Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Film Editor Dede Allen R.I.P.

Dede Allen, who edited The Hustler and Bonnie and Clyde, passed on April 17 at the age of 86. She had suffered a stroke on April 14.

Dede Allen was born Dorothea Allen on in Cleveland on December 3, 1923. Her mother was the actress Dorothea S. Caruthers. Her father was a Union Carbide executive. Allen took an interest in entertainment while still young. Growing up she wanted to join the circus and she was already interested in film. She studied architecture, pottery, and weaving at Scripps College in Claremont, California. Eventually she took a job as a production runner at Columbia Pictures. By World War II she had a position in Columbia's special effects department and was editing industrial and commercials films. In 1948 she edited her first feature film, Because of Eve; however, it was not until 1958 that she began editing feature films on a regular basis, beginning with Terror From the Year 5000.

From the Sixties into the Seventies she edited several classic films. Among these were The Hustler, Bonnie and Clyde, Alice's Restaurant, Little Big Man, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, and Slap Shot. From the Eighties into the Naughts she edited such films as Reds, Henry and June, The Addams Family, and Wonder Boys. Her last film was Fireflies in the Garden. She was nominated for the Oscar for Best Editing three times, for Dog Day Afternoon, Reds, and Wonder Boys.

Undeniably Dede Allen was one of the greatest film editors of all time. On many of her films, most notably Bonnie and Clyde, she utilised a staccato style. As a result her movies seem to constantly be on the move. Although widely imitated today, this was ground breaking in the Sixties. That it is much more common today is a mark of Allen's influence.

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