With his directorial debut Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!, Mark Hartley presented a hugely entertaining and occasionally hilarious breakneck tour through the films which emerged in the Australian New Wave. Using the same storytelling technique, the director has turned his fun and insightful gaze towards the exploits of Israeli cousins turned wannabe Hollywood players with Cannon Films, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. Their ‘high productivity, low quality’ ethos is captured wonderfully in Hartley’s film, which is an absolute must-see for trash cinema aficionados, although anyone with even a passing interest in film will enjoy what’s on offer here.

The director has assembled some great storytellers to help build an impression of the duo, but it’s the gregarious and showboating Golan who gets the lion’s share of the spotlight. While there’s a roster of familiar faces reminiscing about their experiences working for Cannon, the director’s greatest accomplishment is the many behind-the-scenes employees he’s tracked down tell their tales (almost all of whom have their own a hilarious impression of Golan) and we’re treated to a treasure trove of priceless anecdotes. The filmmaking partners insisted on ensuring the already meagre budgets allocated for each film were entirely up there on the screen, and their penny-pitching exploits were legendary. There’s a moment in the documentary when it’s revealed that Golan literally snatched food out of the hand of one of this executives when an actor required feeding in pre-production.

Hartley is also able to uncover the duo’s contradictory nature. Undoubtedly a couple of shameless opportunists, as well as being hugely delusional (they were forever labouring under the misapprehension that they were churning out Oscar-calibre work), they were still able to spot and capitalise on trends, particularly with the breakdance-inspired Breakin’ (a gigantic hit at the time), and amongst the dross was even some serious auteur-led work from the likes of John Cassevettes and Barbet Schroeder. A line from Tobe Hooper in the film (“they loved film more than any exec or mogul”) is perhaps the most revealing, and it’s the schlock with which they made their name which is clearly closest to Hartley’s heart. With a running time of over 100 minutes the momentum never lets up as Cannon’s back catalogue is scrutinised, whether it’s Michael Winner’s grossly inappropriate behaviour of the sets of the Death Wish sequels, or Golan’s uproarious attempt to hold a serious business meeting with Clyde, the orangutan from Every Which Way But Loose. One of the film’s contributors Frank Yablans, retired head of MGM/UA (a studio which shared a brief partnership with Cannon) is still visibly embittered by his working experience with the men.

Both subjects appear only in snippets of old footage, having opted out of lending their support for the film (Golan sadly passed away in August of this year). It’s a shame they decided against appearing as Electric Boogaloo is far from a hatchet job, and for all the duo’s indiscretions, Hartley still manages to paint a suitably reverential portrait. Cannon Films cast a mesmerising spell over those who came of age in the video shop era and this wonderful documentary means the work and legacy of Golan and Globus has been chronicled for future cineastes to discover.