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Cineguild Productions

Production Company

Main image of Cineguild Productions

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.

It 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 praised.

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.

Cineguild 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

Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Blithe Spirit (1945)Blithe Spirit (1945)

Noël Coward comedy about a ghost who won't stay still

Thumbnail image of Brief Encounter (1945)Brief Encounter (1945)

Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson start a great British romance

Thumbnail image of Great Expectations (1946)Great Expectations (1946)

David Lean's definitive Dickens adaptation

Thumbnail image of Madeleine (1949)Madeleine (1949)

David Lean's film about real-life alleged murderess Madeleine Smith

Thumbnail image of Oliver Twist (1948)Oliver Twist (1948)

David Lean's definitive version of Charles Dickens' classic novel

Thumbnail image of Passionate Friends, The (1948)Passionate Friends, The (1948)

David Lean film about a woman who marries for money rather than love

Thumbnail image of This Happy Breed (1944)This Happy Breed (1944)

David Lean/Noël Coward film about a London family between the wars

Related Collections

Thumbnail image of Encyclopedia of British Film Encyclopedia of British Film

The exhaustive reference work from which this biography is taken

Related People and Organisations

Thumbnail image of Lean, David (1908-1991)Lean, David (1908-1991)

Director, Writer, Editor

Thumbnail image of Neame, Ronald (1911-2010)Neame, Ronald (1911-2010)

Cinematographer, Director, Writer

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