otherworldly visual and sound images; the success of both films is to be credited inpart to Murch's abilities. Even Murch's artistry could not save the dismal productionof
from failure; yet it is undeniable that his effects create the proper auralambience for an Arthurian fantasy. The neo-noirness of
Romeo Is Bleeding
unfortunately did not offer Murch a chance to recreate his stunning effects from
; even Murch's considerable skills as an editor were not up to the taskof rescuing director Medak's confusingly told story from tedium and, frequently,inconsequence. Murch was more successful in editing
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
, based on the complex and often obscure Milan Kundera novel; here Murch isable to articulate the intimate connection between erotic and political events through judicious cutting, though he proved unable to reduce the film to a manageablecommercial length (it runs almost three hours).Murch's most notable recent project, editing the film adaptation of surrealisticMichael Ondratjie novel
The English Patient
, offered Murch even better opportunitiesto create meaning through the editing process, a task whose joys and discontents areexperienced by his closest fictional reflex, the harried private detective and soundengineer of
. The novel's confusingly implausible, even absurd plotwas expertly trimmed by scenarist/director Anthony Minghella, yielding a stillcomplex story of bizarrely intertwined fates; Murch's contribution was to make surethe plot's intricately connected segments of present action and flashback madesense and did not appear to be simply disconcerting fragments. Despite theconsiderable challenge, Murch was extremely successful, making the most of Mighella's fine direction of a talented cast and John Seale's lushly poeticcinematography.
“The Conversaion” – Production notes (from Wikipedia)
On the DVD commentary, Coppola says he was shocked to learn that the film utilizedthe very same surveillance and wire-tapping equipment that members of the NixonAdministration used to spy on political opponents prior to the Watergate scandal.Coppola has said this is the reason the film gained part of the recognition it hasreceived, but that this is entirely coincidental. Not only was the script for TheConversation completed in the mid-1960s (before the Nixon Administration came topower) but that the spying equipment used in the film was discovered throughresearch and the use of technical advisers and not, as many believed, by revelatorynewspaper stories about the Watergate break-in. Coppola also noted that filming of The Conversation had been completed several months before the most revelatoryWatergate stories broke in the press. Since the film wasn't released to theaters untilseveral months after Richard Nixon had resigned, Coppola feels that audiencesinterpreted the film to be a reaction to both the Watergate scandal and its fall-out. The original cinematographer of The Conversation was Haskell Wexler. Severecreative and personal differences with Coppola led to Wexler's firing shortly afterproduction began and Coppola replaced him with Bill Butler. Wexler's footage on TheConversation was completely reshot, except for the technically complex surveillancescene in Union Square. This would be the first of two Oscar-nominated films whereWexler would be fired and replaced by Butler, the second being One Flew Over theCuckoo's Nest (1975), where Wexler had similar problems with Milos Forman.