Three weeks ago, on April 17, the world lost a great artist. Dede Allen was the premier film editor.  Just one of her many films would be enough to cement her place in history.  Her film credits include: The Hustler (’61), Reds (’81), Bonnie & Clyde (’67), The Breakfast Club (’85) and Wonder Boys (’00).

Undoubtedly an inspiration to other female editors like Thelma Schoonmaker, Allen asserted her own influence and creative personality into her work like few editors before her.  She became known as one of the first “auteur” film editors, not an easy feat considering the strong personalities she worked with: Warren Beatty, Elia Kazan, Arthur Penn and Sydney Lumet, to name a few.

You’ll often hear people argue that a film’s editing should be delicate and balanced enough so the audience isn’t aware of the cuts.  While I understand this sentiment, and perhaps on some level even agree with them, such critics don’t understand or appreciate the artistry and craft of film editing.

It seems like each time Allen made a cut or spliced film, she chipped away at these stereotypes. But she understood the importance of story.  Nothing was more important than the story.

Dede Allen was 87 years old.

NPR broadcast a great tribute to Allen.  Follow this link to hear it at NPR.org.

– Jonathan Michels