Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Oscar-winning film editor Anne V. Coates passes away

Oscar-winning film editor Anne V. Coates passes away

Coates was responsible for one of the most famous match cuts of all time in Lawrence of Arabia, which saw lead actor Peter O'Toole blow out a match as the scene changed to a desert sunrise. However, she was determined to work in the film industry.

After Lean returned from shooting in the desert and in Spain, he and Coates spent a lot time in the cutting room.

On Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), she shared editing credit with Lisa Gunning and Debra-Neil Fisher. "We were working seven days a week, all hours of the day and night", she said, "because arrangements were made for a big premiere with the queen, and you don't alter the queen's dates". "Things like hairdressing didn't really interest me", she told Giardina.

Her first credit as a film editor came in 1952 with "The Pickwick Papers", a retelling of the Charles Dickens novel. "In addition to its impressive balance of imposing desert landscapes and vivid human drama (culled from some 31 miles of footage), the almost four-hour epic contains one of the most famous "match" cuts in movie history, from a shot of Peter O'Toole blowing out a match to a majestic desert sunrise", Variety noted in its tribute. In most movies of the era, Lawrence blowing out the match would have faded out while the rising sun faded in, but when they were assembling the footage, they didn't have that available.

In "Lawrence of Arabia", Coates' sudden shift from the match to the rising sun is considered one of the most memorable match cuts in movie history - with the added visual pun of being executed with an actual match.

In February 2007, she was awarded BAFTA's Academy Fellowship, the organisation's highest accolade.

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Coates received five Best Film Editing Oscar nominations over the course of her career for "Becket" (1963), "The Elephant Man" (1980), "In the Line of Fire" (1993) and "Out of Sight" (1998) in addition to her nom and win for "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962).

"Can you imagine a job", she once said, "where you get paid to look into the eyes of George Clooney and Peter O'Toole?"

Coates was born in Surrey in England on December 12, 1925.

She became enchanted with movies when she watched William Wyler's "Wuthering Heights" (1939), with Laurence Olivier.

She married director Douglas Hickox in 1958 and had three children, all of whom work in the film industry. After being based in Britain for years, she moved to Hollywood in 1986.

Filmmaker Edgar Wright tweeted his condolences Wednesday, noting the famed match cut, but also making a plea to "cheer" for the "sublime editing in the (pre) love scene in 'Out Of Sight'".

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