John Jympson

John Arthur 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).

John Jympson
Born(1930-09-16)16 September 1930
London, England
Died3 June 2003(2003-06-03) (aged 72)
London, England
OccupationFilm editor
Years active19491999
Spouse(s)Maureen Hemsworth (19542003)


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. His father, Jympson Harman, the film critic for The Evening News, secured him a position 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]

In 1976 Jympson was hired to edit Star Wars (1977) by director George Lucas, as Lucas liked Jympson's work on A Hard Day's Night.[3] However after an initial cut, Jympson was replaced by Paul Hirsch, Richard Chew and Marcia Lucas.[4] According to reports, Jympson's edit contained about 30-40% different footage from the film's final version.[5]

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.[6] 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
1949Kind Hearts and CoronetsSecond assistant editor; uncredited
1955The Ship That Died of ShameSecond assistant editor; uncredited
1955Joe MacBethAssistant editor
1957Town on TrialAssembly cutter
1957The Long HaulAssembly cutter
1958I Was Monty's DoubleAssembly cutter
1959Suddenly, Last SummerAssembly cutter
1960A French Mistress
1961The Treasure of Monte Cristo
1962Stork Talk
1962A Prize of Arms
1963It's All Happening
1963The Man Who Finally Died
1964A Hard Day's Night
1965The Bedford Incident
1965Sands of the Kalahari
1967Maroc 7
1967The Bobo
1968Where Eagles Dare
1970The Walking Stick
1970Kelly's Heroes
1971Flight of the Doves
1973Night Watch
1973The Optimists
1974The Dove
1975The Old Curiosity Shop
1976Ace Up My Sleeve
1976The Incredible Sarah
1977A Little Night Music
1979Meetings with Remarkable Men
1981Shark Boy of Bora BoraSupervisor editor
1981Riding High
1981Green Ice
1983High Road to China
1985Bad Medicine
1986Little Shop of Horrors
1988Honor Bound
1988A Fish Called Wanda
1989The Mighty Quinn
1991King RalphUncredited
1993Splitting Heirs
1995Circle of Friends
1997In & Out
1999Mad Cows


1980The Martian ChroniclesSupervisor editor; mini-series
1984The Far PavilionsMini-series
1985GulagTV film
1990Women and Men: Stories of SeductionTV film


  1. Sloman, Tony (23 June 2003). "John Jympson". The Independent. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  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, pp. 235–236
  5. Reynolds, David West (1998). "The Lost Cut of Star Wars". Star Wars Insider (41).
  6. "Awards Database". BAFTA. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  • Rinzler, J. W. (2007). The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film. Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-192499-7.
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