Bryna Productions

Bryna Productions was a film production company established by Kirk Douglas in 1955, inspired by the success of Burt Lancaster in moving into production.

Named after Douglas' mother, Bryna Demsky, the company went on to produce 20 films between 1955 and 1986 with 6 more produced by Joel Productions, a Bryna subsidiary, named for his second son, Joel Douglas.[1]

Douglas established the company in 1950 and began optioning properties such as The Fearmakers and The Shadow.[2]

In March 1952 Douglas said he wanted Bryna to make three films a year.[3]

In January 1955 Douglas formally activated Bryna as a production company by signing a six picture deal with United Artists. Douglas agreed to star in some but not all of the films. The first two were to be The Vikings directed by Richard Fleischer and a biopic of Van Gogh.[4] Douglas ended up playing Van Gogh in an MGM film Lust for Life and Bryna's first movie to United Artists was The Indian FIghter.[5]

They produced Lizzie distributed by MGM[6] and Spring Reunion for UA. Neither starred Douglas.[7] Paths of Glory starred Douglas and was for UA.[8]

In May 1958 Bryna signed a two picture deal with Universal, to make Spartacus and Viva Gringo. Only the first of these was made.[9] However Bryna also made The Hot Eye of Heaven for Universal which became The Last Sunset.[10]

In November 1958 Douglas announced Bryna would make eleven films for $25 million including And the Rock Cried Out, The Indian Wars, Spartacus, The Sun at Midnight, The Shadow, A Most Contagious Game, Viva Gringo, The Silent One, The Brave Cowboy, Michael Strogoff and Simon Bolivar. Most of these would not be made.[11]

Bryna and Joel Productions mounted the stage production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.[12]

Select CreditsEdit


  1. ^ Kirk Douglas and Bryna Productions Archived 2015-02-23 at the Wayback Machine at Wisconscin Centre for Film and Television Research
  2. ^ Drama: Gene Autry Sets Plan for Biography; Douglas Gets Leave for Festival Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 3 Aug 1951: 17.
  3. ^ R. K. O. FILES SUIT IN JARRICO ACTION New York Times 18 Mar 1952: 22.
  4. ^ KIRK DOUGLAS SET TO ACTIVATE UNIT: Actor's Bryna Productions Will Make Six Films Under United Artists Contract By THOMAS M. PRYORSp New York Times 6 Jan 1955: 23.
  5. ^ FOX WILL STEP UP MOVIE PRODUCTION New York Times 7 Feb 1955: 17.
  6. ^ METRO TO MARKET 'LIZZIE,' A DRAMA New York Times 28 May 1956: 23.
  7. ^ FILM REUNION SET FOR BETTY HUTTON: New York Times 25 Jan 1956: 26.
  8. ^ ROLE IN WAR FILM FOR KIRK DOUGLAS The New York Times.17 Jan 1957: 32.
  9. ^ MOVIE IS PLANNED OF NOVEL BY FAST: Kirk Douglas' Firm and U.-I. List 'Spartacus' New York Times ]19 May 1958: 18.
  10. ^ TRUMBO IS AUTHOR OF NEW U.-I. MOVIE: New York Times 31 May 1960: 27.
  11. ^ KIRK DOUGLAS' FIRM SCHEDULES 11 FILMS New York Times 8 Nov 1958: 15.
  12. ^ ROLE IN PLAY SET FOR KIRK DOUGLAS: New York Times 6 Feb 1962: 25.

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