This review is for the enhanced second edition, published in 2010. The Technique of Film Editing is the seminal work on the subject of editing cinematography. It was originally published in 1953 and revised and expanded as a second edition in 1968. The 2010 printing is essentially a reprint of the 1968 second edition with an updated forward. That does not diminish the book in the least, the 1968 edition is as valid today as the day it was published.
Although we live in an increasingly digital world, this book is every bit as pertinent to the digital editor working with Final Cut as it is to a celluloid editor working on a Movieola. For this book is not about software or hardware, but about the process and art of editing. It makes no difference whether the images were captured on silver halide film, video tape or a silicon chip.
The Technique of Film Editing is comprehensive, it begins with a history of editing and then moves on to the practice of editing in a variety of cinemagraphic styles, from action and comedy sequences, documentary reportage, montages and dialog sequences, to name only a few. What follows next is a discussion of the timeless principles of editing, such as timing, pace and rhythm.
In the second part of the book, Reisz and Millar explore the work of some notable directors and editors. They point out to us how seemingly minor choices in framing and editing can have a profound impact on how the scene is perceived by the audience. The real examples (film frames are printed that coincide with the text) from real films make this section particularly useful. Through the printed examples, you can precisely see the various points the authors are making. This was my favorite part of the book - I could understand the choices the directors and editors made and I learned much from that.
If you are involved with film editing, in any of its various forms, this is a book you should not be without. Prior to this reprinting, older copies were selling at several times this price in used bookstores and online. Focal Press is to be commended for bringing back a great work.