Ealing film classics destroyed in fire
A founder member of The Independent David Lister joined the paper in 1986 as Assistant Home Editor. He became the paper's arts correspondent in 1988 and is now Arts Editor and writes a column each Saturday. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Wednesday 21 July 1993
The lost originals include The Lavender Hill Mob, Whisky Galore and Passport to Pimlico. The original soundtrack to The Man in a White Suit has also been lost, though the negative was saved.
The negative of Kind Hearts and Coronets was saved just before an explosion of nitrate sent a fireball through Henderson's Film Laboratories in south London. About 25 other original negatives of British films from the Forties and Fifties are also understood to have been destroyed, though none as famous as the Ealing comedies.
The owner of the Ealing comedies, Lumiere Pictures, was at pains to point out last night that the public will not suffer as there are back-up negatives from which future prints can be made.
The company said, however, that the loss was still tragic because they had such sentimental value and were part of movie heritage. Martin Bingham, head of technical operations at Lumiere, said: 'There is back-up material but it is one generation away and some of it may have to be cleaned or double checked before future prints are made.
'Technically speaking, these originals were the best quality material.
'Because prints of the Ealing comedies are so often used they get scratched and the idea for the Barbican Festival was to make perfect, mint condition prints from the originals.
'What has happened is a terrible tragedy for sentimental reasons. But we have sufficient back-up material and the public won't notice a difference in the long term.'
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Harrison Ford plane crash: Star Wars actor 'seriously injured' after light aircraft crash lands
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding IT Manag...
£400 - £500 per day: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Logistics/WMS - Immedia...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£34000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Bus...