Ronald Brantford

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Ronald Brantford (b. Wandsworth, London, 21/05/1907 – d. Cape Town, 28/04/1994) was a production manager, producer and occasional director.


Ronald Brantford was born Albert Henry George Comerford in Wandsworth, London. His parents, Bert and Aggie Comerford, were both in vaudeville and later moved on to play bit parts in films. In 1939 he married Noreen Owen (née Price) and during World War II he was assigned to Ealing Studios, which is where he embarked on his film career. Initially he was uncredited, but subsequently he was acknowledged as location or unit manager on a number of prestigious films, including Went the Day Well? (Alberto Cavalcanti/1942), San Demetrio, London (Charles Frend/1943) and the classic omnibus film Dead of Night (1945).

In 1946 he was brought out to South Africa by William Boxer, the founder of Alexander Films, South Africa’s first cinema advertising company. Brantford eventually became the studio manager of its production division, Alpha Film Studios in Highlands North, Johannesburg. However, one of his first assignments was as co-director of Pantoffel-regering, based on a novel by Johan van der Post. Because at that stage he did not speak a word of Afrikaans, script-writer Anton Ackermann was co-opted as “dialogue director”. Ackermann also had a role in the film, while cameraman Harold Julius had already worked with Brantford at Ealing Studios.

As Alpha Film Studios was primarily involved in the production of film commercials, the individuals who worked on them were never credited, but an advert made by Killarney Film Studios for the South African Meat Board that was shown at the 1967 International Festival of Advertsing Films in Cannes was directed by Ronald Brantford. Alpha was also involved in the production of several documentaries, but these are almost impossible to track down. (FO)


Ronald Brantford had a brother who, under the name Mickey (Michael) Brantford (1912-1983), appeared in some 50 British films between 1917 and 1937. In addition, editor/sound editor Bill Asher is his cousin.


Private conversations and correspondence with relatives

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