Saturday, August 9, 2014

Menahem Golan, 1929-2014

The death was announced yesterday of Israeli director-producer Menahem Golan, who died at the age of 85.

As a director, Golan may not be so memorable, although Operation Thunderbolt, about the Israeli raid on the Entebbe airport in Uganda to rescue a hijacked El Al airplane, did get a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. The movie was produced by Golan-Globus, which was named for himself and his cousin, Yoran Globus, and that's where Golan would eventually make his name.

In the late 1970s, the two cousins took over the Cannon Group, and proceeded to produce a bunch of schlocky low-budget stuff such as some of the Death Wish sequels; Breakin' and its sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo; Bo Derek's Bolero; or Sylvester Stallone's arm-wrestling movie Over the Top. They also tried to make what in a previous era would have been called "prestige" movies, such as getting Jean-Luc Godard to direct a version of King Lear. Sadly, though, they overspent (sounds like a lot of Hollywood studios) which led to Cannon's eventual bankruptcy and Golan's return to working in Israel.

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