Stuart Baird began his long and distinguished career as the personal assistant to director Lindsay Anderson on “If…”, the 1968 drama of a group of boarding school students who may or may not be planning to overtake the educational institution. He segued to jobs as assistant director and assistant editor until he finally got a chance to cut his first feature, Ken Russell’s wildly energetic screen musical “Tommy” (1975), based on Pete Townsend’s rock opera performed by the Who. Baird’s work also greatly enhanced Russell’s “Lisztomania” (also 1975), a kinetic pseudo-biography of the famed composer. Demonstrating an ability to wring tension from fairly mundane situations, he cut “The Omen” (1976), effecting creating a rising tension as the devil child comes into his powers. For his meticulous efforts on “Superman” (1978), Baird earned an Academy Award nomination.
For 1980’s “Altered States”, Russell’s troubled screen version of Paddy Chayefsky’s sci-fi novel, Baird abandoned the… read more