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  • A Long Time Ago, in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away

  • My Fifty Years Editing Hollywood Hits - Star Wars, Carrie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Mission: Impossible, and More
  • By: Paul Hirsch
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 15 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Art
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

Non-member price: $38.97

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Publisher's Summary

A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away is a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most influential films of the last 50 years by Paul Hirsch, a film editor who worked on more than 40 features. 

Starting with his work on Carrie, Hirsch gives insight into the production process, touching upon casting, directing, cutting, and scoring. It’s a riveting look at the decisions that went into creating memorable and iconic scenes and offers fascinating portraits of filmmakers, stars, and composers.

Part film-school primer, part paean to legendary directors and professionals, the funny yet insightful writing will entertain and inform aficionados and casual moviegoers alike.

©2019 Paul Hirsch (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about A Long Time Ago, in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away

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Great for film fans, not too technical

This book is both informative and insightful. Covering the realities of the editing process and how it shapes a film, along with intriguing insights from Hirsch, as he was up close with famous filmmakers making many big hits and some notable misses. It may seem dry at first as you work out the author’s perspective, but it’s definitely worth sticking with it as it becomes progressively more and more riveting. I’m off to rewatch the films covered. First up is Blow Out, with its scenes weaving the analog film and sound gear in with the drama.

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Great book about movie editors life!

Loved the book. If you're into film making and want to know how a movie editor can bring a movie to life. This is the book for you. I have learnt a lot about Paul Hirsch! Sir, you are now one of my heroes.
The narration is on point as well.

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  • E. Terrell
  • 12-05-2021

Enjoyable listen for fans of film and film Editing

I listened to all 15 hrs of this over the course of a month or so. I have to say, the beginning was a lot more interesting, hearing about how he got in the business working alongside Brian DePalma and then of course editing the first two Star Wars films. After a while though it gets a bit repetitive, though never outright boring. Some of the films he made later on he barely mentions at all, assuming no one cares. I wanted to know more about Raising Cain but he pretty much glossed over it. It started to get a little more interesting at the end though as his role changes a bit. Overall, an enjoyable listen with a good presentation.

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  • Paul D Lindgren
  • 24-11-2019

A fascinating look “behind the curtain”..

A great longitudinal look at the development of a film editor and his career. It is peppered with fun and insightful morsels from films, both hits and disasters.

The performer was an excellent choice, it was easy to imagine that the author was reading his own work.

Very enjoyable audio book.

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  • John
  • 12-12-2019

Fantastic Book

Loved everything about this book. I happen to be a filmmaker, so I knew first hand many of things Mr. Hirsch addresses in the book, but even people unfamiliar with moviemaking will find this book a fascinating peek behind the curtain, as well as a wonderful account of a life well lived telling stories.

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  • Parker Posey
  • 17-12-2020

Very Enjoyable!

Having spent many hours in a Avid Bay shaping storylines this book was an obvious choice.

It delivered too! His ascend in Hollywood working on Star Wars and Ray were especially interesting as was the times he went to London working on the score for various films. It was neat seeing the many connections and people who disappointed Paul. It’s also a little sad the friends you make only to realize many decades later many are short term when you run into them or they pop up as you ended up never seeing them again. Although this book is in my wheelhouse; I finish it by thinking anyone who loves Hollywood and movies just a little bit will enjoy this book.

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  • BillyS
  • 11-07-2021

Fabulous story

Very well told and insightful! And the performance is fantastic. If you are a film buff this one is well worth your time!

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  • Thomas J. Terence
  • 05-06-2021

Great, funny, sad, basically all the emotions!

This is just a informed and illuminating book about a little understood part of the filmmaking process.

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  • avidediter
  • 26-04-2021

an editors review

recommended to anyone starting in the film business. Learn to navigate the creative personalities early

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-03-2021

Outstanding!

