Samuel Bronston


Executive, Producer

About

Birth Place
Romania
Born
March 26, 1908
Died
January 12, 1994

Biography

A film distributor turned production executive for Columbia, Bronston was associated with B.P. Schulberg in producing a number of films for the studio in the early 1940s, including "The Adventures of Martin Eden" (1942) and "City Without Men" (1943). In 1943 Bronston set up his own company, Samuel Bronston Productions, releasing "Jack London" (1943) through United Artists. Setting himsel...

Biography

A film distributor turned production executive for Columbia, Bronston was associated with B.P. Schulberg in producing a number of films for the studio in the early 1940s, including "The Adventures of Martin Eden" (1942) and "City Without Men" (1943). In 1943 Bronston set up his own company, Samuel Bronston Productions, releasing "Jack London" (1943) through United Artists. Setting himself up in Spain, Bronston enjoyed his biggest period of success with his own company in the late 1950s, when he oversaw a series of flawed but nonetheless impressively lavish historical spectacles. These epics were often helmed by talented action directors, eager to work abroad or away from some of the constraints of the declining studio system. John Farrow made "John Paul Jones" (1959) for the producer, Anthony Mann helmed "El Cid" (1961) and "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964) for Bronston, and Nicholas Ray directed "King of Kings" (1961) and "55 Days at Peking" (1963). Although Bronston's credits at this time also include the more routine contemporary spectacle of "Circus World" (1964), his epic period pieces are admirably detailed and at their best present some interesting character studies.

Encouraged by his success, Bronston invested heavily in the building of major studios near Madrid, and was a key figure in promoting Spain as a site for film production. The recipient of many international honors, including the Grand Cross of Merit by the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre (the highest honor of the Catholic Church), Bronston unfortunately overextended his investments and in 1964 had to stop his studio's production. Bronston was subsequently in debt, his company bankrupt, for many years, though in 1971 he announced that a major project, "Isabella of Spain," was in the works. Nothing came of it, however, but in 1976 Bronston did distribute the feature, "The Mysterious House of Doctor C."

Life Events

1943

Founded Samuel Bronston Productions; released pictures through United Artists

1964

Had to stop production due to financial problems

1971

Announced that he was resuming film production with a new feature, "Isabella of Spain"; feature was never produced

1976

Distributed "The Mysterious House of Doctor C"

Videos

Movie Clip

John Paul Jones (1959) - Your Audacity Amazes Me Denied a command in the Continental Navy, but seconded to the shrewd Commodore Hopkins (Thomas Gomez), Robert Stack (title character) offers a brainy plan and bold attack in the Bahamas, a fictional event in a roughly accurate context, in producer Samuel Bronston's John Paul Jones, 1959.
John Paul Jones (1959) - We Are Not Disappointed Now released from duties to seek naval prizes for his victorious ship's crew, Captain Jones (Robert Stack) meets Empress Catherine of Russia (Bette Davis), who tests his virtue with dancing girls, in John Farrow's John Paul Jones, 1959.
John Paul Jones (1959) - I Give You Liberty New on the pre-Revolutionary Virginia social scene, youthful captain Jones (Robert Stack), escorted by eminent Patrick Henry (Macdonald Carey), tangles with a bellicose Brit (Peter Cushing) and meets Dorothea (Erin O'Brien), early in John Paul Jones, 1959.
King Of Kings (1961) - He Is Without Sin John The Baptist (Robert Ryan) at work, interviewed by candidates when whom should appear but the little-known messiah, (Jeffrey Hunter), whose mother (Siobhan McKenna) he will shortly visit, in Nicholas Ray's King Of Kings, 1961.
King Of Kings (1961) - The Kingdom Of Judea Remarkably effective old-school epic-making, the only de facto collaboration of Nicholas Ray, directing, and Orson Welles, narrating, Conrado San Martin as the Roman general, opening producer Samuel Bronston’s take on the New Testament, King Of Kings, 1961, starring Jeffrey Hunter.
King Of Kings (1961) - On A Silver Platter Nice evocation by director Nicholas Ray of the origins of a famous phrase, King Herod (Frank Thring) infuriating his wife (Rita Gam) by demanding a dance from her daughter Salome (Brigid Bazlen), in King Of Kings, 1961.
55 Days At Peking (1963) - Open, Foreign Compound Dimitri Tiomkin music for the tone and narration to set the stage for producer Samuel Bronston's imperial epic 55 Days At Peking, 1963, starring Charlton Heston, David Niven and Ava Gardner.
55 Days At Peking (1963) - I'll Buy The Dead Boxer American Major Lewis (Charlton Heston) is introduced, briefing his troops and attempting to administer justice, riding into the city in Nicholas Ray's 55 Days At Peking, 1963.
55 Days At Peking (1963) - Clever Women In a Peking (a.k.a. Beijing) hotel after a long mission, American Marine Major Lewis (Charlton Heston) meets sly Russian baroness Natalie (Ava Gardner) who needs a room, in producer Samuel Bronston's 55 Days At Peking, 1963.
Mysterious House Of Dr. C.. The - Festival Dancers After early exposition, the floor is cleared for "The Festival Dancers," in The Mysterious House Of Dr. C., 1976, as choreographed by Jo Anna Kneeland, directed by her husband Ted, based on a Leo Delibes ballet.
Mysterious House Of Dr. C.. The - How Vulgar! Swanilda (Claudia Corday) and friends escape after invading the home of Dr. C. (Walter Slezak), who then enters his first animated reverie, Terry-Thomas voicing "The Bull," in The Mysterious House Of Dr. C., 1976.
Mysterious House Of Dr. C.. The - Finishing Touches Following the opening credits, narration about the quirky title character (Walter Slezak), in the Spanish-produced ballet-cartoon-musical The Mysterious House of Dr. C., as re-released in 1976, and previously known as Dr. Coppelius, 1968.

Trailer

Bibliography