|Straight From The Horse's
Mouth: A Tribute to Ronald Neame In
Presented in association with the British
Academy of Film & Television Arts/Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA)
Sponsored by the Consulate General of Great Britain.
"As a cameraman's assistant in the silent days, I learned to
hand-crank the camera at a steady 16 frames per second and if called upon I could still do
that today . . . But as a director, the essential task is to tell the story and present
the actors at their best." - Ronald Neame
In the century-plus history of cinema, few filmmakers careers
have encompassed as many monumental changes and produced as many great movies
as that of British director, producer, writer and cinematographer Ronald Neame.
Even a short list of the films hes been involved with in one capacity or another --
THE HORSES MOUTH, THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, TUNES OF
GLORY, BRIEF ENCOUNTER, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, OLIVER TWIST, IN WHICH WE SERVE, BLITHE SPIRIT
is fairly staggering, to say nothing of his pioneering role as one of the founders
of the British Academy of Film & Television (BAFTA).
Neame was born in 1911 in London, the son of a professional
photographer-turned-director, Elwin Neame, and a British beauty queen-turned-actress, Ivy
Close, who worked with Abel Gance among others. Following his fathers unexpected
death, Neame went to work at age 14 for British International Pictures "Ill
always remember my first day in a film studio. My first job was to carry a still camera to
a stage; the lens dropped out with a crash and I very nearly got fired!, Neame later
recalled. He was promoted to assistant cameraman on Alfred Hitchcocks BLACKMAIL in
1929, and by the late 1930s, Neame was cinematographer on dozens of inexpensive
"quota quickies." After working together with then-editor David Lean on MAJOR
BARBARA, the two formed a lasting partnership and friendship that resulted in some of the
most impressive British films of the 1940s, with Lean directing and Neame producing
and often co-writing, including BRIEF ENCOUNTER, GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST.
Neame branched out on his own as a director with TAKE MY LIFE in 1947; his first film with
actor Alec Guinness, THE CARD in 1952, led to a string of highly acclaimed collaborations
between the two, incuding THE HORSES MOUTH and TUNES OF GLORY.
Were thrilled to welcome the legendary Ronald Neame, who
turns 92 on April 23rd, to the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian for the
first major Los Angeles retrospective of his films - !!
Friday, April 25 8:00 PM
Ronald Neame, Ernest Borgnine and Red Buttons In
THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, 1972,
20th Century Fox, 117 min. Director Ronald Neame and producer Irwin
Allens literally titanic disaster epic features a Whos Who of acting
talent Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Jack Albertson,
Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens and more -- all doing their best to stay alive in the
hellish inferno of capsized ocean liner, the S.S. Poseidon. Special kudos to Shelley
Winters for her unforgettably ballsy performance, and to special effects expert L.B.
Abbott and stunt coordinator Paul Stader for some of the most spectacular disaster scenes
in movie history, including the famous upside-down Ballroom. Discussion afterwards with director Ronald Neame and actors Ernest
Borgnine and Red Buttons (schedules permitting) and set designer Bill Creber.
Saturday, April 26 4:00 PM
Please join us for a booksigning with
Ronald Neame of his new book, Ronald Neame, An Autobiography Straight From the
Horses Mouth - !! In the Egyptian Theatre Lobby.
Saturday, April 26 5:00 PM
Director Ronald Neame In Person!!
THE HORSES MOUTH, 1958,
Cowboy Pictures, 97 min. Director Ronald Neame had a worthy collaborator in this
uproariously funny, bittersweet comedy starring Alec Guinness in the
once-in-a-lifetime role of rebellious, besotted painter Gulley Jimson. Guinness
boozy, highly opinionated Jimson has a firm grasp on what really matters: creating art,
living life to the fullest (even if that means a little larceny), and above all, William
Blake. Based on the acclaimed novel by Joyce Cary (adapted by Alec Guinness himself.) Introduction to film and discussion afterwards with director Ronald
Neame and editor Anne V. Coates.
Saturday, April 26 7:45 PM
Double Feature Director Ronald Neame In
New 35 mm. Print! THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE, 1969, 20th
Century Fox, 116 min. Dir. Ronald Neame. Maggie Smith won an Oscar for her
flawless performance as Miss Jean Brodie, a liberal-minded Scottish schoolteacher who
tries to instruct her girls in the true meaning of life, love and art, while pursuing her
own passionate affair with a fellow schoolteacher.
SCROOGE, 1970, Hollywood Classics, 113
min. Albert Finney is a gleefully wicked Scrooge in this glorious musical
adaptation by Leslie Bricusse of Dickens ode to brotherhood and the terrible power
of karma. Director Ronald Neame was a long-time Dickens veteran, having produced
David Leans GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST. Co-starring Alec Guinness, Edith
Evans and Kenneth More. Introduction to screening and discussion
between films with director Ronald Neame and music arranger Ian Fraser (SCROOGE).
Sunday, April 27 5:00 PM
Ronald Neame/Alec Guinness Double Feature
Ronald Neame In Person!!
New 35 mm. Print! THE
CARD (aka THE PROMOTER), 1952, MGM/UA, 87 min. This little-known comic gem was the
first of several collaborations between director Ronald Neame and star Alec
Guinness (although they were already old friends, having worked together on David
Leans GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST). Adapted by Eric Ambler (best known for
his suspense novels Journey Into Fear and The Mask Of Dimitrios) from the
book by Arnold Bennett, THE CARD follows a penniless, ethical young man (Guinness) who
decides to get ahead by becoming a con artist. With an equally charming cast that includes
Glynis Johns, Valerie Hobson and a very young Petula Clark.
TUNES OF GLORY, 1960, Cowboy
Pictures, 106 min. Dir. Ronald Neame. Alec Guinness gives a devastatingly
acerbic performance as popular battalion commander Major Jock Sinclair, who, with his
verbal barbs and backstabbing, reduces his replacement, Lieutenant Colonel Barrow (John
Mills), to a nervous wreck teetering on the brink of collapse. When Sinclairs
emotional onslaught of Barrow takes an unexpected toll, Sinclair must forever live with
the tragic consequences. Introduction to screening and discussion between films with
director Ronald Neame and actress Glynis John and editor Anne V. Coates (TUNES OF GLORY).