Friday, 4 June 2010


My obituary of Dede Allen, one of the truly great film editors, is in today's Independent, you can link to it here. Re-reading it, I really should have said how incredibly crucial her work was on some overlooked gems: Arthur Penn's Night Moves is one of the great detective films of the 70s; George Roy Hill's Slap Shot is, underneath the hilarious hockey gooning, a subtle film about male roles and sexuality; and for some reason I've never quite understood, Hill's Slaughterhouse Five has never received the acclaim it deserves. Part of that reason may well be Allen's own fault; her editing is so slick it makes the film seem artless, when it's actually effortless. Paul Newman's Rachel, Rachel and Harry And Son are both very interesting films, like Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys rather too quiet to be popular.

She certainly deserves credit for her big hits, and I was especially glad to discuss The Hustler, to which she's so crucial, but she was also important to Reds in another way: since the notoriously indecisive Warren Beatty shot eight gazillion feet of film, Allen was literally the only person who knew where every shot, every take could be found. And found them for Warren.

It was a pleasure to write this piece; it's always inspiring to realise, in retrospect, just how much good work someone has done, when they've done so much you've grown to overlook it.

No comments :