93 years ago, on this date, Menahem Golan was born in Israel. After serving in the Israeli Air Force, Golan would attend the Old Vic Theater School in London before returning to Israel and launching his legendary career in film. With his cousin, Yoram Globus, and using Roger Corman as both a mentor and a inspiration, Golan would go on to producer and direct some of the most successful films in Israeli history. Eventually, Golan and Globus would purchase Cannon Films and would be responsible for some of the greatest (in a fashion) films of the 80s.
Though Golan was best-known as a producer, he never stopped directing. Today, on what would have been his birthday, Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse Trailers presents 6 trailers for 6 Golan films!
- Lepke (1975)
After finding great success in Israel, Golan first attempted to break into the American market with this biopic about the head of the Mafia’s Murder, Inc., Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. Though the budget was low, Golan managed to get a name — in this case, Tony Curtis — to play the lead role. As you can tell, the trailer wanted to make sure that you knew that this film was about Lepke.
2. Enter the Ninja (1981)
This was, I think, the first film that Golan directed after buying Cannon Films. How great is Enter the Ninja? It stars Franco Nero as a ninja! Seriously, you don’t get much greater than that. Anyway, as I think I’ve stared on this site before, Enter the Ninja is a lot of fun and Franco Nero was the sexiest ninja of the 80s.
3. The Delta Force (1986)
Chuck Norris was a Cannon mainstay and it seems appropriate that he starred in The Delta Force, a film that was very important to Golan. The Delta Force was essentially a remake of an 1977’s Operation Thunderbolt, an Israeli film that earned Golan his only Oscar nominations when it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. The Delta Force did not receive any Oscar nominations but it has a legion of fans. Our own Jedediah Leland has frequently described this film as being the greatest ever made. I don’t know if I’d go that far but still, it is always satisfying to see Chuck blow up the bad guys at the end of the movie.
4. Mack the Knife (1989)
Menahem Golan directs a musical! Unfortunately, this film has never received a proper DVD or Blu-ray release. Though it was a Cannon production, Golan and Globus had a falling out (one that was, at least partially, caused by Golan spending money on films like Mack The Knife) and Golan ended up distributing this film himself. I find the trailer to be intriguing. The film itself is on YouTube so I’ll watch it someday …. maybe.
5. Hit The Dutchman (1992)
Much like Lepke, this film is about a real-life gangster. In this case, the gangster was Dutch Schultz. Interestingly enough, the trailer suggest that Al Capone was active in New York whereas everyone knows that, though Capone did get his start in New York, he didn’t become a prominent gangster until he relocated to Chicago.
6. Crime and Punishment (2002)
Finally, this adaptation of the great novel was a bit of passion project for Golan. He filmed it in Russia in 1993 but, because of financial difficulties, it was not given a release until 2002.