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Kemplen's credit in The Dark Crystal

Ralph Kemplen (1912-2004) was a noted British film editor, whose work spanned the last years of the silent film era and extended to his final two films, The Great Muppet Caper and The Dark Crystal. Kemplen was also a three-time Academy Award nominee, for his work on Moulin Rouge (1952), Oliver! (1968), and The Day of the Jackal (1973).

Kemplen was born into the film business, as his father produced silent films for traveling exhibition. At the age of 19, he edited The Frightened Lady, followed by the Boris Karloff horror film The Ghoul. He subsequently worked on propaganda films during World War II (while also serving as an auxiliary fireman), edited several entries in The Saint films, and entered a lengthy six-film collaboration with John Huston, including The African Queen and Beat the Devil (both with Robert Morley). Kemplen also worked with cinematographer Oswald Morris on several Huston entries and other films, and both men closed out their cinematic careers on the same two Jim Henson films. Kemplen's other credits included A Man for All Seasons and the musical re-make of Goodbye, Mr. Chips (with Peter O'Toole).

Kemplen's son William and grandson Tom followed his footsteps, likewise distinguishing themselves as film editors.


  • Obituary. The Times (London). April 14, 2004.

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