SAMUEL BRONSTON (Samuel Bronshtein, March 26, 1908,
Bronston was born in Kishinev ,
He was a pioneer in the practice of locating epic-scale productions
Bronston frequently worked with a regular team of creative artists:
Anthony Mann , the screenwriters
Philip Yordan and Jesse
Lasky Jr. , the composer
Miklós Rózsa , the co-producers Jaime
Prades , Alan Brown and
Michał Waszyński , the cinematographer
Robert Krasker and film editor Robert Lawrence . He also favoured
The cost of the construction of the film studios and the box-office failure of his last epic, The Fall of the Roman Empire combined to leave Bronston in financial difficulties and, in 1964, he had to stop all business activities. Samuel Bronston Productions filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 5, 1964 stating he owed a debt of $5,647,758 to his creditor Pierre S. du Pont . His company declared bankruptcy in June of that year. A petition in August 1964 stated Bronston Distributors, Inc. (a separate company) owed Paramount $6,750,000 and Pierre S. Du Point $323,191.
Two years later, he was asked under oath by a lawyer for one of his
creditors a series of questions about the many bank accounts the
company had had in Europe. One of them concerned whether he had had an
Later, it was discovered that he had indeed had a very active personal bank account in Geneva during the years he had been producing films in Europe. He was convicted of perjury by federal prosecutors who argued that his answer, while truthful in and of itself, was intended to mislead or evade. After the appeals court upheld the conviction, Bronston v. United States reached the Supreme Court, which overturned the conviction on January 10, 1973. Its ruling, that literally truthful yet technically misleading answers cannot be prosecuted as perjury, has formed an important part of jurisprudence on the matter ever since, even being invoked by President Bill Clinton 's attorneys when he was charged with perjury during his impeachment .
The bankruptcy and criminal prosecution devastated his film career.
He had completed the 1964 Circus World with
Bronston died in 1994 of pneumonia secondary to Alzheimer\'s disease
at Mercy Hospital in
Samuel Bronston produced 13 films between 1942 and 1984:
* Fort Saganne – 1984 * Dr. Coppelius – 1966 * Savage Pampas (1966) * Circus World – 1964 * The Fall of the Roman Empire – 1964 * 55 Days at Peking – 1963 * El Cid – 1961 * King of Kings – 1961 * John Paul Jones – 1959 * A Walk in the Sun – 1945 (uncredited) * Jack London – 1943 * City Without Men – 1943 (as executive producer) * The Adventures of Martin Eden – 1942
* ”Bronston Film Productions Files Bankruptcy Petition", New York Times, June 6, 1944 p. 15. * "Business Records", New York Times, August 6, 1965, p. 32. * Lyons, Richard D. "Samuel Bronston, Film Producer, 85", New York Times, January 15, 1994, p. 28