Helmer living legend sez chairman Dartnall

Ronald Neame, who began his career as an assistant cameraman working with Alfred Hitchcock on England’s first talkie and went on to a distinguished career as a cinematographer, producer and director, will be honored tonight by BAFTA/LA on his 90th birthday.

Though Neame is best known for two films he directed later in his career — “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” (1969), which won Maggie Smith an Oscar, and “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972) — he worked steadily from the 1930s through the 1980s.

“He really is a living legend in the true sense of the word,” BAFTA/LA chairman Gary Dartnall said. “His work spans the history of British cinema.”

Neame collaborated extensively with David Lean, shooting “In Which We Serve” and “Blithe Spirit” and producing “Great Expectations” and “Oliver Twist” with the legendary helmer.

Two of Neame’s most critically acclaimed works were the Alec Guinness starrers “The Horse’s Mouth” and “Tunes of Glory,” both of which he directed.

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