27.7.1904 - 1996
LIONEL BANES BSC
Lionel Lawrence Banes was born 27 July 1904 in Prestwich, Manchester. After being interested in photography as a young man, Banes started with GAINSBOROUGH STUDIOS, Islington in 1930, as an assistant under established cinematographers including Bernard Knowles, Max Greene BSC (real name Mutz Greenbaum) and Percy Strong. His first film was a version of the popular Conan Doyle story, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1931) directed by Gareth Gundry and photographed by Bernard Knowles. That same year saw him working on Renate Müller’s English language version of Sunshine Susie (1931) directed by Victor Saville and photographed by Mutz Greenbaum [Max Greene BSC]). By 1935, Banes had joined the camera crew on Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, photographed by Bernard Knowles. Shortly thereafter he made the acquaintance of German cinematographer Günther Krampf BSC, who had emigrated from Germany, and went on to mentor Banes in the camera department teaching him a number of processes including the Schüfftan process.* Banes remembered: “He was very much German in character.”
[*The Schufftan Process used a half silvered mirror at 45º to the lens to reflect a model, painting or photograph into the camera to supplement the existing set on stage.]
In 1941, Banes was recruited by the British War Office as an assistant cameraman to Ernest Palmer, a veteran cinematographer shooting the propaganda film Next of Kin (1942) directed by Thorold Dickinson. This was the beginning of a productive relationship with Ealing Studios, during which Banes photographed such classics as Passport to Pimlico (1949) directed by Henry Cornelius, an early masterpiece of Ealing Studios’ comedy.
In spite of a promising early career there would be little of note in Banes’ later life. He photographed a number of unspectacular films, mainly B movies, and increasingly moved into Television in the 1950s (series such as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Scarlet Pimpernel). Banes shot his last major film, They Were Ten (1961) directed by Baruch Dienar, for an Israeli production company in 1960 and the reviews praised his “strong visual and humanitarian narrative of a modern-day Israeli settlement.” Throughout the 1960s Banes shot a large number of TV series such as Simon Templar, and Man in a Suitcase (1967-68), his final TV outing. Banes was to shoot additional photography for the war film Submarine X-1 (1968) directed by William Graham and photographed by Paul Besson BSC before retiring at the age of 63.