Goodbye Sally: Remembering Sally Menke (1953 – 2010)

I only met Sally Menke a few times.

The last time was at the Scott Pilgrim premiere where she came to find me at the after party just to tell me how much she loved and was impressed by the editing. As she was the editor of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and many more, there was no higher compliment she could give. I tried to find my editors Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos so she could give her praise to them first hand. I couldn’t see them, but I told her that her comments would make their year. It did.

So that, very sadly, was the last time I saw her. It meant a lot to me on the night that she came to find me and it means so much more now.

Anyone who had seen Sally’s work with Quentin Tarantino knows what an incredible editor and artist she was. Like many aspiring film-makers who saw Reservoir Dogs on initial release, it was an invigorating, life changing experience for me. I saw it on the opening Friday at the UCI Tower Park multiplex in Poole while I was at art college. I was driving and there were so many student friends of mine that wanted to go that I had a illegal amount of people in the backseat as we head down to the cinema. It was a watermark film for many.

Another time I remember specifically being so thrilled that it made me happy to be in the film business was the UK premiere of ‘Kill Bill: Vol 1′, which I attended before I had actually met Quentin Tarantino.

I went to the screening at the Empire Leicester Square with Chris Dickens, my editor on ‘Shaun Of The Dead’ who later went on to win an Oscar for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. In fact, we had come straight to the premiere from our edit suite. We were both so thrilled with the film and especially the House Of Blue Leaves sequence, that it made us excited to get back into the work the next day and be cutting our own film.

I got a chance to tell Sally about that excited night of inspiration when we talked that last time . I hope I managed to impress upon her what her work meant to me and the editors that I’ve worked with.

I will wrap up this short tribute with a couple of clips that show how well loved she was by all.

Famously Quentin Tarantino would ask the cast to say ‘Hello Sally’ on the rushes to amuse her back in the cutting room. So here, see the ‘Hello Sally’ montages from ‘Death Proof’ and ‘Inglourious Basterds’. In the former clip, you can see a short interview that shows just how much she meant to Quentin as a collaborator and as a friend.

She will be missed.

Goodbye Sally.

  • Real DarthKathyGrint

    Sally, you will be missed.
    /fellow aspiring editor

  • granr

    RIP :(

  • Anonymous

    She’s definitely my favorite film editor and I’m going to miss her so much, I’m going to watch Kill Bill this week in her memory.

  • Rose

    Thank you, Edgar. The heavens are saying Hi Sally now.

  • Pingback: Zmarła Sally Menke, montażystka filmów Tarantino | NiezleKino.pl

  • http://twitter.com/camposova Nicole Campos

    The true mark of a great editor: Knowing how to make the scene work when you’re not cutting just as brilliantly as when you are. The single-take shot in “Jackie Brown” of Jackie’s risky play, feigning shock and desperation as she stumbles out of the department store to make the feds think she was taken for the money is such perfection. RIP, Sally.

  • Alicia Sherrod

    I watched all of the hi Sallys last week. She is an amazing editor and one of the reasons I want to get into the business.

  • Alicia Sherrod

    I watched all of the hi Sallys last week. She is an amazing editor and one of the reasons I want to get into the business.

  • Alicia Sherrod

    I watched all of the hi Sallys last week. She is an amazing editor and one of the reasons I want to get into the business.

  • Tina

    That was heartbreaking, but very heartwarming. Mr. Wright, I’m sure she was smiling down on you, as you were writing this blog :)

  • http://facebook.com/Roachgirl AlexandraTheRoach

    Sad news, very talented woman. RIP.

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • B-Fisch

    Weird, I had just put on the song “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin) when I saw this and started reading. It fits emotion-wise… A wonderful song for a wonderful person. “Thinking how it used to be/Does she still remember times like these?”

  • Spike

    She’ll be sorely missed. Never met her (I’m not in the business) but as a big Tarantino fan and filmcraft nerd it pains me to see her go.

    Goodbye Sally.

  • Spike

    She’ll be sorely missed. Never met her (I’m not in the business) but as a big Tarantino fan and filmcraft nerd it pains me to see her go.

    Goodbye Sally.

  • Spike

    She’ll be sorely missed. Never met her (I’m not in the business) but as a big Tarantino fan and filmcraft nerd it pains me to see her go.

    Goodbye Sally.

  • Joe

    A very nice tribute. Can’t help thinking my next Tarantino viewing will be very bittersweet.

  • Joe

    A very nice tribute. Can’t help thinking my next Tarantino viewing will be very bittersweet.

  • Joe

    A very nice tribute. Can’t help thinking my next Tarantino viewing will be very bittersweet.

    • http://twitter.com/mroahrig SomeDude0839

      Just watched Basterds. Yeah, it totally is.

  • CFS

    That was lovely.

  • CFS

    That was lovely.

  • CFS

    That was lovely.

  • http://twitter.com/mroahrig SomeDude0839

    She inspired me to become an editor. Rest soundly, darling. <3

  • http://twitter.com/mroahrig SomeDude0839

    She inspired me to become an editor. Rest soundly, darling. <3

  • http://twitter.com/mroahrig SomeDude0839

    She inspired me to become an editor. Rest soundly, darling. <3