|Dede Allen’s work on such movies as “Bonnie and Clyde’’ brought a new approach to shaping the look and sound of American movies. (Courtesy Tom Fleischman)|
Dede Allen; pioneered film editing
LOS ANGELES — Dede Allen, a film editor whose pioneering work on such movies as “The Hustler’’ and “Bonnie and Clyde’’ brought a new approach to shaping the look and sound of American movies, has died. She was 86.
Ms. Allen died Saturday at her home in Los Angeles days after suffering a stroke, her son, Tom Fleischman, told The Los Angeles Times.
With “Bonnie and Clyde’’ in 1967, Ms. Allen became the first film editor to receive sole credit on a movie. She was nominated for Academy Awards for that movie, for 1975’s “Dog Day Afternoon,’’ “Reds’’ in 1981, and “Wonder Boys’’ in 2000.
Ms. 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.
In “Dog Day Afternoon,’’ she used a staccato tempo, sometimes called shock cutting.
“She creates this menacing quality by not cutting where you’d expect it — she typically would cut sooner than you might expect,’’ Faller said. “You weren’t ready for it.’’
Ms. Allen edited or co-edited 20 major films over four decades. She was most closely identified with directors Arthur Penn, Sidney Lumet, and George Roy Hill, and actor-directors Paul Newman, Warren Beatty, and Robert Redford.
Dorothea Corothers Allen was born in Cincinnati on Dec. 3, 1923. She attended Scripps College in Claremont but left to take a job as a messenger at Columbia Pictures. She worked on television commercials until getting her first big break in the late 1950s editing Robert Wise’s “Odds Against Tomorrow.’’
In 1994, Ms. Allen received a career achievement award given by American Cinema Editors. In November 2007 she received the Motion Picture Editors Guild’s Fellowship and Service Award.