I got curious about the beginnings of Ronald Neame’s career, having enjoyed the middle period and hated the end (not so much POSEIDON ADVENTURE, but METEOR and FOREIGN BODY, ugh!) — the early films are almost completely unknown. Neame got started directing in 1947, one of the British cinema’s greatest years but also the close to the beginning of the post-war decline. TAKE MY LIFE is hard to see, and his second production, GOLDEN SALAMANDER, made three years later, is also obscure.
It’s an un-thrilling thriller with typically strong perfs and solid filming from Neame (with Ossie Morris lighting and Freddie Francis operating). Trevor Howard is the hero, Herbert Lom the baddie and Anouk Aimee — “Introducing the compelling new star discovery of the year….exotic ANOUK!” is the leading lady. It may be her introduction to British audiences but she’d made three films already in her homeland. She’s mostly excellent, and of course she would only get better. But I do find her a little hard to understand in this scene.
I think it goes like this —
Wilfred Hyde-White: Anna… what’s the matter? What is it, Anna? Has Rankl been annoying you?
Anouk Aimee: Oh Anya! Wherey Debbie? Weresy? Essedeby beck e sea. And nuts past eleven.
Wilfred: Don’t cry, Anna. There’s nothing to cry about.
Anouk: Anya. Sings a gone out zat you don’t know about. Terble sings. Icon tell you. But wears he? Is this the happy negro away? Oh, I ka bay it an na da mean it.
Wilfred: Shhh, Anna.
I exaggerate. But it did take me about six listens to get all of it straight. And of course, I didn’t mind a bit.