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.