I believe that what Murch quintessentially intends to say in The Rule of Six is that while working in the cutting room, and editor ought to pay heed to one’s heart and intuition and opt for a cut that one finds most compelling. Many times while being in the cutting room, an editor may come across situations where one may need to execute a compromise between emotion and continuity. Technicalities and continuity do matter; yet, the mastery of an editor’s skill actually depends on one’s ability to opt for a cut that accentuates the emotive content and force of a particular scene.
For in the end what the audience tend to remember is the emotional force that a particular scene had over them, the extent to which a scene succeeded in playing with their sense of fear and hope, and the power with which it kept them engaged and riveted. If a cut succeeds in honoring these expectations, it is perfect even if it slips a little on the continuity scale.
Considering the fact that young editors do come across situations when they feel that their inner conviction invokes them to compromise some fundamental aspects of editing, Murch has been benign to lay down the criteria for dealing with such dilemmas. He has given a sequential list of criteria in a decreasing order of importance and the sequence in which they could be compromised to come out with an emotionally and rhythmically correct cut.
Coming out with a seamless edit is no doubt an art. However, the primary function of editing is to respect the importance of emotion, story and rhythm, which are the essence of a scene. Continuity is really important, but, it stands subservient to the actual emotional flavor of a scene.
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