Pandro S. Berman

Pandro Samuel Berman (March 28, 1905 – July 13, 1996) also known as Pan Berman, was an American film producer.

Pandro S. Berman
Pandro S. Berman 1953
Berman in 1953
Born
Pandro Samuel Berman

March 28, 1905
DiedJuly 13, 1996 (aged 91)
Resting placeHillside Memorial Park
Culver City, California
Years active1923–1970
Spouse(s)Viola V. Newman (?–?)
Kathryn Hereford (m. 1960–1993)

Early life

Pandro Berman was born to a Jewish family[1][2][3] in Pittsburgh in 1905. His father Henry Berman was general manager of Universal Pictures during Hollywood's formative years.

Career

Pandro was an assistant director during the 1920s under Mal St. Clair and Ralph Ince. In 1930, Berman was hired as a film editor at RKO Radio Pictures, then became an assistant producer. When RKO supervising producer William LeBaron walked out during production of the ill-fated The Gay Diplomat (1931), Berman took over LeBaron's responsibilities, remaining in the post until 1939.

After David O. Selznick became chief of production at RKO in October 1931, Berman managed to survive Selznick's general firing of most of the staff. Selznick named Berman producer for the adaptation of Fannie Hurst's short story Night Bell, a tale of a Jewish doctor's rise out of the Lower East Side ghetto to the height of becoming a Park Avenue physician, which Selznick personally retitled Symphony of Six Million. He ordered Berman to have references to ethnic life in the Jewish ghetto restored.[4][5] The movie was a box-office and critical success. Both Selznick and Berman were proud of the picture, with Berman later saying it was the "first good movie" he had produced.[6]

The Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musicals were in production during the Berman regime, Katharine Hepburn rose to prominence, and such RKO classics as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Gunga Din (both 1939) were completed.

MGM

Upset when an RKO power-play diminished his authority, Berman left for MGM in 1940, where he oversaw such productions as Ziegfeld Girl (1941), National Velvet (1944), The Bribe (1949), Father of the Bride (1950), Blackboard Jungle (1955) and BUtterfield 8 (1960).

He survived several executive shake-ups at MGM and remained there until 1963, then went into independent production, closing out his career with the unsuccessful Move (1970).

Awards

Berman was the winner of the 1976 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. Six of his films were nominated for Academy Award for Best Picture: The Gay Divorcee (1934), Alice Adams and Top Hat (both 1935), Stage Door (1937), Father of the Bride (1950), and Ivanhoe (1952).

Death

Berman died of congestive heart failure on July 13, 1996 in his Beverly Hills home, aged 91. He was buried at the Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City, California.[7]

Selected filmography

References

  1. ^ The Jewish Chronicle: "Revealed: the truth about the ‘Jewish’ Hollywood" by Michael Freedland September 5, 2015
  2. ^ Allan, John B. (July 5, 2011). Elizabeth Taylor. Blackbird Books.
  3. ^ Brook, Vincent (December 15, 2016). From Shtetl to Stardom: Jews and Hollywood: Chapter 1: Still an Empire of Their Own: How Jews Remain Atop a Reinvented Hollywood. Purdue University Press. p. 17. ISBN 9781557537638.
  4. ^ "Symphony Of Six Million – 1932". The Irene Dunne Site. Archived from the original on September 25, 2013. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  5. ^ Doherty, Thomas (Summer 2011). "Symphony of Six Million". Cineaste. XXXVII (1). Archived from the original on September 25, 2013. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  6. ^ Arnold, Jeremy. "Symphony of Six Million". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  7. ^ Pandro Samuel Berman at Find a Grave

External links

Alice Adams (film)

Alice Adams is a 1935 romantic film made by RKO, starring Katharine Hepburn. It was directed by George Stevens and produced by Pandro S. Berman. The screenplay was by Dorothy Yost, Mortimer Offner, and Jane Murfin. The film was adapted from the novel Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington. The music score was by Max Steiner and Roy Webb, and the cinematography by Robert De Grasse. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress.

The film is about a young woman in a medium-sized town in the United States in the early 1900s and her pretentious attempts to appear upper-class and wed a wealthy man while concealing her poverty. Hepburn's popularity had declined after her two 1933 film triumphs - her Oscar-winning performance in Morning Glory and her celebrated performance as Jo March in Little Women; her performance in Alice Adams made her a public favorite again.

BUtterfield 8

BUtterfield 8 is a 1960 American drama film directed by Daniel Mann, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey. Taylor won her first Academy Award for her performance in a leading role. The film was based on a 1935 novel of the same name written by John O'Hara following the success of his critically acclaimed Appointment in Samarra.

Bhowani Junction (film)

Bhowani Junction is a 1956 film adaptation of the 1954 novel Bhowani Junction by John Masters made by MGM. The film was directed by George Cukor and produced by Pandro S. Berman from a screenplay by Sonya Levien and Ivan Moffat.

