Jack Murray (film editor)

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Jack Murray
Born John Wyncoup Murray, Jr.
May 31, 1900
Georgia
Died February 7, 1961 (1961-02-08) (aged 60)
Los Angeles
Occupation film editor
Bill Gold's theatrical poster for The Searchers (1956), which was directed by John Ford and edited by Jack Murray.

Jack Murray (1900-1961) was an American film editor with about fifty-five feature film credits between 1929 and 1961. Fifteen of these films were with the director John Ford. Their collaboration commenced with The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936), which was produced when both men were working at the 20th Century Fox studio. It encompassed such well-known films as The Quiet Man (1952) and The Searchers (1956), and ended only with Murray's death in 1961.[1][2][3][4]

Essentially nothing has been published about Murray's early life or about the first phase of his career. In this phase, from 1929 - 1939, Murray had more than 30 feature film credits for the 20th Century Fox studio and its predecessors.[5] Among his credits are Will Rogers' final film, In Old Kentucky (1935), and two films starring Shirley Temple (Curly Top (1935) and Poor Little Rich Girl (1936)). In addition to the film with Ford, in this period Murray edited films directed by Irving Cummings, H. Bruce Humberstone, and George Marshall, among others.[2]

After 1939, there are no further feature films crediting Murray until 1947, when he edited a second film with Ford, The Fugitive (1947).[2] This was also the first film produced following the reorganization of Ford's independent production company, Argosy Pictures, which Ford and his partners created to gain more independence of the major studios that controlled most film production in that era.[6][7] Tag Gallagher notes that, while the film was a disastrous start for Argosy, "in terms of composition, lighting and editing, The Fugitive may be among the most enjoyable pictures."[8] Murray's collaboration with Ford continued through seven more films from Argosy Pictures, which folded after producing The Sun Shines Bright (1953).[9] After The Sun Shines Bright, Murray edited six additional films with Ford.[3]

For his studio films after 1947, Ford worked with other editors as well as with Murray. Thus What Price Glory? (1952) was produced at 20th Century Fox and was edited by Dorothy Spencer, who had previously edited Ford's Stagecoach (1939) and My Darling Clementine (1946).[10] Murray edited Mister Roberts (1955), which was produced by Warner Bros.. Murray also occasionally edited with other directors in this period (cf. Tarzan's Peril (1951), The Steel Claw (1961)).[11] Murray's last film with Ford was Two Rode Together (1961); Murray died in 1961.[3]

Among the most celebrated of the films edited by Murray were The Quiet Man (1952) and The Searchers (1956), both directed by Ford and produced independently of the major studios.[12] The Quiet Man received multiple Academy Award nominations, although not for editing.[13] The Searchers was in the first group of 25 films selected in 1989 for the US National Film Registry.[14] It was ranked as the seventh greatest film ever made on the 2012 decennial international survey of film critics by the British Film Institute.[15][16] The period of Murray's collaboration with Ford after 1947 has been summarized by Tag Gallagher as one "distinguished by the vitality of its invention, at every level of cinema, but with particular intensity in montage, motion, and music."[17] The term "montage" refers to the editing of these films. While the individual contributions of Ford and of Murray to the editing of the theatrical release versions of these films aren't well known, Murray was responsible for the first, editor's cuts. Ford rarely set foot in the cutting room.[18][19] Michael A. Hoey worked as Murray's assistant on Sergeant Rutledge (1960). His memoir suggests that Ford did largely entrust the editing of his films to Murray; Hoey writes of the screening of Murray's cut for Ford that it "... went well with surprisingly few notes, but after all Jack Murray had been editing John Ford's films since 1936's The Prisoner of Shark Island and knew the Old Man's taste better than he did himself."[20]

