Roscoe C. Behrmann

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Roscoe C. Behrmann (1929-2020) was a producer and production manager.


Roscoe Clarence Behrmann was born in Graaff Reinet on 10 June 1929, where his Russian-born father was a car salesman. When he was six the family moved to Johannesburg, where he received his education at King Edward VII School. In 1947, at the age of 18, he joined African Film Productions, where his uncle David Millin was a junior cameraman, as an office boy. When, in 1949, the British Ealing Studios sent director Harry Watt to Kenya to film Where No Vultures Fly (released in 1951), Millin was seconded as 2nd unit cameraman, while Behrmann went along as an uncredited 3rd assistant director. Upon his return to South Africa he was promoted to Production Manager, Features for AFP and two years later he was sent to Cape Town as Manager/Producer for the African Mirror newsreel for the Western and Eastern Cape, where he worked with cameramen Ken Sara and Eddie de Villiers.

In 1956, Millin and Behrmann left African Film Productions to form their own production company, David Millin Productions. They had an American television deal to produce a half-hour series entitled Stories out of Africa and after the contract expired the company produced television commercials for Rhodesian television and training shorts for government departments and the mining industry. The first feature in which the company was involved was Donker Afrika (1957), which was a co-production with Al Debbo, and this was followed by nine other features, amongst them Seven Against the Sun (1964), adapted from the novel and stage play by James Ambrose Brown, and Majuba, Hill of Doves (1968), based on a novel by Stuart Cloete. Most of these films were production deals with S.A. Screen Productions, Killarney Film Studios or 20th Century Fox (all the same company under different names at different times).

In 1966 Millin and Behrmann decided to fold David Millin Productions and joined a new record company called RPM Records. They formed RPM Film Studios to produce features and documentaries for both the local and the world market. The first of these films was Shangani Patrol (1970), but after only eighteen months they agreed to be bought out by their partners. While Millin continued in the film industry as DeeMillin Productions, Behrmann decided to go into financial planning. Then, after a break of some 18 years, he briefly rejoined the industry when Edgar Bold of Toron Screen Corporation invited him to become the firm’s executive in charge of international pictures. This came to an end soon afterwards when the government withdrew the tax incentives they had they had previously offered to overseas companies. In 2010, after the death of his wife Phyllis, he moved to Australia to be closer to two daughters, who live there. A son still lives in South Africa and another daughter lives in New York. He died in 2020.


Where No Vultures Fly (3rd assistant directed - uncredited) (Harry Watt/19510, Song of Africa (production manager) (Emil Nofal/1951), Inspan (production manager with Tina Peters) (Bladon Peake/1953), ‘n Plan is ‘n Boerdery (production manager) (Pierre de Wet/1954), Donker Afrika (producer) (David Millin/1957), Stropers van die Laeveld (producer) (David Millin/1962), Death Drums Along the River / Sanders (2nd unit production manager) (Lawrence Huntington/1963), Seven Against the Sun (in charge of production) (David Millin/1964), Ride the High Wind (in charge of production) (David Millin/1965), The Second Sin (in charge of production) (David Millin/1966), Escape Route Cape Town / The Cape Town Affair (in charge of production) (Robert D. Webb/1967), The Jackals (in charge of production) (Robert D. Webb/1967), Majuba, hill of doves / Majuba: heuwel van duiwe (in charge of production) (David Millin/1968), Shangani Patrol (in charge of production) (David Millin/1970), Die Banneling (in charge of production) (David Millin/1971), Killer Instinct (in charge of production) (David Lister/1988), Night of the Cyclone (in charge of production) (David Irving/1990), Schweitzer / Lambarene (in charge of production) (Gray Hofmeyr/1990).


Behrmann also did occasional stage work, personally and professionally, largely for his own pleasure. Thus he acted in the musical The King of Diamonds (1961), directed by Robert Langford for the National Theatre Organisation. Earlier he also produced Harvest Champagne, a musical written by Harold Shaper and staged in aid of the Cape Province Cerebral Palsy Association. Besides himself, others in the cast were Harro Fromme, Joey Wishnia, Paddy Canavan and Don Furnival. He also had a cameo role in his own film production of Seven Against the Sun, in which he “played” the part of the dead South African pilot shot down by the enemy in the Western Desert. (FO)


Roscoe C. Behrmann

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

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