My 100 favourite films. Entry #9: All That Jazz.

All That Jazz (1979)
directed by Bob Fosse
starring Roy Scheider, Leland Palmer and Ann Reinking
Country: USA
Genre: Musical

Visuals: 9/10
Writing: 8/10
Everyday watchability: 5/10

In All That Jazz, Roy Scheider plays Joe Gideon, a cheating, womanizing, lying, self-effacing play director and dance choreographer. It's essentially Bob Fosse. I was originally drawn to this movie due to its editing. It's flawless. Obviously, Fosse's dance numbers are great; few people can choreograph quite like this. It's the editing however that makes them truly fantastic. He creates a rhythm through the cuts that's separate from the dancing, separate from the music, but complimentary to both. Music videos could take a lesson from this film.

Besides that, Roy Scheider (rest in peace!) gives another one of my favourite performances. He's always good, but here he puts on a theatricality that feels both insincere and endearing. The facade of showbusiness is an theme that's central to the film. It feels as if Gideon's even uncomfortable with it himself, despite the love of his work.


3 comment(s).:

May 18, 2008 at 5:55 AM Peaches said...

I have never thought about editing, and didn't realize this wa an aspect of a film that a viewer could rate. Can you give an example of poor editing so i can do a "crash course" in editing, watching Jazz Singer and the poorly edited movie back to back to see the difference?

May 21, 2008 at 6:52 PM Peaches said...

I am still wondering what the tip-off would be to poor editing. Is it story lines that don't go anywhere? Mismatches from scene to scene? Cut-off words? What?

May 21, 2008 at 8:23 PM Lee said...

That's hard to say. In terms of scene-to-scene, the choice of what scenes stay and which get cut is up to the director, as is the order of those scenes.

While glaringly bad editing would have problems like cut-off sentences, you're not going to see that in studio films. The thing you want to look at is the pacing of scenes. Do they feel slow? Are they supposed to? Is it hard to focus because there are too many cuts?

The thing about Fosse films is that they have a rhythmic flow to them that many other movies lack. I can't think of an example of bad film editing at the moment, but if I do I'll let you know.