The film starred Ava Gardner as Victoria Jones, an Anglo-Indian who has been serving in the Indian Army, and Stewart Granger as Colonel Rodney Savage, a (British) Indian Army officer. It also featured Bill Travers, Abraham Sofaer, Francis Matthews, Lionel Jeffries and (uncredited) Neelo (who went on to become one of the leading ladies of the Pakistan film industry).

The film was shot in England at MGM-British Studios, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, on the Longmoor Military Railway, and on location in Lahore, Pakistan.

Blackboard Jungle

Blackboard Jungle is a 1955 social commentary film about teachers in an interracial inner-city school, based on the novel The Blackboard Jungle by Evan Hunter and adapted for the screen and directed by Richard Brooks. It is remembered for its innovative use of rock and roll in its soundtrack and for the unusual breakout role of a black cast member, future Oscar winner and star Sidney Poitier as a rebellious, yet musically talented student.

In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Father of the Bride (1950 film)

Father of the Bride is a 1950 American comedy film directed by Vincente Minnelli, about a man trying to cope with preparations for his daughter's upcoming wedding. The film stars Spencer Tracy in the titular role, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor, Don Taylor, Billie Burke, and Leo G. Carroll. It was adapted by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett from the novel by Edward Streeter. Father of the Bride was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay.

Ivanhoe (1952 film)

Ivanhoe is a British-American 1952 historical adventure epic film directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Pandro S. Berman for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film was shot in Technicolor, with a cast featuring Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Emlyn Williams, Finlay Currie, and Felix Aylmer. The screenplay is written by Æneas MacKenzie, Marguerite Roberts, and Noel Langley, based on the 1820 historical novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.

The film was the first in what turned out to be an unofficial trilogy made by the same director, producer, and star (Robert Taylor). The others were Knights of the Round Table (1953) and The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955). All three were made at MGM's British Studios at Elstree, near London.

In 1951, the year of production, one of the screenwriters, Marguerite Roberts, was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and MGM received permission from the Screen Writers Guild to remove her credit from the film.

Kathryn Hereford

Kathryn Hereford was an American film producer, dancer, and actress. She was married to Paramount producer Pandro S. Berman.

National Velvet (film)

National Velvet is a 1944 American Technicolor sports film directed by Clarence Brown and based on the novel of the same name by Enid Bagnold, published in 1935. It stars Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp, and a young Elizabeth Taylor. In 2003, National Velvet was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Of Human Bondage (1934 film)

Of Human Bondage is a 1934 American pre-Code drama film directed by John Cromwell and is widely regarded by critics as the film that made Bette Davis a star. The screenplay by Lester Cohen is based on the 1915 novel Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham.

Tea and Sympathy (film)

Tea and Sympathy is a 1956 American drama film and an adaptation of Robert Anderson's 1953 stage play of the same name directed by Vincente Minnelli and produced by Pandro S. Berman for MGM in Metrocolor. The music score was by Adolph Deutsch and the cinematography by John Alton. Deborah Kerr, John Kerr (no relation) and Leif Erickson re-created their original stage roles. Also in the cast were Edward Andrews, Darryl Hickman, Norma Crane, Tom Laughlin, and Dean Jones.

The Brothers Karamazov (1958 film)

The Brothers Karamazov is a 1958 film made by MGM, based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov. It was directed by Richard Brooks and produced by Pandro S. Berman. The screenplay was by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Richard Brooks. It was entered into the 1958 Cannes Film Festival. The brothers are played by Yul Brynner, Richard Basehart and William Shatner in his film debut.

The Gay Divorcee

The Gay Divorcee is a 1934 American musical film directed by Mark Sandrich and starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It also features Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, and Erik Rhodes, and was based on the Broadway musical Gay Divorce, written by Dwight Taylor from an unproduced play by J. Hartley Manners, which was adapted into a musical by Kenneth S. Webb and Samuel Hoffenstein. The film's screenplay was written by George Marion Jr., Dorothy Yost, and Edward Kaufman. Robert Benchley, H. W. Hanemann, and Stanley Rauh made uncredited contributions to the dialogue.

The stage version included many songs by Cole Porter, which were left out of the film, except for "Night and Day". Although the film's screenplay changed most of the songs, it kept the original plot of the stage version. The film features three members of the play's original cast repeating their stage roles - Astaire, Rhodes, and Eric Blore. The Hays Office insisted on the name change, from "Gay Divorce" to "The Gay Divorcee", believing that while a divorcee could be gay or lighthearted, it would be unseemly to allow a divorce to appear so. Although according to Astaire's autobiography (Steps in Time: An Autobiography), the change was made by a proactive effort from RKO. He claims that director, Mark Sandrich, told him that The Gay Divorcee was selected as the new name because the studio "thought it was a more attractive-sounding title, centered around a girl." RKO even offered fifty dollars to any employee who could come up with a better title. In the United Kingdom, the film was released with the original name of the play, Gay Divorce.

