Director: Mark Hartley
Starring: Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus, Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Forster, Tobe Hooper, Lucinda Dickey, Oliver Tobias, Dolph Lungdren
Written by: Mark Hartley
Running Time: 106 mins
Release date: 5th June 2015
During the 1980’s, there was one name that you couldn’t escape from when you went to the cinema: Cannon. In the UK, this was because the film company had bought a massive cinema chain, as well as Elstree Studios and a huge back catalogue of films. Along side this, they were producing movie after movie, mostly of dubious quality. Yet what was the story about the two men behind all this movie heaven and what exactly happened?
Menahem Golan loved movies. Born and living in Israel, he was hugely influenced by Hollywood and was desperate to make it in the famous town. After a string of low-budget films, along with his cousin, Yoram Globus, the men headed to America and bought a failing company named Cannon. The rest, as they say, is history, as they took on the huge system with low-budget, exploitation films that they believed would be blockbusters.
Writer and director Mark Hartley, who made a similar documentary about the Australian exploitation market with Not Quite Hollywood, takes the same fast-moving, quick cutting approach to this tale. Using archive footage, clips from the many films in the Cannon canon and interviews with the men and women who crossed paths with Golan/Globus, some happy, others bemused, a few not so complimentary, Hartley patches together a history of their journey from nobodies to big players in Hollywood and the world.
Sitting watching this obviously affectionate film, the editing does interfere with the enjoyment of this film. The quick lines from fellow film makers and stars switch so fast, it leaves you longing for more than just soundbites and somewhat dizzy trying to keep up. You want to hear these people taking about their experiences with the moguls in detail, yet we jump from one talking head to another in the blink of an eye.
Having said that, this is still a delightful, insightful documentary about men who wanted to rule the cinematic world. These men might not have made The Godfather but they certainly had the passion to entertain, even if the material they were producing was below par. As each film is flashed before your eyes, from the exploitative violence of the Death Wish series to Masters Of The Universe and the enormous disaster that was Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, you suddenly find yourself with a warm feeling inside and a longing to recapture that period.
Electric Boogaloo (which was the subtitle to one of the company’s biggest hits, Breakin’ 2) is a perfect exploration of two true film moguls. If you are a fan of cinema, or if you lived through that period, this is a must see. Then track some of the films down and relive just how bad they really were.