Years active 1961-2007
|Name Tony Tenser|
Role Film producer
|Full Name Samuel Anthony Tenser|
Born 10 August 1920 (1920-08-10)
Died December 5, 2007, Southport, United Kingdom
Organizations founded Tigon British Film Productions
Movies Witchfinder General, The Sorcerers, Cul‑de‑sac, The Blood Beast Terror, The Black Torment
Similar People Michael Reeves, Piers Haggard, Robert Hartford‑Davis, Gene Gutowski, Stanley Long
Samuel Anthony Tenser (10 August 1920 – 5 December 2007) was an English-born film producer of Lithuanian-Jewish descent. He began as the producer of low budget exploitation films before moving into mainstream productions.
Life and career
Raised in a tenement in Shoreditch, with the family doing piecework for local tailors, Tenser was one of seven children. After war service as a technician in the Royal Air Force, he became a trainee manager for the ABC Cinemas circuit. Working for Miracle Films, Tenser coined the term "sex kitten" for the French movie star Brigitte Bardot when The Light Across the Street (La lumière d'en face, 1955) was released in the UK.
In 1960, with business partner Michael Klinger, he opened the Compton Cinema Club, a private members club. Initially the distributors of foreign films, they diversified into production in partnership with the owners of the Cameo chain of cinema, and founded Compton Cameo Films. The first film of the new company was Naked as Nature Intended (1961), a nudist film
Persuaded by his business partner in Compton Films, Michael Klinger. Tenser was responsible for producing Repulsion (1965) and Cul-de-sac (1966). the first two films in English made by the Polish director Roman Polanski. He founded his own production company Tigon British Film Productions in 1966, which made other mainstream films such as Michael Reeves' two features The Sorcerers (1966) and Witchfinder General (1967), as well as other horror films. After production of The Creeping Flesh (1973) concluded, Tenser resigned from Tigon. Following his last film as executive producer, Frightmare (1974), he retired from the film industry.
With his much younger third wife, he settled in Southport in 1978; the couple later separated, and Tenser spent his last years in a care home opposite the house he had shared with his wife.
Tenser's career as a film producer was extensively documented in the book "Beasts in the Cellar: The Exploitation Film Career of Tony Tenser" which was published in 2005. Well-received by reviewers as varied as The New York Times, The Independent and Little Shoppe of Horrors, the book was written by film critic John Hamilton, who conducted over 18 hours of taped interviews with the producer, as well as exclusive interviews with many of the actors and craftsmen employed by Tenser. Hamilton also had access to original production files and correspondence.