Bryanston Films (UK)

Bryanston Films was a British film company formed by Michael Balcon and Maxwell Setton in mid-1959 following the collapse of Ealing Studios. Neither a production studio, nor a distributor, it released independent British films through British Lion Films[1] In operation until 1963, it was intended to be an unofficial group of independent film producers.[2][3]


The Bryanston consortium was composed of 12 to 15 members who bought their way in by putting up £5,000; the equity of the group guaranteed distribution through British Lion and financing from the National Film Finance Corporation, banks, and American producers. In addition to Balcon and Setton, members included Kenneth Shipman, John Bryan, Tony Richardson, Julian Wintle and Ronald Neame.[4][5] Alliance Films, Denham Laboratories and Lloyds Bank were also investors. Producer-investors were meant to "vet" each other's scripts. Ronald Neame said that:

The old complaint of producers has always been that the distributors tend to ask us for old formula films. Many of us have said this has said this has forced us to be less enterprising than we would wish to be. But now the onus is on us. If I submit a script to Bryanston, I know it will be vetted by fellow producers whose opinions I respect.[6]

The company started off with £1,000,000.[7]

In November 1961 the company announced it would go into co production with Seven Arts Productions, to make Sammy Going South and Tom Jones.[8][9]

Bryanston distributed several films made by Woodfall Film Productions but refused to produce Tom Jones (1963) in colour, the success of which could have established the company for a long time.[10] United Artists stepped in to finance the film instead.

Bryanston released its last film in 1964 and the company was sold to Associated-Rediffusion in 1965. Balcon later became head of British Lion Films.[11]

Selected films


  1. Barr, Charles Ealing Studios University of California Press, 1998, p.220
  2. p.106 Harper, Sue Women in British Cinema: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000
  3. Petrie, Duncan James (2017). "Bryanston Films : An Experiment in Cooperative Independent Production and Distribution" (PDF). Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. ISSN 1465-3451.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. A NEW ERA IN FILM-MAKING: Artist-investors Our London Staff. The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 14 Apr 1959: 4.
  7. LONDON LETTER The Irish Times (1921-Current File) [Dublin, Ireland] 15 Apr 1959: 7.
  8. "New Film Group." Times [London, England] 15 Nov. 1961: 6. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.
  9. "New Film Group IS Aiming At U.S. Market." Times [London, England] 17 Nov. 1961: 8. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.
  10. p.222 Barr
  11. "BFI Screenonline: Balcon, Michael (1896-1977) Biography".
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