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Baird, Stuart (1947-)

Editor, Director

Main image of Baird, Stuart (1947-)

While studying for a degree at University College London in the late 1960s, Stuart Baird attended film screenings and discussions organised at the Slade School of Fine Art by Thorold Dickinson, then Director of Film Studies. His break came when he was appointed assistant to the director on If... (d. Lindsay Anderson, 1968). This enabled him to observe all stages of the production process.

He was then employed as assistant editor to Michael Bradsell on films directed by Ken Russell from Women in Love (1969) onwards. Baird developed a good working relationship with the mercurial director. Thanks to this, and Bradsell's openness, he found himself at an early stage in his career assisting the director, acting as music editor, and editing certain sequences. Baird attributes his decisive approach to editing, his preference for aiming directly for a fine cut, to his unconventional apprenticeship: "I never worked for those old-time editors who assembled the materials, showed it to the director... and then tried to tighten it."

After his first full editing credit for Tommy (d. Ken Russell, 1975), Baird moved rapidly into working on Hollywood-financed productions and employment in Hollywood itself. The Omen (US / UK, 1976) marked the beginning of a long association with director Richard Donner, most of whose action films of the 1980s and 1990s he edited. Baird also branched out into second unit directing, producing, and establishing a reputation as an effective film doctor. He has edited numerous films produced by Joel Silver. Silver produced Baird's first film as director, Executive Decision (US, 1996), an airborne action thriller. Baird continues to work as a film doctor, producer, and director, as well as undertaking major editing assignments such as Casino Royale (UK/US/Czech Republic/Germany, d. Martin Campbell, 2006) and Vantage Point (US, d. Pete Travis, 2008).

Roy Perkins/Martin Stollery, British Film Editors: The Heart of the Movie (BFI Publishing, 2004)

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Ken Russell's controversial film about the political abuse of religious faith

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