Paul Hirsch describes himself as, “having a charmed life” while talking about his extraordinary career. This book is a wonderful mix of the technical side of editing and the personal relationships you form in the business. Along with that, the stories behind so many legendary directors, actors, and films we’ve come to love are all unique and very entertaining. This is a must for any movie fan and I highly recommend it

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  • StackofDimes
  • 01-02-2021

A must for any 70’s/80’s film nerd

Confession: I’m a big De Palma fan, and this book delivered on some great stories from Paul & Brian’s collaborations. My only wish is that Paul had gone into more detail on putting together keys scenes on Raising Cain and Mission:Impossible like he did with Carrie. His description of constructing the finale in Carrie is wonderful. Another highlight are the stories of working with Barnard Herrmann.

It leaves you wanting more, which I suppose is what a great editor would want. Maybe there will be a sequel??

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  • Brad Crisler
  • 02-01-2021

Excellent, coherent and transparent.....

Unlike many Hollywood bios, this one, by arguably the finest editor of the '80s, is transparent and humble and resonates truthfulness that is refreshing and informative. Hirsch's love and respect of and fascination with his particular field is apparent through the telling of his own interesting narrative while the grudges and bitterness that is usually present in many of these types of bios is noticeably absent. Well worth the time.

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  • Jim 8888
  • 14-07-2021

Just a bit too Long

I enjoyed this audiobook but felt it just went on a bit too long. (Thankfully, it didn't go on too long about editing Star Wars, which I worried it might). The book is full of interesting anecdotes about filmmaking and the people involved in it, with candid takes on personalities and stars involved in the process. Although the author could, I felt, claim much more credit on what an editor can add to a film, he allows the process to do the talking and you do leave the book thinking that this editing business has a much bigger influence on final cuts than previously thought (if you thought at all about it). The narrator has a very warm and comforting voice and by the end of the book I was pretty damn envious of Paul Hirsch's career, although it does seem that there were a lot of worrying times when the next project was never guaranteed. His personal network, editing skill and a little bit of luck played a much bigger role than any ambitious self-promotion, which the author is pleased to admit. In summary, I liked the book, the narrator and the man who wrote the story, so you can't ask for much more (except a bit of editing!)

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  • Hugo Menendez
  • 13-02-2021

Chock full of great stories. Recommended!

I didn’t want it to end, Paul is a fantastic storyteller and the book is packed with great advice and laugh out loud anecdotes. Top Banana!

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  • IX
  • 05-01-2021

Excellent insights to a poorly understood role

Film editor has to be one of the most misunderstood jobs in movie making. For the longest time I thought it was just the person that put the bits together in the machine. It was years later before I understood their pivotal role in constructing the story, the atmosphere, creating the beats etc in a way possibly more profound than the director.

This book is an excellent read, covering a broad range of films and describes well the actual artistic processes, the thoughts, mindsets and even the politics that get wrapped up in it all. It was also interesting to discover more about the business side, financing, how people get involved in projects and why.

For any fan of film, this is a great read and highly recommended.

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  • JT
  • 21-12-2020

A perfect listen

I don’t know much about editing or the stuff behind “pictures” but the passion, the story and the narration really drew me in. There was a real humour and warmth to it and I’m pleased I picked this. If you’re looking to listen to something a bit different- give this a go.

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  • Francesca D.
  • 17-09-2020

Fascinating insight into Hollywood production

This is a great book for those interested in the behind the scenes action, or if you're thinking of pursuing a career in editing.

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  • T. M. Howsam
  • 28-02-2020

Editing an enigma

Paul Hirsch has written an amazing in site to Paul’s work abd an interesting insight to the life of a film editor

Brilliant !!!

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  • Acky
  • 05-01-2020

From one film editor to another, salute!

I bought this book as I’m also a film editor and wanted to learn about the legend, Paul Hirsch. He’s rubbed shoulders with the greatest and remains grounded.

It did not disappoint in his anecdotes and is explained in a layman’s style suitable for anyone with an interest in the film industry. It was interesting to hear his approach to specific cuts which are now ingrained in film history.

The performance is well read and I can imagine Paul speaking in this way.

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