Dede Allen

Dorothea Carothers "Dede" Allen[1] (December 3, 1923 – April 17, 2010)[2][3] was an American film editor, well-known "film editing doctor" to the major American movie studios, and one of cinema's all-time celebrated 'auteur' film editors.

Dede Allen
Dorothea Carothers Allen

(1923-12-03)December 3, 1923
DiedApril 17, 2010(2010-04-17) (aged 86)
OccupationFilm editor
Years active1948–2008
Stephen Fleischman
(m. 1945)
Children2; including Tom Fleischman

Allen is known for having edited classic films such as The Hustler (1961), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), and Reds (1981). She had an extended collaboration (1967–1976) with director Arthur Penn, and over the years had worked with other distinguished directors including Sidney Lumet, Robert Wise, Elia Kazan, and George Roy Hill. She was a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Early lifeEdit

Allen was born in Cleveland, Ohio;[2][3] her mother was an actress and her father worked for Union Carbide.[1] She enrolled at Scripps College in Claremont, California.[citation needed]


Allen worked her way up as a production runner, as a sound librarian and then as an assistant film editor at Columbia Pictures. She edited commercial and industrial films before becoming a full-fledged feature film editor. It took sixteen years working in the American film industry before Dede Allen edited her first important feature film, Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).[4] She worked closely with and was mentored by film director Robert Wise, who had also been a film editor himself (most notably having cut Orson Welles' Citizen Kane). Wise encouraged Dede Allen to be brave and experiment with her editing -- "he was the first person who said, 'No matter how many directions I give you, if it doesn't play, don't show it to me.' He was excited as hell if I came up with something. He had a great influence on me because he was a tremendous editor in his own time so he knew."[5]

Much like the raw editing of dadaist filmmaking (an approach followed by René Clair early in his career) or perhaps akin to that of the French New Wave, Allen pioneered the use of audio overlaps and utilized emotional jump cuts, stylistic flourishes that brought energy and realism to characters that until that point had not been a part of classic Hollywood film editing technique. Continuity editing and screen direction (being tied to the constraints of place and time) became the low priority, while using cutting to express the micro-cultural body language of the characters and moving the plot along in an artistic, almost three-dimensional manner became her modus operandi.[citation needed]

In 1992, Allen accepted the position of Vice-President in Charge of Creative Development at the Warner Bros. Studio. In 2000 she returned to editing with the film Wonder Boys, for which she was nominated for her third Academy Award.[6]

On a 2012 listing of the 75 best edited films of all time, compiled by the Motion Picture Editors Guild based on a survey of its members, three films edited by Allen appear: Bonnie and Clyde, Dog Day Afternoon, and Reds. Only George Tomasini had more films on this listing.[7]

Variety's Eileen Kowalski notes that, "Indeed, many of the editorial greats have been women: Dede Allen, Verna Fields, Thelma Schoonmaker, Anne V. Coates and Dorothy Spencer."[8]

Personal lifeEdit

Allen was married to film director Stephen Fleischman.[3] Her son is renowned sound re-recording mixer Tom Fleischman and her daughter is Ramey Ward.

Allen died on April 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California from a stroke.[2]

Selected filmographyEdit

Year Title Director Co-editors
1959 Odds Against Tomorrow Robert Wise
1961 The Hustler Robert Rossen
1963 America, America Elia Kazan
1967 Bonnie & Clyde Arthur Penn
1968 Rachel, Rachel Paul Newman
1969 Alice's Restaurant Arthur Penn
1970 Little Big Man Arthur Penn
1972 Slaughterhouse-Five George Roy Hill
1973 Serpico Sidney Lumet Richard Marks, Ronald Roose, and Angelo Corrao
1975 Dog Day Afternoon Sidney Lumet
Night Moves Arthur Penn Steven A. Rotter
1976 The Missouri Breaks Arthur Penn Gerald B. Greenberg and Steven Rotter
1977 Slap Shot George Roy Hill
1978 The Wiz Sidney Lumet
1981 Reds Warren Beatty Craig McKay
1984 Harry & Son Paul Newman
Mike's Murder James Bridges
1985 The Breakfast Club John Hughes
1986 Off Beat Michael Dinner Angelo Corrao
1988 The Milagro Beanfield War Robert Redford Jim Miller
1989 Let It Ride Joe Pytka Jim Miller
1990 Henry & June Philip Kaufman Vivien Hillgrove Gilliam and William S. Scharf

