GOLAN. Producer and Director. Nationality: Israeli. Born: Tiberias, Palestine (now Israel), 31 May 1929. Education: Studied directing at the Old Vic School and the London Academy of Music and Drama, filmmaking at New York University. Military Service: Served as pilot in the Israeli Air Force during the war of independence. Family: Married; three children. Career: Apprentice at Habimah Theatre, Tel Aviv; after stage studies, directed plays in Israel; after film studies, worked as assistant to Roger Corman; later became head of 21st Century Film Corporation. Address: 21st Century Film Corporation, 7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048, U.S.A.
GLOBUS. Producer. Nationality: Israeli. Born: Palestine (now Israel), c. 1943. Career: Became CEO of Pathé International (previously Cannon), later MGM-Pathé; founded production company, Melrose Entertainment. Address: c/o 5757 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 721, Los Angeles, CA 90036, U.S.A.
The Young Racers (Corman) (Golan = prop master only); El Dorado (+ Golan = d)
Sallah Shabati ( Sallah ) (Kishon)
Mivtza Kahir ( Trunk to Cairo ) (+ Golan = d); La Fille de la mer morte (+ Golan = d)
What's Good for the Goose (Golan = d, + co-sc only)
Margo (+ Golan = d); Lupo (+ Golan = d)
Ani Ohev Otach Rosa ( I Love You, Rosa ) (Mizrahi); Queen of the Road (+ Golan = d, + sc)
Escape to the Sun (+ Golan = d, + co-sc)
The House on Chelouche Street (Mizrahi); Kazablan (+ Golan = d)
Lepke (+ Golan = d)
Diamonds ( Tevye and His Seven Daughters ) (+ Golan = d, + co-sc)
The Passover Plot (Campus)
Operation Thunderbolt ( Entebbe ) (+ Golan = d); The Uranium Conspiracy (+ Golan = d); Eskimo Limon ( Lemon Popsicle ) (Davidson)
It's a Funny, Funny World (Shessel)
Der Magier ( The Magician of Lublin ) (+ Golan = d); Imi Hageneralit ( My Mother the General ) (Zilberg); Yotz 'im Kavua ( Going Steady ) (Davidson)
The Apple ( Star Rock ) (+ Golan = d)
New Year's Evil (Alston); Body and Soul (Browers); Enter the Ninja (Globus = pr, Golan = d, + co-sc)
That Championship Season (Miller); Hospital Massacre (Davidson); Sapiches ( Private Popsicle ; Lemon Popsicle IV ) (Davidson); Ahava Ilemeth ( The Secret of Yolanda ) (Silberg); The Last American Virgin (Davidson); Nana (Wolman); House of the Long Shadows (Walker)
Ten to Midnight (Lee Thompson); One More Chance (Firstenberg); Hercules (Coates); Revenge of the Ninja (Firstenberg); The Ultimate Solution of Grace Quigley (Harvey); Roman Zair ( Baby Love ; Lemon Popsicle V ) (Wolman); The Wicked Lady (Winner)
I'm Almost Not Crazy: John Cassavetes—the Man and His Work (Ventura—doc); Over the Brooklyn Bridge ( Alby's Delight ) (+ Golan = d); The Seven Magnificent Gladiators (Mattel); Bolero (Derek); Missing in Action (Zito); Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo (Firstenberg); Exterminator 1 (Buntzman); Ninja III: The Domination (Firstenberg); Sword of the Valiant (Wecks); Love Streams (Cassavetes); Sahara (McLaglen); The Naked Face (Forbes); Agatha Christie's Ordeal by Innocence (David); Mata Hari (Harrington); Déjà vu (Richmond); Hot Resort (Robins); Thunder Alley (Cardone); The Ambassador (Lee Thompson)
King Solomon's Mines (Lee Thompson); Runaway Train (Konchalovsky); Lifeforce (Hooper); Invasion U.S.A. (Zito); Rappin' (Silberg); Eskimo Ohgen ( Eskimo Limon 6 ; Up Your Anchor ; Lemon Popsicle 6 ) (Wolman); The Berlin Affair (Cavani)
The Delta Force (+ Golan = d, + co-sc); Cobra (Cosmatos); Invaders from Mars (Hooper); The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II (Hooper); Over the Top (+ Golan = d); Assassination (Hunt); 52 Pick-Up (Frankenheimer); America 3000 (Engelbach); Avenging Force (Firstenberg); Dangerously Close (Pyun); Duet for One (Konchalovsky); Dumb Dicks (Ottoni); Field of Honor (Scheersmaker); Firewalker (Lee Thompson); Hashigaon Hagadol (Alter); Journey to the Center of the Earth (Lemorande); K'Fafoth ; Lightning—The White Stallion (Levey); Malkat Hakita ; Murphy's Law (Lee Thompson); The Naked Cage (Nicholas); Number One with a Bullet (Smight); Otello (Zeffirelli); POW—the Escape (Amir); Salome (d'Anna)
