Rand Film Productions

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rand Film Productions was a short-lived production company that was incorporated in November 1961. Its first film was the mining drama Tremor (1961), which was written by Alastair Scobie, directed by Denis Scully and starred Canadian actor Robert Beatty. Subsequently a co-production contract was signed with London’s Avon Films to produce the science fiction thriller Hands of Space, scripted by Monte Doyle, again directed by Scully and featuring Gordon Mulholland and Valerie Phillip, but there is no record of it ever having been released. In spite of that the company announced an ambitious film programme for the future, starting with Kalahari, which was to star Wynona Cheyney and bodybuilder Roy Hilligenn. In his autobiography Boy from Bethulie actor Patrick Mynhardt describes why the location shoot was a disaster. There was also a plan to film James Ambrose Brown’s play Seven against the Sun, but that was made a few years later by David Millin. For a film called The Lonely Hours, scripted by Peter Prowse, they hoped to attract British actress Shirley Anne Field, but this didn’t work out either. However, they were the South African support company for the Richard Todd-starrer Death Drums along the River (1963).

The company was placed in provisional liquidation in April 1964 when it had liabilities amounting to R40,000 and no money to pay its creditors. At the time its main asset was said to be a film called Journey into Nowhere, directed by Denis Scully and starring British actor Tony Wright and German actors Sonja Ziemann and Helmut Schmidt. The only shareholders in Rand Film Productions were Scully and attorney James Kantor, while its managing director was Italian-born Ernest Bisogno, who may also have been responsible for bringing in Italian cameraman Emilio Varriano. It could not have been helpful that at the time Kantor had other things on his mind. He was one of the defence lawyers in the Rivonia Trial and his brother-in-law and legal partner, Harold Wolpe, was one of the accused. When Wolpe managed to escape, Kantor was arrested and charged with the same crimes as Nelson Mandela and the others, though the judge eventually discharged him and stated that he had no case to answer.


Rand Daily Mail (various issues)

Sunday Times (various issues)

Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm (1982)

Mynhardt, Patrick - Boy van Bethulie: an autobiography (2003)

Return to

Return to South African Theatre Venues, Companies, Societies, etc

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page