Murray was elected to membership in the American Cinema Editors shortly after its formation in 1950.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "California Death Index (1940-1997): John W Murray, 1961". California Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Section, Sacramento, California.  The 1930 US Census listed John W. Murray, a film editor, living in Los Angeles; see "Rootsweb World Connect Project - Church-Gunkle-Clawson-Paulson".  The 1930 Census listing is Page: Year: 1930; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: 133; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 24; Image: 27.0. Also see "John Wyncoup "Jack" Murray, Jr". Find a Grave. 
  2. ^ a b c Jack Murray at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ a b c "Films with credits for both Jack Murray and John Ford". Internet Movie Database. 
  4. ^ Ford and Murray may have worked together on Steamboat Round the Bend (1935), although Murray is not credited on the film. See Pommer, John E. (July 24, 1994). "The Eyes Had It". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-04-28.  Also see "Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)-Cast & Crew". allmovie. 
  5. ^ See Murray's filmography at the Internet Movie Database. With one exception, the films crediting Murray from 1929–1939 are from the Fox Film Corporation, the 20th Century Film Corporation, and 20th Century Fox. The exception is Back Door to Heaven (1939), which was the sole film produced by Vernon Steele Productions; see "Vernon Steele Productions [us]". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2013-04-28. .
  6. ^ Aberdeen, J. A. (2000). Hollywood Renegades. Cobblestone Entertainment. ISBN 9781890110246. Retrieved 2013-04-26.  This excerpt says that The Quiet Man (1952) was Argosy's last film, which is an error; the last film produced by Argosy Pictures was The Sun Shines Bright (1953). See Gallagher, Tag (1986). John Ford: the man and his films. University of California Press. p. 245. ISBN 9780520063341. 
  7. ^ Gallagher, Tag (1986). John Ford: the man and his films. University of California Press. pp. 219–220. ISBN 9780520063341. 
  8. ^ Gallagher, Tag (1986). John Ford: the man and his films. University of California Press. p. 234. ISBN 9780520063341. 
  9. ^ Murray was the editor for all of Ford's Argosy Pictures productions after The Fugitive; for a listing of the Argosy films see Gallagher, Tag (1986). John Ford: the man and his films. University of California Press. p. 245. ISBN 9780520063341. 
  10. ^ "What Price Glory (1952)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  11. ^ Tarzan's Peril was directed by Byron Haskin, and The Steel Claw was directed by George Montgomery. See Jack Murray at the Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ The Quiet Man was produced by Argosy Pictures. The Searchers was produced by C. V. Whitney Pictures, which was an enterprise of Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney; see Buscombe, Edward (2000). The "Searchers". Macmillan. p. 48. ISBN 9780851708201. 
  13. ^ Nixon, Rob; Stafford, Jeff. "The Quiet Man (1952)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2013-04-25. The Quiet Man won Academy Awards for John Ford for Best Director (his fourth and final Oscar), Winton C. Hoch and Archie Stout for Cinematography. It received Nominations for Best Picture, Screenplay, Art Direction/Set Decoration, Sound, and Supporting Actor (Victor McLaglen).  Murray himself was never nominated for an Academy Award.
  14. ^ "National Film Registry". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  15. ^ "Sight & Sound 2012 Polls". British Film Institute. 2012. 
  16. ^ French, Philip (August 4, 2012). "How Hitchcock's Vertigo eventually topped the Sight & Sound critics' poll". The Guardian. 
  17. ^ Gallagher, Tag (1986). John Ford: the man and his films. University of California Press. p. 245. ISBN 9780520063341. 
  18. ^ Nollen, Scott Allen; Hoey, Michael A. (2013). "Foreword: Working for Mr. Ford". Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond. McFarland. ISBN 9781476601601. I didn't see Mr. Ford again until we ran the editor's cut for him a week after he finished filming. Ford never went to dailies or visited the cutting room, and he relied on Jack Murray's report each day at 4 P.M. after he had viewed the film.  Michael A. Hoey worked as Murray's assistant on Sergeant Rutledge (1960).
  19. ^ Pommer, John E. (July 24, 1994). "The Eyes Had It". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-04-28. ... Ford did not look at dailies. After viewing the previous day's work, Murray would go on the set to report to Ford. After shooting was completed, Murray continued to assemble the first cut without a visit from Ford until he was ready to show the film to Ford. What impressed me most about Ford was his amazing memory. During the screening he obviously had total recall of every detail of every setup that he had staged weeks earlier. He asked for a close-up here, an over-the-shoulder shot there, etc., etc. Only after another screening or two did Ford come to our cutting room for the final touches.  The author of this letter, John E. Pommer, had a long career as an assistant director, and is the son of Erich Pommer; see John Pommer at the Internet Movie Database. In his letter, Pommer states that he was Jack Murray's assistant on Steamboat Round the Bend (1935), although Alfred de Gaetano was credited as the film's editor (see "Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)-Cast & Crew". allmovie. )
  20. ^ Hoey, Michael A. (2007). Elvis, Sherlock and Me: How I Survived Growing Up in Hollywood. BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1593931223. OCLC 191870002. Jack had an interesting method of editing. He would arrive in the morning with the Daily Racing Form under his arm, spend an hour picking out his choices and a few minutes on the phone with his bookie, then settle down in front of his moviola and speed through the dailies from the previous day. He finish editing the sequence by noon, go off for his three-martini lunch, and then nap until four o'clock when we'd view the dailies and then he'd go down to the set and give his daily report to the "Skipper." 
  21. ^ Murray's credit in The Quiet Man (1952) is for "Jack Murray, A.C.E."; the designation A.C.E. indicates membership in the American Cinema Editors. See McNee, Gerry (2012). In the Footsteps of the Quiet Man: The Inside Story of the Cult Film. Random House. p. 7. ISBN 9781780574691. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gallagher, Tag (1986). John Ford: the man and his films. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520063341. OCLC 10100654.  Gallagher has made this book freely available for download; see "Tag Gallagher". Retrieved 2013-04-22.  Page numbers in the e-book do not match the numbering of the 1986 printed version.