David Bradley's largest contribution to Hollywood came not from his directorial efforts, which while initially promising, only blossomed into a mediocre career, but from his work as an archivist of Tinseltown's so-called Golden Age. He owned the largest private collection of film in the U.S. and every New Year's Day hosted lavish parties honoring the few survivors of the silent and studio eras. Bradley made sure these gatherings were filmed and the results provide invaluable resources for film buffs and historians.
Born and raised in Winnetka, IL, Bradley started making films while attending Northwestern University. His received private financing for his initial ventures which were adaptations of classic literature shot on 8.5 mm and 16 mm film. His first two, versions of Oliver Twist and Treasure Island, were followed by Peer Gynt (1941), starring classmate Charlton Heston in his film debut. Heston also starred in Bradley's Julius Caesar eight years later. Bradley's version of Macbeth earned him considerable acclaim and led to his being dubbed "the 16 mm Orson Welles." He signed with MGM in 1952 where he made his Hollywood debut with Talk About a Stranger. Due in part to a poor choice of material, Bradley made only three more films through 1963, including They Saved Hitler's Brain (aka Madmen of Mandoras) (1963). His Peer Gynt was theatrically released in 1965. Bradley died on December 20, 1997, at the age of 77.