Dede Allen

Active - 1948 - 2008  |   Born - Dec 3, 1925   |   Died - Apr 17, 2010   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy Drama, Comedy, Epic, Historical Film

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

It's common knowledge that skillful editing can make a good film great and a bad one at least watchable. Someone with good instincts as to when to cut a scene and how to keep the action moving is a valuable commodity in the film world, and editor Dede Allen worked with some of the best filmmakers and on some of the best-known titles of her generation. A native of Cleveland, OH, Allen entered the film industry as a messenger at Columbia Pictures in 1943. Her ambitions reached beyond that of a glorified mail carrier, however, and before long she was looking to break into more creative aspects of filmmaking. Since many American men were off fighting in World War II, Allen was offered opportunities that might not have been available to women at the time had the studios been operating at full capacity. She established herself as a sound editor and soon proved herself by editing the low-budget, sci-fi flick Terror From the Year 5000 in 1958. The following year, Allen was offered the opportunity to work with seasoned filmmaker Robert Wise on the crime drama Odds Against Tomorrow. Her later credits would read like a list of classics, including such highly regarded movies as The Hustler (1961), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Serpico (1973) and the Oscar-nominated Dog Day Afternoon (1975). Her impeccable sense of flow and timing made Allen one of the most sought after editors in Hollywood -- male or female. With a second Academy Award nomination for Reds (1981), Allen remained busy throughout the '80s, cutting such notable features as The Breakfast Club (1985) and The Milagro Beanfield War (1988). Though her pace slowed somewhat in the next decade, the quality of her work remained strong, as she added such films as Henry and June (1990), The Addams Family (1991), Wonder Boys (2000), and John Q. (2002) to her resumé. Still working at the age of 78, Allen edited the sci-fi thriller The Final Cut in 2004.

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