Business as Usual (Barrett); Rumpelstiltskin (Irving); Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (Nelson); American Ninja II (Firstenberg); Assassination (Hunt): The Barbarians (Deodato); Barfly (Schroeder); Beauty and the Beast (Marner); Dancers (Ross); Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (Lee Thompson); Down Twisted (Pyun); Dutch Treat (Davidson); The Emperor's New Clothes (Irving); Going Bananas (Davidson); Gor (Kiersch); Hansel and Gretel (Talan); King Lear (Godard); The Kitchen Toto (Hook); Mascara (Conrad); Masters of the Universe (Goddard); Red Riding Hood (Adam Brooks); Shy People (Konchalovsky); Sleeping Beauty (Irving); Snow White (Berz); Street Smart (Schatzberg); Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (Furie); Surrender (Belson); Too Much (Rochat); Tough Guys Don't Dance (Mailer); Undercover (Stockwell)
D.C. Follies ; Hanna's War ( Innocent Heroes ) (+ Golan = d); The Threepenny Opera (+ Golan = d); Alien from L.A. (Pyun); Appointment with Death (Winner); Bloodsport (Arnold); Braddock: Missing in Action III (Norris); A Cry in the Dark (Schepisi); Doin' Time on Planet Earth (Matthau); Wall of Tyrany ( Freedom Fighter ) (Davis); Haunted Summer (Passer); Hero and the Terror (Tannen); Manifesto (Makavejev); Messenger of Death (Lee Thompson); Powaqqatsi (Reggio); Puss in Boots (Marner); Salsa (Davidson); Cyborg (Pyun) Mack the Knife (+ Golan = d, + sc); Kinjite (Lee Thompson); Rockula (Bercovici); Sinbad of the Seven Seas ; Young Love: Lemon Popsicle VII
Die Papierene Brucke (Beckermann); The Hanoi Hilton (Chetwynd)
Captain America (Pyun); The Phantom of the Opera (Little); The Rose Garden (Rademakers); Bad Jim (Ware)
Bullseye! (Winner) (co); The Fifth Monkey (Rochat); Captain America (Pyun); The Forbidden Dance (Clark); Night of the Living Dead (Savini); Street Hunter (Gallagher)
Terror of Manhattan (Clark); Invader (Cook); Badlanders (Gazarian); Three Days to a Kill (Williamson) (co); Rage (Maharaj) (co); Mad Dog Coll ( Killer Instinct ) (Stein) (co)
Dance Macabre (Clark); The Finest Hour ( Desert Shield ; S.E.A.L.S. (Dotan)
Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde (Shepphird) (exec); Silent Victim (Golan—for TV)
Dead Center (Carver)
Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol (Zito); Cattle Call (Guigui) (exec)
A Man Called Sarge (Gillard); Secret of the Ice Cave (Gabrea)
Delta Force 2 ( Stranglehold: Delta Force 2 ; Delta Force 2: The Columbian Connection ) (Norris) (co)
Tipat Mazal ( A Bit of Luck ); Lelakek Tatut ( Licking the Raspberry ) (Barbash)
Tobe Hooper's Night Terrors (Hooper) (exec); The Mummy Lives (O'Hara) (exec); Hellbound (Norris) (exec); Street Knight (Magnoli) (exec)
Chain of Command (Worth) (exec)
Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol (Zito)
Screen International (London), 21–28 March 1981.
Screen International (London), 16–23 January 1982.
American Premiere (Los Angeles, California), April 1982.
Screen International (London), May 1982.
Screen International (London), 10–17 March 1984.
Ecran Fantastique (Paris), December 1984.
Screen International (London), 4–18 May 1985.
Ciné Revue (Paris), 30 January 1986.
Cinématographe (Paris), no. 119, May 1986.
EPD Film (Frankfurt), vol. 4, no. 9, September 1987.
Yule, Andrew, Hollywood a Go-Go: An Account of the Cannon Phenomenon , London, 1987.
Cinema TV Today (London), 8 June 1974.
Screen International (London), 7 October 1978.
Screen International (London), 22–29 January 1983.
Sight and Sound (London), Summer 1983.
Film Comment (New York), November/December 1983.
Stills (London), June/July 1984.
Friedman, Robert, in American Film (Washington, D.C.), July/August, 1986.
Sight and Sound (London), Autumn 1986.
Hovde, B., "Moguler pa kreditt," in Z Filmtidsskrift (Oslo) , no. 2, 1995.
Abittan, G., "Le cinema Israelien: de la propagande a la critique," in Avant-Scene Cinema (Paris), July 1994.
Weiner, R., "Catching Up With Golan's Fresh Act," in Variety (New York), October 17/23, 1994.
Kino (Munich), no. 2, 1996.
* * *
The Israeli film producers Menahem Golan—a patriot who changed his name after the taking of the Golan Heights and directed Operation Thunderbolt about the Entebbe rescue—and Yoram Globus are cousins who bought the Cannon Group, a floundering film company, in 1979 for a mere $350,000, soon turning it into Hollywood's most prosperous independent film company, with revenues reaching $150 million in 1986. Cannon achieved this meteoric ascent by making exploitation films cheaply and quickly, and by adhering to a number of innovative though sometimes questionable business tactics.
