Director-producer-cinematographer Ronald Neame has called it a wrap, having passed away at the age of 99. The veteran filmmaker, who directed popular entertainments such as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972), had suffered a fall on May 6 that resulted in a leg injury and two operations to repair the damage had left him in failing health, according to his wife.
Neame served as an assistant cameraman on Alfred Hitchock’s first sound film, Blackmail, in 1929—and his work behind the camera as an ace cinematographer included such classics as Major Barbara (1941), In Which We Serve (1942), This Happy Breed (1944) and Blithe Spirit (1945). As a producer, he oversaw three classics directed by David Lean: Brief Encounter (1945), Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948).
His first foray in the director’s chair was the 1947 thriller Take My Life, and among the many movies he helmed include The Man Who Never Was (1956), The Horse’s Mouth (1958), Tunes of Glory (1960), I Could Go on Singing (1963), Gambit (1966), Scrooge (1970), The Odessa File (1974), Hopscotch (1980) and First Monday in October (1981)…the last two starring Walter Matthau. He directed his last feature film, Foreign Body, in 1986 and a final short film, The Magic Balloon four years later.
Though he never won an Oscar, Neame was nominated twice in the Best Screenplay category for Encounter and Expectations. He had earlier been nominated for Best Special Effects for 1942’s One of Our Aircraft is Missing. His sixty years in the film business were discussed in his 2003 memoir, Straight From the Horse’s Mouth.
R.I.P, Mr. Neame. You shall be missed.