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Milton Subotsky (The Times)

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Milton Subotsky, American independent film producer and writer, died in London on June 27 aged 69. He was born in New York City on September 27, 1921.

FOR more than twenty years, Milton Subotsky brought American enthusiasm and enterprise to the British cinema scene. Working with his partner Max J. Rosenberg, he established his Amicus company as a major force in British horror and fantasy film-making. Dr Terror's House of Horrors, The Deadly Bees, The House That Dripped Blood, Scream and Scream Again, The Skull (the Marquis de Sade's skull, naturally): Subotsky's fondness for lurid, shiver-provoking titles knew no bounds.

Yet Subotsky's films were not all screams, skulls and ghouls. Always quick to pounce on popular trends, he packaged a handful of cheap, lively pop musicals: in 1962, It's Trad, Dad! gave Richard Lester his first chance to direct features. Subotsky also master-minded Dr Who's cinema career, co-producing and writing two features based on the BBC serial, one of which contained the time-travelling Doctor's immortal line: "We'll have to bypass Watford; the place is full of Daleks." On a higher plane, Subotsky produced film versions of Pinter's The Birthday Party and Margaret Drabble's novel The Millstone, these he wisely left for the authors themselves to write.

Subotsky came to Britain in 1959 after varied American experience in film, television and journalism. He prepared television programmes for pioneer broadcasts in New York and Schenectady; during the war he edited footage for the US Signal Corps Photographic Center. In the 1950s he wrote television scripts and produced the series Junior Science. His film break-through came with Rock Rock Rock!, a 1956 musical featuring disc-jockey Alan Freed, Chuck Berry, twenty rock and roll numbers, and a teenaged Tuesday Weld — making her debut as a schoolgirl eager for a strapless dress.

"A pasted-together quickie," snorted the reviewer in the show business newspaper variety. Yet the film at least got Subotsky started. After two further features, he moved to Britain for The City of the Dead (1960), an effectively eerie tale imbued with the spirit of H. P. Lovecraft's occult stories. It's Trad, Dad! and Just For Fun! — photographed by Nicolas Roeg — provided more innocent merriment for teenage audiences. Then the parade of terrors began.

Subotsky and Rosenberg may have plunged into the field under the influence of Hammer's horror films. Yet their Amicus product pursued an individual path, reviving the anthology format made famous by Ealing Studios' Dead of Night. The first film, Dr Terror's House of Horrors (1964), told five separate tales (all by Subotsky); others often used stories by Robert Bloch. Most were directed by Freddie Francis, a former cameraman. Quality inevitably varied, but the best segments spun their grisly plots with enjoyable verve. Subotsky also ventured" into prehistoric terrain, adapting two Edgar Rice Burroughs novels in The Land That Time Forgot and At the Earth's Core —genial romps sabotaged at times by weak acting and cost-conscious special effects.

In 1975 Subotsky and Rosenberg went their separate ways. Subotsky formed a new company, Sword and Sorcery, but found it hard to match his old achievements. Difficult relations with the technical unions in the 1980s curtailed his activities in Britain, though he worked on many projects and co-produced films for American television. His last film in Britain was The Monster Club in 1980.

He leaves his widow, Fiona, and two sons.

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  • APA 6th ed.: (1991-07-20). Milton Subotsky (The Times). The Times .
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Milton Subotsky (The Times)." The Times [add city] 1991-07-20. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Milton Subotsky (The Times)." The Times, edition, sec., 1991-07-20
  • Turabian: "Milton Subotsky (The Times)." The Times, 1991-07-20, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Milton Subotsky (The Times) | url= | work=The Times | pages= | date=1991-07-20 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=31 January 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Milton Subotsky (The Times) | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=31 January 2023}}</ref>