This film was the second of ten (after Flying Down to Rio, 1933) pairings of Rogers and Astaire on film.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939 film)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1939 American film starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara. Directed by William Dieterle and produced by Pandro S. Berman, the film is based on Victor Hugo's 1831 novel.

The Long, Long Trailer

The Long, Long Trailer is a 1954 American Anscocolor road comedy film based on a novel of the same name written by Clinton Twiss in 1951 about a couple who buy a new travel trailer home and spend a year traveling across the United States.The film stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It also features Marjorie Main, Keenan Wynn, Bert Freed, Moroni Olsen, Gladys Hurlbut, Madge Blake, Howard McNear, and Walter Baldwin. The picture was directed by Vincente Minnelli, working from a screenplay by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945 film)

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a 1945 American horror-drama film based on Oscar Wilde's 1890 novel of the same name. Released in March 1945 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film is directed by Albert Lewin and stars George Sanders as Lord Henry Wotton and Hurd Hatfield as Dorian Gray. Shot primarily in black-and-white, the film features four colour inserts in 3-strip Technicolor of Dorian's portrait; these are a special effect, the first two inserts are the original portrait and the second two after a major period of degeneration then recovery.

The Prisoner of Zenda (1952 film)

The Prisoner of Zenda is a 1952 film version of the classic novel of the same name by Anthony Hope and a remake of the famous 1937 film version. This version was made by Loew's and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Pandro S. Berman.

The screenplay, attributed to Noel Langley, was nearly word-for-word identical to the one used in the 1937 Ronald Colman version, which was by John L. Balderston, adapted by Wells Root, from the Hope novel and the stage play by Edward Rose, with additional dialogue by Donald Ogden Stewart.

The film stars Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, and James Mason (with Louis Calhern, Robert Douglas, Jane Greer and Robert Coote).

Alfred Newman's 1937 music score was adapted by Conrad Salinger, since Newman was unavailable to work on the film; and the cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg. The art direction was by Cedric Gibbons and Hans Peters and the costume design by Walter Plunkett.The silent film versions, The Prisoner of Zenda (1913) starred James K. Hackett and Beatrice Beckly and The Prisoner of Zenda (1922) starred Lewis Stone and Alice Terry. A comedy version The Prisoner of Zenda (1979) starred Peter Sellers and Lynne Frederick.

The Reluctant Debutante (film)

The Reluctant Debutante is a 1958 American Metrocolor comedy film in CinemaScope directed by Vincente Minnelli and produced by Pandro S. Berman from a screenplay by Julius J. Epstein and William Douglas-Home based on Douglas-Home's play of the same name. The music score is by Eddie Warner and the cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg.

The film stars Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall — whom he had married in 1957 after they worked together on The Constant Husband (1955) — with featured performances by John Saxon, Sandra Dee, and Angela Lansbury. The setting is London's debutante season amidst the last presentation at Court in 1958. However, because of Harrison's tax problems, the film had to be made in Paris. Kendall had been diagnosed with leukemia, but was not told prior to filming and only completed one more film, Once More With Feeling, before her death the following year.

In 2003 the film was remade as What a Girl Wants, starring Colin Firth and Amanda Bynes.

The Soldier and the Lady

The Soldier and the Lady is the 1937 American adventure film version of the oft-produced Jules Verne novel, Michel Strogoff. Produced by Pandro S. Berman, he hired as his associate producer, Joseph Ermolieff. Ermolieff had produced two earlier versions of the film, Michel Strogoff in France, and The Czar's Courier in Germany, both released in 1936. Both the earlier films had starred the German actor Adolf Wohlbrück. Berman also imported Wohlbrück, changing his name to Anton Walbrook to have him star in the American version. Other stars of the film were Elizabeth Allan, Margot Grahame, Akim Tamiroff, Fay Bainter and Eric Blore. RKO Radio Pictures had purchased the rights to the French version of the movie, and used footage from that film in the American production. The film was released on April 9, 1937.

Ziegfeld Girl (film)

Ziegfeld Girl is a 1941 American musical film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer starring James Stewart, Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr, Lana Turner, Tony Martin, Jackie Cooper, Eve Arden, and Philip Dorn. The film was directed by Robert Z. Leonard and featured musical numbers by Busby Berkeley.

Set in the 1920s, the film tells the parallel stories of three women who become performers in the renowned Broadway show the Ziegfeld Follies. It was intended to be a 1938 sequel to the 1936 hit The Great Ziegfeld, and recycled some footage from the earlier film.

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