Dede Allenborn Dorothea Corothers Allen in 23rd December 1923. She was the daughter of
actress Dorothea Corothers and Union Carbide executive Thomas H.C. Allen III.
She married Stephen Fleischman mother of, Tom Fleischman, dubbing mixer of
several films by Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme and Spike Lee and a daughter Ramy Ward.
She enrolled at Scripps College in Claremont California. Renowned for
her Dadaist style film making approach she started her illustrious career at
Columbia Pictures where she initially was a production runner and worked her
way through the ranks as a sound librarian and then assistant film editor. She
then went on to edit commercial and industrial films. After 16 years in a predominantly
male profession she edited her first feature film Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).
She was mentored by film director Robert Wise who himself had been a film
editor having cut Orson wells citizen Kane he eagerly encouraged her to explore
and experiment with her film editing. She had a raw editing style and pioneered
the use of audio overlaps using the sound from the next shot while the previous
scene was still playing. Beginning sequences with close-ups or jump cuts.
An emotional edge to them her films had a realistic energy that up to that point had not
been explored by the Hollywood movies of the time. Because of the constraints of the era
continuity editing and screen direction became a lesser priority, while using cutting to express the language of the characters and moving the plot along in an artistic expression this being her stamp on the films she edited. As an editor she was an exceptional talent
and pioneered film editing techniques that were to shape the way we see film today amazingly creative, changing the tempos of scenes and developing aural and visual relationships.
Allen edited or co-edited over 20 most wildly known for films such as “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975), “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967), “The Breakfast Club” (1985) and Wonder Boys (2000). She was most closely identified with Penn and a handful of A-list directors such as Rossen, Lumet and George Roy Hill and actor-directors Paul Newman, Warren Beatty and Robert Redford. “Bonnie and Clyde,” which was produced by Beatty and starred Beatty and Faye Dunaway, Allen’s films for Penn included “Alice’s
Restaurant,” “Little Big Man,” “Night Moves” and “The Missouri Breaks.” She had
a long and productive career with a plethora of such films. Nominated for 3 Oscars and winning countless other prestigious awards such as the BAFTA for best film editor for “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975). In Sidney Lumet’s “Dog Day Afternoon” she employed a staccato tempo known as shock cutting which gives a menacing presence to the film. Allen first worked with Sidney Lumet on “Serpico” (1973). In 1992, she
became the head of post-production at Warner Bros. She only returned to editing
eight years later with Wonder Boys (2000). She was a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Editors Branch) in 2000 – 2007.
“She certainly revolutionized the way movies were cut and radicalized ways of looking at a narrative,” said Scott Rudin, the film and theatre producer who worked with her on films “Wonder Boys” and “The Addams Family” “she was much less interested in literalism
and would jump from the middle of a scene to the middle of a scene, not bound
to the conventional ideas about how you told a movie story.” he commented.
Sadly after over forty years of pioneering and in so many ways revolutionising the art of editing Dede died April 17, 2010 after a stroke aged 86, she was survived by her husband of 63 years and two children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She will be
sadly missed by her family but more importantly she shall be missed by the world of film. As she continued to work on movies and pushed the boundaries in the industry.