John Jympson

John Jympson
Born (1930-09-16)16 September 1930
London, England
Died 3 June 2003(2003-06-03) (aged 72)
London, England
Occupation Film editor
Years active 19491999
Spouse(s) Maureen Hemsworth (19542003)

John Jympson (16 September 1930 3 June 2003) was a British film editor. He edited films such as Zulu (1964), A Hard Day's Night (1964), Kaleidoscope (1966), Frenzy (1972) and A Fish Called Wanda (1988).


Jympson was born on 16 September 1930 in London. He attended Dulwich College and left aged 17 in 1947 intending to become a veterinary surgeon. However his father, the Evening News film critic Jympson Harman, secured him as a runner at Ealing Studios. He worked in the cutting-room, aiding Peter Tanner on the 1949 film Kind Hearts and Coronets, before participating in two years of National Service. He returned to Ealing and worked on the films The Cruel Sea (1953) and The Ladykillers (1955). Jympson became an assembly cutter on I Was Monty's Double in 1958.[1]

His break came in 1959 while working under William Hornbeck on Suddenly, Last Summer where his work earned him the credit of assembly editor. The film's success and a recommendation from Max Benedict meant Jympson was hired to edit films himself for the first time, namely A French Mistress and Suspect in 1960, each for the Boulting brothers. Jympson met actor and producer Stanley Baker when editing the 1962 film A Prize of Arms; the two worked together on The Man Who Finally Died and 1964's Zulu, which Tony Sloman called Jympson's "career-high" saying the film was "magnificently edited".[1] He followed this up with a further success, A Hard Day's Night, a film starring the Beatles, was released to critical acclaim. The film's editing style has been strongly praised and is considered highly influential.[1][2]

James B. Harris picked Jympson to edit his directorial debut The Bedford Incident in 1965, the year he also edited Sands of the Kalahari. He edited Where Eagles Dare (1968) and aided the film's director Brian G. Hutton on set. Jympson edited Kelly's Heroes (1970), and the Peter Sellers' films The Bobo (1967) and The Optimists of Nine Elms (1973). Alfred Hitchcock selected Jympson to edit Frenzy in 1972; off-set the two became good friends.[1]

Jympson was hired to edit Star Wars (1977). Director George Lucas had wanted to use Richard Chew, but Jympson was a cheaper, local option who would not require a work permit for the film's England shoot. Lucas liked Jympson's work on A Hard Day's Night and thought he would do a good job on Star Wars.[3] Jympson began cutting the film together while Lucas was still filming in Tunisia; as Lucas noted, the editor was in an "impossible position" because Lucas has not explained any of the film's material to him. When Lucas watched Jympson's rough cut for the first time, he disliked what he saw. J. W. Rinzler wrote that "Jympson's selection of takes was questionable, and he seemed to be having trouble doing match-cuts." Lucas was prepared to give Jympson more time; Jympson disliked Lucas' working style.[4] As production went on, Lucas still disapproved of Jympson's cut and fired him halfway through the film's production. He commented: "Unfortunately it didn't work out. It's very hard when you are hiring people to know if they are going to mesh with you and if you are going to get what you want. In the end, I don't think he fully understood the movie and what I was trying to do. I shoot in a very peculiar way, in a documentary style, and it takes a lot of hard editing to make it work."[5] Lucas replaced him with Paul Hirsch, Richard Chew and his wife Marcia Lucas.[6] Jympson's edit, the "Lost Cut", contained about 30-40% different footage from the film's final version.[7]

Little Shop of Horrors (1986), A Fish Called Wanda (1988), HouseSitter (1992), Splitting Heirs (1993), Circle of Friends (1995), Haunted (1995) and In and Out (1997) were some of Jympson's later editing projects. Sloman says A Fish Called Wanda was "probably the biggest success of his career."[1] Jympson received a BAFTA nomination for his editing of the film.[8] His final film was 1999's Mad Cows.[1]

Personal life

Jympson married Maureen Hemsworth, a costume department worker at Ealing, in 1954.[1] He suffered a stroke before editing his final film, Mad Cows, and later had both of his legs amputated due to diabetes. He died on 3 June 2003.[1]



All as editor unless stated
Year Title Notes
1949 Kind Hearts and Coronets Second assistant editor; uncredited
1955 The Ship That Died of Shame Second assistant editor; uncredited
1955 Joe MacBeth Assistant editor
1957 Town on Trial Assembly cutter
1957 The Long Haul Assembly cutter
1958 I Was Monty's Double Assembly cutter
1959 Suddenly, Last Summer Assembly cutter
1960 A French Mistress
1960 Suspect
1961 The Treasure of Monte Cristo
1962 Stork Talk
1962 A Prize of Arms
1963 It's All Happening
1963 The Man Who Finally Died
1964 Zulu
1964 A Hard Day's Night
1965 Dingaka
1965 The Bedford Incident
1965 Sands of the Kalahari
1966 Kaleidoscope
1967 Maroc 7
1967 The Bobo
1968 Deadfall
1968 Where Eagles Dare
1970 The Walking Stick
1970 Kelly's Heroes
1971 Flight of the Doves
1972 Frenzy
1973 Night Watch
1973 The Optimists
1974 The Dove
1975 The Old Curiosity Shop
1976 Ace Up My Sleeve
1976 The Incredible Sarah
1977 A Little Night Music
1979 Meetings with Remarkable Men
1981 Shark Boy of Bora Bora Supervisor editor
1981 Riding High
1981 Green Ice
1983 High Road to China
1985 Bad Medicine
1986 Little Shop of Horrors
1988 Honor Bound
1988 A Fish Called Wanda
1989 The Mighty Quinn
1991 King Ralph Uncredited
1992 HouseSitter
1993 Splitting Heirs
1995 Circle of Friends
1995 Haunted
1997 In & Out
1999 Mad Cows


Year Title Notes
1980 The Martian Chronicles Supervisor editor; mini-series
1984 The Far Pavilions Mini-series
1985 Gulag TV film
1990 Women and Men: Stories of Seduction TV film


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Sloman, Tony (2003-06-23). "John Jympson". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  2. Ebert, Roger (27 October 1996). "Review of A Hard Day's Night". Retrieved 27 February 2008.
  3. Rinzler 2007, p. 96
  4. Rinzler 2007, p. 194
  5. Rinzler 2007, p. 213
  6. Rinzler 2007, pp. 235–236
  7. Reynolds, David West (1998). "The Lost Cut of Star Wars". Star Wars Insider (41).
  8. "Awards Database". BAFTA. Retrieved 2011-04-03.

External links

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