January 2, 2017

Directors

Harry Alan Towers (1920-2009) b. London, England.

Harry Alan Towers

Harry Alan Towers was born in London in 1920. His father was a theatrical agent and he was a child actor. While serving in the RAF during WWII, Towers became a prolific radio producer.  After the war he formed a company, Towers of London, that created and syndicated radio shows around the world. One of the most successful featured Orson Welles reprising his character from The Third Man in The Lives of Harry Lime. Another winning radio show was The Black Museum, based on real-life stories from Scotland Yard’s files, and another vehicle for Welles’s deep-toned voice. As television rose to prominence, Towers took his talents to the small screen. He produced dramas for the newly launched ITV from 1955 such as episodes of Armchair Theatre, Teddy Gang and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Towers subsequently turned to the big screen and made The Anatomist (1961), a throwback to the talkies starring Alastair Sim and George Cole. It was the first of more than 100 movies that he wrote and produced, sometimes credited as Peter Welbeck. His films were renowned for plenty of action, glamorous actresses, grisly deaths and exotic locations. While Towers generally worked on low-budget fare, he favoured literary adaptations by such out of copyright writers as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Alan Poe, Agatha Christie, C.S. Forester and Edgar Wallace. Other notables British films were Ten Little Indians, (1965), The Face of Fu Manchu (1965), Circus of Fear (1966) and Rocket to the Moon (1967). This gave him a not unjustified reputation as a prolific maker of B-movies. But he also made some critically acclaimed films such as the classic adaptation Cry, the Beloved Country (1995), the searing tale set in pre-apartheid South Africa, and Klondike Fever (1980) traced Jack London’s journey from San Francisco to the Canadian Klondike goldfields of 1898. His association with Italian giallo auteur Jess Franco produced films which have become underground classics including Paroxismus (1969),  Eugenie (1970), Marquis de Sade: Justine (1969) and Night of the Blood Monster (1970). Capitalizing on the industry’s need for video titles during the 1980s and early 1990s, Towers provided a steady pipeline of films such as Robert Englund starrers The Phantom of the Opera (1989), Dance Macabre (1992I), Night Terrors (1993) and The Mangler (1995).



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