The association on In Which We Serve (1942) of
director David Lean, cinematographer Ronald Neame and (associate) producer
Anthony Havelock-Allan) was formalised as Cineguild in 1944, formed by
Havelock-Allan who invited the others to join, and the resulting production
company contributed substantially to the prestige of '40s British cinema.
began with three films derived from Noël Coward's plays: This Happy Breed
(1944), Blithe Spirit (1945) and, most famously, Brief Encounter
(1945). The company switched from Coward to Dickens for its next two successes,
Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948), both much
Just before Brief Encounter, Cineguild accepted an invitation to
join Rank's Independent Producers (a group including The Archers and Launder and
Gilliat's Individual Pictures), which meant their productions were underwritten
by Rank but that they were also given remarkable creative freedom.
came to an end partly as a result of the partners wanting to do different
things. Neame directed the proficient thriller, Take My Life (1947),
Havelock-Allan bowed out of Oliver Twist to produce Blanche Fury (d. Marc Allégret, 1948), and Lean went on to make two films with his then wife Ann Todd: The
Passionate Friends (1948), taking over the direction of this from Neame, and
the sumptuous period piece, Madeleine
(1950). For seven years Cineguild had a 'quality' reputation out of proportion
to the number of films it made.
Neame, Ronald, From the Horse's Mouth (2002).
Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film