Schindler’s List Cut by Cut: Part 2.

Last week, we analyzed one of the most important scene’s from Schindler’s List and the amazing editing work by Michael Kahn. We suggest you read Schindler’s List Cut by Cut: Part 1 first.

Great editing can only be accomplished if there is great footage to begin with. Look closely at Kaminski’s compositions; whether handheld or locked down he constantly plays with all the corners of the frame, showing dynamic blocking and camera movement to work in conjunction with the pace set by Kahn’s editing. This is what making a good picture is all about.

Michael Kahn’s editing is just phenomenal. His transitions are abrupt, but we never lose sight of the story. Let’s continue dissecting Schindler’s and Stern’s dialog while they create THE list of “essential” people.

Cut 15 Two-shot: Stern and Schindler trying to remember a name.

Cut 15

Cut 16 Typing a name.

Cut 16

Cut 17 Low-angle close shot of Stern trying to recall a name.  Schindler seconding him off screen.

Cut 17

Cut 18 Typing a name.

Cut 18


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Cut 19 Two-shot: Schindler asking, “How many?,” and Stern, counting the pages, answering: “Six Hundred.”  Schindler pats the page in the typewrite: “More.”

Cut 19

Cut 20 Wide shot of a factory with women workers and “God light” from windows right.  Camera pans across the women and whips to a two shot of Schindler with the factory owner, Julius Madritsch (Hans-Jorg Assmann), in his office.

Cut 20

Cut 21 Low-angle two-sot, closer, panning left from Schindler to the reluctant Madritsch as Schindler tries to convince him to ransom his workers too in a “combined approach.”

Cut 21a

Cut 22 A name is typed, the list relentlessly growing.

Cut 22

Cut 23 Two-shot: Schindler looking over Stern’s shoulder, smoking a cigarette.  In a moment of leaving humor, Stern half-jokingly complains, “For every one you smoke, I smoke half.”

Cut 23

Cut 24 Close two-shot of Schindler leaning in, vainly trying to convince Madritsch.

Cut 24

Cut 25 Typing: two names.

Cut 25

Cut 26 Track in to close-up of Stern at the typewriter.  His yellow star, identifying him as Jewish, is prominent on his shirt.

Cut 26

Cut 27 Close on Schindler, tilt down to Stern.  Schindler asks: “How many?  How many?” Stern: “Eight fifty–give or take.” With a note of anger, Schindler demands, “Give or take what, Stern?  Give or take what?  Count them–how many?” Stern counts rapidly.

Cut 27

And there’s

Cut 28 Jump cut to the list in Schindler’s hands, spread out; Stern out of focus [in background]. The scene is brightly lit by a hanging light above Stern’s desk.  Pan to Schindler in silhouette at left.  “That’s it,” he says, bringing his saving of Jews to a conclusion and in effect condemning others to die.  Rack focus to Stern, who removes his glasses and asks, “What did Goeth say about this? [Schindler has turned to face him, his back to the camera.]  You just told him how many people you needed, and he–” Schindler continues to stare as Stern comes to understand: “You’re not buying them?  You’re buying them? You’re paying hm for each of these names?”  Schindler gets up and drops the list next to Stern, tells him to add his name, and pats his shoulder.  Dolly in as Schindler takes a seat opposite Stern.  The camera pivots slightly to favor Stern.  He holds up the list and says reverently, but insistently, as if Schindler still needs convincing: “You–the list is an absolute good.  The list is life.  All around its margins lies the gulf.”

Cut 28aCut 28dCut 28e

Are there any other films that you would like for us to dive deeper into? Leave your suggestions and/or feedback in the dialog box below. Thank you.