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Bloom, John


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As the brother of British and later Hollywood star Claire Bloom, John Bloom was exposed through his family to theatre from an early age. He began his film career in the 1950s as a script reader in the story department at Pinewood. Having gained his union card, Bloom found his niche in the cutting rooms, starting as second assistant to editor John Trumper on Heart of a Child (d. Clive Donner, 1958). His break as an editor came with the 'B' picture The Impersonator (d. Alfred Shaughnessy, 1960), produced by Anthony Perry.

During the 1960s Bloom worked frequently with director Guy Hamilton and also edited the acclaimed The Lion in Winter (d. Anthony Harvey, 1968). The director who most actively encouraged Bloom to experiment during this period was Silvio Narizzano on Georgy Girl (1966). This resulted in the playful editing of certain sequences and Bloom's proposal that "the opening of the film just has to have a song on it". The initial choice was the title song from the musical 'Funny Girl', but the prohibitive cost of obtaining the rights led to the production team settling for the now fondly remembered Seekers' song 'Georgy Girl' instead.

Bloom's favourite among the films he has edited is Who'll Stop the Rain aka Dog Soldiers (US, d. Karel Reisz, 1978), but Gandhi (US/India/UK, d. Richard Attenborough, 1982) won him an Academy Award and international recognition. Attenborough wrote in his book on making of this epic: "Immense technical skill is required as far as the editor is concerned; however overriding all else is his sense of taste and judgment...[Bloom's] application to the job and his creativity in my opinion are without parallel and much credit for the film that audiences will see is due to him".

Gandhi seemed to herald a renaissance of British film production, but this was short-lived and since the mid-1980s Bloom has worked primarily in Hollywood and New York - most recently establishing a rapport with Mike Nichols (Closer, US, 2004; Charlie Wilson's War, US/Germany, 2007). Working on projects as diverse as Air America (US, d. Roger Spottiswoode, 1990), Nobody's Fool (US, d. Robert Benton, 1994) and Notes on a Scandal (UK/US, d. Richard Eyre 2006), he has proved adaptable to different kinds of film-making and changing styles in editing and narrative construction. For example in Bloom's view Shaft (US/Germany, d. John Singleton, 2000) is "full of narrative non sequiturs", but rather than bemoan this he concludes from observing test screening audiences that "if they're having a good time they don't care".

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

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Cup Fever (1965)Cup Fever (1965)

A boys' football team triumphs over adversity

Thumbnail image of Gandhi (1982)Gandhi (1982)

Large-scale Oscar-winning biopic of the great Indian spiritual leader

Thumbnail image of Go Kart Go (1963)Go Kart Go (1963)

Children's comedy-thriller about rival go-kart gangs

Thumbnail image of Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972)Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972)

Keith Michell's virtuoso performance as the much-married monarch

Thumbnail image of Runaway Railway (1965)Runaway Railway (1965)

Four bold kids foil a pair of crooks and save a threatened railway

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