28 July 2020 | gortx
Heartfelt, if authorized version of Cannon Films' Golan & Globus
GO-GO BOYS: THE INSIDE STORY OF CANNON FILMS (2014). This authorized Documentary on Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus was, in typical Cannon Films fashion, rushed into production to be completed before a competing film was released - the decidedly UN-authorized ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS. It not only beat that film into release it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. The French debut was fitting since Cannes was the place where the legend of Golan and Globus was made back in the 80s.
Director Hilla Medalia spends the first portion of the movie showing how the two cousins established a beachhead in their native Israel in the 60s producing movies which were commercial and critical successes. Remarkably, the duo also got four of their films nominated for Best Foreign Language Film including one Directed by Golan himself (OPERATION THUNDERBOLT) - something that has gotten little notice over the years. Their first English language movie, TRUNK TO CAIRO (with George Sanders!), didn't fare so well.
Israel proved to be too small a pond for the Go-Go Boys to fish in, so they set off for Hollywood in 1980. Their first pictures didn't make much of a splash, but they soon got some notice for hiring the likes of Charles Bronson and Chuck Norris to lead their budget action pictures. But, it was one of their cheapest and most hastily produced low low budget pictures which boosted their finances, BREAKIN', which grossed almost $100M in adjusted dollars. Golan was always the creative partner, while Globus was the money guy. As is said in various ways during the Doc - Golan spent money as quickly as Globus could raise it. At Cannes they would make deals for films that were not only uncompleted, but often unwritten and even without a title. Golan famously signed Jean Luc Godard to a 'contract' on cloth napkin.
What's noteworthy here is that what we think of as "Cannon Films" really lasted only five years. By the end of the 80s their lavish spending (including buying movie theater chains and EMI studios) put them on the verge of bankruptcy. Golan was essentially forced out of his own company and founded the short-lived and only modestly successful 21st Century Corporation (Full Disclosure: I worked on two of their films*). Globus hooked up with Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti to not only save Cannon, but, also to purchase MGM studios. That partnership ended in scandal, and 21st Century didn't even last until the end of the 20th. Both Cousins (who were at that time no longer on speaking terms) ended up retreating to Israel.
GO-GO BOYS takes a much more personal approach to telling the story of Cannon films than the chatty gossipy ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. The latter Doc is more entertaining and it gets into more of the downside of the partnership. Still, GO-GO BOYS has its merits. Some of the interviewees like studio exec Tom Pollock and Director Boaz Davidson give insight into the business end and actors Michael Dudikoff and a, very colorful and enthusiastic, Jean-Claude Van Damme give us some behind the scenes details. The cooperation of the two principles (which they denied to the competing film) gives the viewer a more personal look at the men and their careers. Director Medalia does push them on their failures and gets a few morsels from Globus, but Golan was intransigent to the end (he passed away less than three months after the Premiere). He refused to talk about the colossal bomb with SUPERMAN IV and only discussed the slightly less embarrassment of OVER THE TOP in terms of bragging about Sylvester Stallone's paycheck. It's a heartfelt Documentary, if not a fully frank one.
* I worked with Menahem on two films. Both shot in Moscow in the fall and winter of 1991-2. Menahem Directed the second picture himself (HIT THE DUTCHMAN). He was still full of energy and still quite the salesman.