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Dede Allen in a Man's World

Legacy.com / Nick Ehrhardt

Dede Allen in a Man's World

Behind the scenes, Hollywood tends to be a man's world. Sure, we see women onscreen in the movies, and many of the most famous screen stars are women. But offscreen the gender balance tips: most of cinema's most renowned directors, producers, and composers are men. There's one area, though, where women truly shine, even dating back to Hollywood's Golden Age: film editing. And one of the big shots of editing was Dede Allen, who was born on this date in 1923.

Allen became known for a gutsy approach to editing that helped push cinematic arts into the modern era. Her jump cuts helped illuminate characters' emotions in a way that had never been done before, bringing new vitality to her movies' look and feel as they explored scenes from a variety of angles. She was recognized for her innovation with a handful of Oscar nominations and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Film Award for the classic Dog Day Afternoon.

It was 1961's The Hustler that helped Allen burst onto the 1960s movie scene. 

Allen's other movies in the 1960s included Elia Kazan's America, America, Paul Newman's Rachel, Rachel, and two of several movies she worked on with director Arthur Penn ––Alice's Restaurant and his landmark classic Bonnie & Clyde. Another favorite director was Sidney Lumet, with whom she worked on Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon.

Other fan favorites from Allen's career include Little Big Man, Slaughterhouse-Five, The Breakfast Club, and the film that brought her a final Oscar nomination in 2000, Wonder Boys. As she brought her unique vision to the screen, she proved that Hollywood doesn't have to be a boys' club. Allen was honored with a Women in Film Crystal Award for her contributions to expanding the role of women within the entertainment industry, as well as career achievement awards from the American Cinema Editors and Las Vegas Film Critics Association. When Allen died on April 17, 2010, she was 86 and a giant of film editing.