut, the effectiveness of the story will be considerably increased and it will possess a new unity which would otherwise exist in the director’s mind alone.”

Three extracts from “Cutting the Film” by Anne Bauchens in “We Make the Movies” ed. by Nancy Naumburg, 1937. The full text can be found in the Appendix.