Tuesday, April 20, 2010

cut with your gut

Video: Dog Day Afternoon Trailer
(film editing for Dog Day Afternoon earned
Dede Allen an Oscar Nomination in 1976)

Miss Allen, though she read Eisenstein on a Los Angeles streetcar, is not a theorizer and will generalize only to the extent of suggesting that film editing is both a talent and a craft. She talks in terms of specific films and specific personalities.

Robert Wise, whose “Odds Against Tomorrow” was her first major assignment, she credits with having given her confidence to experiment, to work with her own interpretations of a scene. She remembers once reversing an optical so that, in the Wise film, Gloria Grahame, instead of lowering her eyes in a doorway flirtation with Robert Ryan, raised them to give a quite different meaning to the scene.

She recalls Wise saying delightedly: “It is different working with a woman!” To which Miss Allen answered: “I should hope so.”

From Vincent Canby’s 1972 New York Times piece: Dede Is A Lady Editor.

Esteemed film editor Dede Allen passed away on Saturday.

It’s a trip reading Canby’s 1972 piece on her and her work in which the overwhelming observation seems to be: My god! Look! A lady! Editing film!

Yes: She did.

Craig McKay spoke to her influence on his work yesterday on NPR:

I can remember one of the first things she ever said to me. She says, you have to cut with your gut. And what that meant, I came to discover over the years, was that this process is not really so much a thinking process as it is an intuitive process. She was an intuitive editor. And I think she passed that along to me, along with so many other great editors that she's single-handedly responsible for creating.

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