The Reel Life Of Director Ronald Neame (‘The Poseidon Adventure,’ ‘Hopscotch,’ ‘Meteor’)

Our latest director’s spotlight on Find Your Film has us covering Ronald Neame. We review his 1972 blockbuster hit The Poseidon Adventure and the 1980 Walter Matthau comedy Hopscotch. Co-host Eric Holmes also adds the 1979 flick Meteor for good measure!

Ronald Neame’s work has included high profile studio pictures (The Poseidon Adventure, Meteor), a drama that netted Maggie Smith her first Oscar nod (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), and a Walter Matthau CIA comedy that was entirely pitch perfect. We haven’t even covered a couple of his most acclaimed work (Tunes of Glory, The Horse’s Mouth), and maybe that will be for a future Find Your Film episode.

I also picked up Neame’s autobiography Straight From The Horse’s Mouth from the library, and I perused his chapters on The Poseidon Adventure and Walter Matthau. We have just scratched the surface this episode with The Poseidon Adventure, Hopscotch, and Meteor. That said, more coverage of Ronald Neame’s prodigous career should be commonplace, and in our little corner of the world we will try to call out his name and work as much as possible!

Take a listen to our Ronald Neame episode on Apple Podcasts:

Both Eric Holmes and I purchased DVDs of Hopscotch at our local stores, and Bruce Purkey and I have old DVDs of The Poseidon Adventure as well. Based on Eric’s glowing review of Meteor, I may pick up the Blu-ray via Kino Lorber (as of this post the Blu-ray is 50% off but it only has the trailer as part of its special features!).

My Criterion DVD version of Hopscotch comes with an essay on Neame by Glenn Kenny as well as some awesome artwork:

Also a big shoutout to the lovely members of the Criterion Channel Forum Facebook Group who shed a healthy amount of insight on Hopscotch (which as of this writing is currently playing on Criterion Channel, along with several other Neame movies).

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Ronald Neame Director’s Spotlight Breakdown

2:20 – Bruce Purkey offers up his thoughts on Ronald Neame
4:25 – Eric Holmes’ latest pick up from EntertainMart was The Last Starfighter and Shotgun Stories.
5:11 – The winners of our EntertainMart giveaway are Jeff Bassin and Chad Wilfong!
6:40 – A little background on Ronald Neame.
7:45 – Eric Holmes also saw the Ronald Neame feature Meteor.
8:52 – Bruce gives a broad picture view on Neame after watching The Poseidon Adventure and Hopscotch.
10:03 – I do a quick mention of Neame’s 1950 feature Golden Salamander which co-stars Hopscotch actor Herbert Lom.
11:19 – We review The Poseidon Adventure.
13:10 – Eric Holmes compares the Ronald Neame version with the Kurt Russell feature Poseidon.
18:10 – Bruce on why The Poseidon Adventure reminded him of, in a positive way, a videogame (“it’s just great storytelling”).
23:17 – Quick memory of Leslie Nielsen whom I interviewed back in the 1990s.
26:20Carol Lynley quotes on working on The Poseidon Adventure.
29:53 – We review  Ronald Neame’s 1980 movie Hopscotch.
30:41 – Hopscotch reminded Eric Holmes of the Coen Brothers movie Burn After Reading. Eric loved the movie and he didn’t want it to end.
32:51 – Originally Warren Beatty was considered the lead for Hopscotch.
33:54 – Bruce Purkey said Hopscotch reminded him of Catch Me If You Can.
40:27 – Shout to the members of the Criterion Channel Forum Facebook Group!!
47:20 – Details on the DVD special features of the Criterion Collection release of Hopscotch.
48:36 – What are some other great Walter Matthau films? Eric picks The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3. The one Matthau film I want to watch is A New Leaf which co-stars and is directed by Elaine May.
50:06 – Another Matthau recommendation from Eric is Lonely Are the Brave. Bruce’s pick is The Sunshine Boys.
52:17 – Eric Holmes does extra credit with his take on the Ronald Neame feature Meteor.
53:05 – Eric said the special effects of Meteor are “bad” but he dug the storyline and the characterizations.
61:38 – It is Bruce’s turn for the Director’s spotlight and his choice is Leos Carax. We will be watching Holy Motors and The Lovers on the Pont-Neuf.

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