The average Cannon film cost about $5 million to make, whereas a film from a major studio such as Paramount, Columbia, or Universal often costs two to three times that amount. Because studios allocate enormous budgets for talent, production crews, publicity, and the use of studio equipment, many productions must gross $20 million just to break even. As a result, a film thought to possess box-office potential is booked in as many theaters as possible in hopes of drawing huge audiences and profits. If the film is a flop, however, the loss to the studio can be astronomical. By working outside the Hollywood system and avoiding many of its expensive accouterments, an independent company such as Cannon could keep production costs down, although the savings frequently came at the expense of quality. Many independent companies are too small and financially insecure to distribute their own films and, ironically, rely on the stronger distribution arm of a major studio. Again, risk and costs are minimized, yet so is the chances of reaping huge profits.
As independent producers, Golan and Globus found additional ways to reduce costs, maximize profits, and at the same time attract name stars and directors. Cannon persuaded a number of stars to forfeit their million dollar-plus salaries in exchange for smaller salaries and profit sharing. To safeguard further against loss, Cannon sold its films' cable, home video, and overseas exhibition rights in advance of production, thereby guaranteeing a marketplace for even the poorest films. Impatient with Hollywood excess, Golan, the company's chairman and chief artistic decision maker, rigorously kept films from going over schedule or budget. Golan also refused to read scripts, much to the consternation of agents and lawyers. Instead, he made fast decisions on what he felt to be promising story ideas. This brashness, combined with the production of exploitation films such as Bolero , Schizoid , Death Wish IV , and Invasion, U.S.A. , earned Golan and Globus a sort of "bad boys" reputation in Hollywood.
Indeed, Golan and Globus surprised the film community in 1982 with their production of Jason Miller's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama That Championship Season . The film was a commercial failure but it did suggest that Cannon was interested in serious filmmaking. Commercial success also eluded its esoteric productions of Robert Altman's Fool for Love and John Cassavetes's Love Streams , which cost little to make. Interestingly enough, neither of these films would have been made by a major studio today, the audience for them being too limited. Responding to the artistic restrictions of a profit-motivated studio system, directors such as Roman Polanski, Bill Forsyth, Hector Babenco, John Huston, and Jean-Luc Godard turned to Cannon for help. And in their determination to upgrade their image, Golan and Globus afforded a generous amount of artistic freedom to those who could work within their budgetary constraints. Nevertheless, most of Cannon's "prestige" projects—Anthony Harvey's The Ultimate Solution of Grace Quigley , Andrei Konchalovsky's Runaway Train —are as ill-judged, clodhopping, and embarrassing as their coattailriding Charles Bronson vehicles ( Assassination ) or Israeli sex comedies (the Lemon Popsicle series).
As Cannon's artistic ambitions expanded, so did its assets and financial burdens. In 1985 Cannon produced 23 films, more than any other film company in the United States. Its acquisition of Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment, a production and distribution company, and the Commonwealth Theaters, the sixth-largest theater chain in the country, proved Cannon a force to be reckoned with. This risky move, however, also resulted in high production costs and crippling debts. Though Golan and Globus managed to get in on the beginnings of certain exploitation fads (teenage sex, breakdance musicals, vigilante action, Chuck Norris), they showed a lack of Corman-style savvy by staying with them long after the market had passed on, and floundered badly by producing a slate of live-action fairy-tale adaptations that crucially missed the Disney market.
Among the films Golan himself chose to direct was the obvious commercial loser Over the Top , a Sylvester Stallone vehicle about arm-wrestling, for which Cannon unwisely laid out a star-level salary. Golan always had a knack of pulling middlebrow properties from the Cannon list for his own directorial exercises and making stodgy embarrassments such as The Magician of Lublin , Over the Brooklyn Bridge , Hanna's War , and The Threepenny Opera . In Cannon's heyday, the trade press were thick with portfolios of ads for upcoming projects, many of which ( Citizen Joe , Spider-Man ) never came to pass.
After acquiring the ABC chain, Cannon had to be helped out by European financiers, and Golan and Globus took an unaccustomed back seat. In 1989, Golan declared a desire to produce "artier" works, dissolved the Golan-Globus partnership, and established an independent production company, 21st Century which eventually specialized in direct-to-video offerings ( Night Terrors , The Mummy Lives ) from the likes of longtime hacks Tobe Hooper and Harry Alan Towers. Globus, meanwhile, although still involved with MGM-Pathé (previously Cannon), has his own production company, Melrose Entertainment, which makes action-adventure movies in the best Cannon tradition. After the collapse of his film career, Golan resuscitated himself by putting on a blockbusting stage production of The Sound of Music in Tel Aviv, controversial mostly because the Nazis in the play were speaking Hebrew.
—Heidi Gensch, updated by Kim Newman