Can­non Fod­der

New doc digs into iconic film com­pany

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Ametal­lic, gleam­ing hexagon, you’ll prob­a­bly recog­nise the logo for Can­non Films. You’ll cer­tainly know some of their movies – ev­ery­thing from Su­per­man IV to Masters Of The Uni­verse. And yet that is just the tip of the trash- berg for a com­pany that made stars of ev­ery­one from Chuck Nor­ris to Mor­gan Free­man.

“Peo­ple said you were ei­ther in a Can­non Film on the way up or the way down,” laughs Mark Hart­ley, direc­tor of new doc­u­men­tary Elec­tric Boogaloo: The Wild, Un­told Story Of Can­non Films. It fol­lows Can­non dur­ing the pe­riod it was owned by Me­na­hem Golan and Yo­ram Globus, Is­raeli cousins with big am­bi­tions in the film in­dus­try.

While they’ve been dubbed fore­run­ners of Har­vey and Bob We­in­stein, when it came to mak­ing films like Life­force and Ninja III: The Dom­i­na­tion, Golan and Globus were never so both­ered by qual­ity con­trol. “[ Ital­ian direc­tor] Luigi Cozzi told me the sec­re­taries wrote the scripts!” grins Hart­ley.

Still, they man­aged the oc­ca­sional clas­sic – as with An­drei Kon­chalovsky’s triple- Os­car nom­i­nated Run­away Train, which, ac­cord­ing to Hart­ley, is “Can­non’s best film” – while their plans for Hol­ly­wood dom­i­na­tion were ahead of the curve. “Can­non had the Spi­der- Man rights. They had the Cap­tain Amer­ica rights,” Hart­ley notes. “But su­per­hero movies were con­sid­ered stuff of TV…”

It was only when they tried to ex­tend them­selves that it all came crash­ing down. “When I started work­ing on it,” says Hart­ley, “I thought the film would be a more in­spi­ra­tional David ver­sus Go­liath story. Ul­ti­mately, it be­came much more of a cau­tion­ary tale.”

While the com­pany clearly blazed a trail, now com­pa­nies like Mil­len­nium are mak­ing Can­non- like movies, such as The Ex­pend­ables fran­chise. “Half the cast are peo­ple from Can­non Films,” says Hart­ley. Other pro­tégés in­clude pro­duc­ers David Wo­mark ( Life Of Pi) and Pi­eter Jan Brugge ( Heat) – and Hart­ley reck­ons it’s about time Can­non got its due. “Cinema would be a lesser place with­out them.”

Elec­tric Boogaloo: The Wild, Un­told Story Of Can­non Films opens 5 June.

Not quite the clas­sic He- Man film we were wait­ing for.

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