R.I.P. Dede Allen, Film Editor

04/19/2010

Dede Allen was a phenomenal editor whose work covers many of my personal favorite movies, including Bonnie and Clyde, Dog Day Afternoon, and Wonder Boys.

Allen was the first American to embrace European methods of editing by beginning sequences with close-ups or jump cuts and using the sound from the next shot while the previous scene was still playing. Greg S. Faller, professor of film studies at Towson University in Maryland, said “The Hustler” and “Bonnie and Clyde” “must be considered benchmark films in the history of editing.” Many of her techniques are now standard in modern filmmaking. “It’s hard to see the changes she made because most of what she did has been so fully embraced by the industry,” Faller said. (Texarcana Gazette, Associated Press photo)

She has been immortalized (at least in this heart) through her oft-quoted mantra: “Cut from the gut.” Everyone will have their favorite movie she edited, but for me it’s The Breakfast Club, hands down. Particularly the penultimate sequence where the Club has its first (and ostensibly only) meeting. That scene is all about Dede and her mastery of the split-edit. The next time you see that scene, just imagine how different it would be if the camera would always just show who’s speaking. Her gut decisions on who to show, and when to cut back to the speaker is awe-inspiring.

Remembering Dede Allen with a happy grin. She did good.


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