Silent classic Helen of Four Gates comes home... after 88 years

A CALDERDALE cinema classic is coming to our screens again after being lost for 88 years on the other side of the Atlantic.

The 1920 silent film Helen of Four Gates, which was shot around Hebden Bridge, is coming home after being tracked down by film fan Nick Wilding in a vault in Quebec, Canada.

Nick, a 59-year-old director of Slack Top, Heptonstall, says he has spent years trying to trace the film.

But when it finally popped through his letterbox a couple of days ago, it was a scene worthy of any Hollywood blockbuster.

"It is just brilliant to have it here and I am so excited", said Nick. "It has been a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack and so much hard work.

"It is obviously very fragile but is a remarkable work of art and I can't wait for others to see it."

Despite being a personal favourite of its director and silent film pioneer Cecil Hepworth, the film, which contains shots of Haworth and Calderdale, had previously been considered lost.

Six months ago, Nick and the Hebden Bridge History Society traced it to the archive collection of the Cinematheque Quebecoise, Montreal.

Even after tracking the film it took months of legal wrangles before permission was finally granted to screen it in Calderdale.

The film is too fragile to be played but a handful of clips from the film and a montage of still images will be shown at Hebden Bridge Picture House tonight at 7.30pm. Tickets cost 4.50.