(Interview in two parts),

1991 The Addams Family Barry Sonnenfeld
2000 Wonder Boys Curtis Hanson
2002 John Q. Nick Cassavetes
2004 The Final Cut Omar Naim Robert Brakey
2007 Have Dreams, Will Travel Brad Isaacs Robert Brakey
2008 Fireflies in the Garden Dennis Lee Robert Brakey

Academy Awards and nominationsEdit

  • 1976 – Dog Day Afternoon, nominated for Academy Award, Best Editing
  • 1982 – Reds, nominated for Academy Award, Best Editing (w/ co-editor Craig McKay)
  • 2001 – Wonder Boys, nominated for Academy Award, Best Editing

Other awards and nominationsEdit

  • 1962 – The Hustler, nominated for American Cinema Editors (ACE) Eddie, Best Edited Feature Film
  • 1968 – Bonnie and Clyde, nominated for American Cinema Editors (ACE) Eddie, Best Edited Feature Film
  • 1975 – Dog Day Afternoon won BAFTA Film Award, Best Editing
  • 1982 – Reds, nominated for American Cinema Editors (ACE) Eddie, Best Edited Feature Film (w/ co-editor Craig McKay)
  • 1982 – recipient, Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry[9]
  • 1994 – honored with American Cinema Editors (ACE), Career Achievement Award
  • 1999 – honored at Hollywood Film Festival, Outstanding Achievement in Music Editing
  • 2000 – honored by Las Vegas Film Critics Association, Career Achievement Award


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c Luther, Claudia (April 18, 2010). "Dede Allen dies at 86; editor revolutionized imagery, sound and pace in U.S. films". Los Angeles Times. p. AA39. This obituary incorrectly states that she was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was subsequently acknowledged in an online correction.
  3. ^ a b c Lee, Felicia R. (April 19, 2010). "Dede Allen, Pioneering Film Editor, Dies at 86". The New York Times. p. A24.
  4. ^ Faller, Greg S. (2000). "Dede Allen". In Pendergast, Tom; Pendergast, Sara (eds.). International Dictionary of Film and Filmmakers, Edition 4. St. James Press. ISBN 978-1-55862-449-8. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
  5. ^ Women and the cinema : a critical anthology. Kay, Karyn., Peary, Gerald. (1st ed.). New York: Dutton. 1977. ISBN 0525474595. OCLC 3315936.CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ DiMare, Philip C., ed. (2011). "Dede Allen". Movies in American History: An Encyclopedia, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 550. ISBN 9781598842968.
  7. ^ "The 75 Best Edited Films". Editors Guild Magazine. 1 (3). May 2012. Archived from the original on 2015-03-17.
  8. ^ Kowalski, Eileen (November 14, 2001). "Tina Hirsch". Variety.
  9. ^ "Past Recipients". Women in Film. Archived from the original on 2011-08-20. Retrieved 2013-07-18.

Further readingEdit

  • Carlson, Michael (June 3, 2010). "Dede Allen: Pioneering film editor who worked with Sidney Lumet and Arthur Penn". The Independent. Dede Allen, who has died aged 86, was the most important film editor in the most explosive era of American film. Between Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and 1978's The Wiz, Allen edited or co-edited 11 films, all but one for Arthur Penn, George Roy Hill or Sidney Lumet, that helped redefine the way that Hollywood cut – using jump cuts, overlapping sound, and abrupt changes of pace to capture the inner qualities of characters and highlight narrative tension.
  • Chang, Justin (2012). FilmCraft: Editing. Octopus Books. ISBN 9781908150684. Dede Allen was the first editor, male or female, to receive a solo title card on a film—a fitting distinction for someone who made a persuasive case for film editing not merely as a technical discipline, but an art worth considering in its own right. A solo title card means that her name appears alone on the screen while the credits are shown; the film in question was Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
  • Kunkes, Michael (2008). "Fellowship and Service Award -- 2008 Recipient". Motion Picture Editors Guild. Biography of Allen and remarks about her by many of her editing colleagues. These were compiled on the occasion of her receipt of the Motion Picture Editors' Guild "Fellowship and Service Award" in 2008.

External linksEdit