Here’s a challenge for cinéaste readers of The Deep North: I discovered recently that Burra had a brief episode of working for J. Arthur Rank at Highbury Studios in Islington: ‘Well dearie’, he says, ‘here lies a mere hulk of poor Edward Burra the darling of our crew. As what with designing the death trap & spies parlor in the cellars of Doomesday Grange for Highbury Studios a hacking cough with phlegm on the side & an attack of my old complaint which commenced with a quartern ague lasting half an hour I couldnt keep still for a minute & chattered all the time, I realy am half crazy. I keep getting telegrams from Highbury and go trailing off with a paper bag containing a very dirty cigarette tin containing some frowsy mumbled old tubes of mud & one or two cleaned up brushes & pencils & proceed to put in & take out spiders webs, chandeliers put in archs all in five minutes & straight off, only somebody with no scruples & completely insensitive could ever do it. however I enjoy it very much.’ He expands a bit in a subsequent letter. ‘The film I was doing was a blood curdling 2nd feature called “a peice of cake” or cup of tea buts a kick in the pants to yrs truly, as Corcoran tells us they are notoriously crooked –– very slippery & wont pay unless they are threatened’. Ed was not exactly wordly, but he had his limits; he would not work for people who generated hassle because he hadn’t the energy, and that was the end of his career in films. But somewhere, there is, or was, a J. Arthur Rank ‘B’ movie, possibly called A Piece of Cake, which aired in 1948/9, with at least part of set designs/painting by Ed. I would love to see it. Few people have ever enjoyed bad films more than did Ed; it is somehow fitting that his only involvement with the industry was some species of oceangoing turkey.