Ronald Neame Has Died
I have always enjoyed genre movies, and B-movies, and disaster movies. Ronald Neame directed the greatest of these, The Poseidon Adventure, a classic Hollywood kitsch-fest that has made the idea of a fat lady swimming underwater en route to "The Holy Land" both deeply moving and faintly comic. Nor can we forget the pathos of the tough NYC cop played by Borgnine losing his wife to a sudden jolt, fall and fireball ("Linda!!!"), or Gene Hackman's tormented Vatican II priest dying to save his unlikely comrades on the cross of an inverted door-wheel. Remakes have done much to prove the commercial genius of the original, whose humour, humanity and sense of adventure (indeed) have yet to be recaptured in any such flick since. Neame made other films, but my other 70s favourite by him is The Odessa File, which manages to capture the gritty feel of the period, with a superb performance by a young Jon Voight. The scene where he avoids being crushed by a Berlin metro car is exciting, and one of my favourites, as is the shoot-out in a disused factory. A master has died.