Ronald Neame RIP 1911 2010

The director of The Poseidon Adventure has sadly passed away

Ronald Neame, British film cinematographer, producer, screenwriter, and director, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 99. Family friend, Peter Bowes said that Neame did not ever fully recover from a fall.

Ronald Neame is perhaps best known for directing the 1972 action adventure film, The Poseidon Adventure, starring the unlikely pairing of Gene Hackman and Leslie Neilsen. The Poseidon Adventure was lampooned in Father Ted and remade twice – as a TV special in 2005 and a 2006 theatrical release under the name Poseidon.

Neame got a job at Elstree Studios as a messenger boy, thanks to his mother – actress Ivy Close – and her contacts in the industry. It was here that Neame met Alfred Hitchcock, and was hired as an assistant cameraman on Blackmail in 1929 – the first British talkie. After this, Neame worked as a cinematographer for several years on films such as Blithe Spirit and the musical comedy, Happy. Neame then moved on to producing and formed the company Cineguild with director David Lean. Among the films that Cineguild produced were a 1945 adaptation of Oliver Twist, which starred Alec Guinness in the iconic role of Fagin.

After this it was only a matter of time before Neame turned his hand to directing. As well as The Poseidon Adventure, Neame also directed The Odessa File and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

Neame was awarded the CBE for Contributions to the Film Industry in 1996.

Neame is survived by his second wife, film researcher and television producer, Donna Friedberg.

Words – Brogen Hayes

CLIP: The trailer for the 1972 film, The Poseidon Adventure