Monday, June 21, 2010

Filmmaker Ronald Neame Passes On

English director and cinematographer Ronald Neame CBE, BSC passed on 16 June, 2010 at the age of 99.

Ronald Neame was born in London on 23 April, 1911. His father, Elwin Neame, was a photographer who would direct a few films in Britain in the Silent Era.  His mother was Ivy Close, an actress of the Silent Era who appeared in several films. He attended the the University College School in Hampstead and Hurstpierpoint College in West Sussex.His father having died in an motorcycle accident, the family was low on money so that Mr. Neame took a job as a messenger boy at Elstree Studios when he was 16.

Ronald Neame was only eighteen when he served as an assistant cameraman on Blackmail (1929), directed by Alfred Hitchcock and considered the first British talkie. His first credit as cinematographer was on the 1933 film Happy. For the next several years he would serve as cinematographer on such films as Once in a Million (1935), Drake the Pirate (1935), King of the Castle (1936), Penny Paradise (1938), It's in the Air (1938), Major Barbara (1941), and Blithe Spirit (1945). Mr. Neame also served as a camera operator on the flying scenes in A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941) and shot additional scenes for Brief Encounter (1945).

Ronald Neame formed the production company Cineguild with  David Lean and Anthony Havelock-Allen. They produced such films as Brief Encounter (1945), Great Expectations (1946), and Oliver Twist (1948).

In 1947 Mr. Neame made his directorial debut with Take My Life (1947). His third film would be The Card (1952), a Rank Organisation comedy starring Sir Alec Guinness. He would follow it up with The Million Pound Note, a Rank comedy starring Gregory Peck. He would go onto direct The Horse's Mouth (1958), Tunes of Glory (1960), I Could Go On Singing (1963),  The Chalk Garden (1964), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), Scrooge (1970), The Odessa File (1974), and The Magic Balloon (1990).

Ronald Neame was gifted as both a cinematographer and a director. As a director he had an uncanny ability to coax great performances from actors, such as Judy Garland in I Could Go On Singing and Dame Maggie Smith in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. He was also among the pioneers in Technicolour, both Blithe Spirit and This Happy Breed being among the earliest films to exploit its potential. He further exploited Technicolour in his films The Horse's Mouth and Tunes of Glory. Mr. Neame was among an extremely talented director, responsible for such classics as The Horse's Mouth, Tunes of Glory, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and many others.


mister muleboy said...

His Hopscotch was doomed from the beginning, is fatally flawed, and

brings me great joy.

Kendig: Are you some sort of wine salesperson?

Isobel: No, I am an ordinary person. . . .

Isobel: Mine was never gin and ginger ale!

Um, no -- I can't explain the joy here. . . .

mister muleboy said...