Michael Klinger (producer)

For the Australian cricketer, see Michael Klinger.

Michael Klinger (1 November 1920 15 September 1989)[1] After Tony Tenser, then a publicist became his business partner, the two men created the Compton cinema chain and distribution company and financed Repulsion (1965) and Cul-de-sac (1966) both directed by Roman Polanski. After their association ended, Klinger produced Get Carter (1971), starring Michael Caine, and Gold (1974), with Roger Moore in the lead, and was the executive producer of the 'Confessions' series of sex comedies with Robin Askwith.

Early life

Klinger was born in London, the son of a Polish-born tailor.[2] During the Second World War, he worked for the British Government as an inventor. He devised a machine to test bombs without the need to detonate them, however because he was a government employee he earned no money for the invention except a six shilling pay increase.[3]

After the War Klinger worked on the market in the East End of London, before being offered the opportunity to invest in a Soho cinema.

Partnership with Tony Tenser

Klinger was initially the owner of a strip club, but began a business association with Tony Tenser in 1960 after they had met following a publicity stunt organised by Tenser at a cinema Klinger managed.[4]

The two men opened a private members cinema, the Compton Club that year, apparently with John Trevelyan, then head of the British Board of Film Censors, as a founder member.[5] A distribution firm Compton Cameo Films was established.[6] Both enterprises were originally dedicated to imported exploitation films, but undertook its own films in the 'nudie' genre, though their first, Naked as Nature Intended (1961), directed by Harrison Marks and starring Pamela Green, was marketed as a documentary. For about eighteen months, Klinger and Tenser's company owned the Windmill Theatre, after its nude reviews had ended, and reverting the auditorium into its earlier use as a cinema,[7] and using it as a setting for Secrets of a Windmill Girl (1966).[4]

It was Klinger though who persuaded Tenser to back the first English language feature films of Polish director Roman Polanski. Despite the success of Repulsion (1965) and Cul-de-Sac (1966), Klinger and Tenser ended their business connection in 1967.

Klinger's solo career

Klinger sent the Ted Lewis novel Jack's Return Home to director Mike Hodges, asking whether he would be interested in adapting and directing a film version. Hodges agreed. The result, starring Michael Caine, Get Carter, was released early in 1971.[8] Klinger, Hodges and Caine formed a production company to make Pulp which followed in 1972.

Klinger was the executive producer of the Confessions series of sex comedies (Window Cleaner/Pop Performer/Driving Instructor/Holiday Camp) during the period 1974-78. He continued with big budget action films, such as Gold (1974) and Shout at the Devil (1976), both starring Roger Moore and with Lee Marvin in the later. The two films were based on novels by Wilbur Smith, and aimed an international market.[9]

He died in Watford. His son, Tony Klinger, has had a career in the film and television industry.

Other films

Produced by Michael Klinger and Tony Tenser

Produced by Michael Klinger


  1. The imdb website gives these dates, but his year of birth is given as 1920 on the website of the University of Western England where Klinger's archive is held.
  2. Brian MacFarlane The Encyclopedia of British Film, London: Methuen/BFI, 2003, p.367
  3. Round, Simon (July 14, 2011). "Interview: Tony Klinger". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  4. 1 2 Obituary: Tony Tenser, The Times, 17 December 2007
  5. Matthew Sweet "The lost worlds of British cinema: The horror", The Independent, 29 January 2006
  6. Gavin Gaughan Obituary: Tony Tenser, The Guardian, 13 March 2008
  7. "Windmill International", Cinema Treasures
  8. Maxim JakubowskI "A Conversation with Writer/Director Mike Hodges", Mulholland Books, 1 November 2010
  9. Andrew Spicer "The Creative Producer – The Michael Klinger Papers",

External links

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