Harry Alan Towers (Oct 19 1920 – Jul 31 2009) RIP

Booth

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It's with great sadness I'm writing this. I recently found that Harry Alan Towers passed away, he was 88 years old. I was notified by his wife Maria who has only just been able to bring herself to notify everyone.

I met Harry in 2005 in Cannes (my first time there), he approached me to direct a couple of his films, one of which was close to his heart - Las Vegas Beware.

I'll never forget our first meeting. I had a tap on the shoulder from actress Cassandra Gava who explained that Mr Towers would like to speak to me. I switched tables and Harry said to me. "I hear from the man at the British Council that you have directed a feature film." I told him yes I had. "I've produced over 100." He handed me his CV (which was pages long, with names like Michael Caine and Orson Welles credited on it), and then asked if I'd be interested in working for him.

After years of struggling to get several films off the ground, then climbing the mountain that was making Bad Lad, and then travelling to Cannes (which is a tough place the first time) the fact that Harry, a legendary British film producer, showed some faith and interest in me was tremendous. It's one of the reasons why I continued despite not getting any support from the film industry here in the UK. Now I'm in post-production on my second film and it's little acts of faith like Harry showed that kept me going.

He had me down to direct two of his films. Las Vegas Beware and Dr Blood. He chased after Danny Devito for LVB for months. Burt Reynolds agent phoned up to lodge interest while I sat in Harry's office. And Dr Blood, a remake of the Boris Karloff film Corridors of Blood, had Robert Englund attached.

Unfortunately then came the London bombings and our follow-up meetings couldn't happen. We did however speak over the phone. He explained that it was difficult to get the finance for the films but he would still continue to chase after a star name. He was pretty sure that they would get made sooner or later, and who was I to argue he'd made over 100 of them. These things take time. Financiers want stars to go on the poster he told me.

One thing that I was extremely flattered by is that Harry wanted me to direct the film which was based on his time at the RAF training centre in Blackpool, England. I live quite nearby to Blackpool and I know he wanted someone who knew the area and who had grown up 'holidaying in Blackpool'. He explained that this film was based on his time there as a young man so it was close to his heart. It was nice that he thought I could do his project justice, it meant a lot.

He was a great man and an inspiration. I'm sad to hear he's no longer with us.

For more info on Harry's work:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0869935/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Alan_Towers
 

Cop

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That's sad news. I wonder if he was in Cannes when we were trying to find him this year?

He was certainly a serial producer, looking at his list of jobs I'm surprised he lived to the age he did, I'm stressed enough with just the one feature film.
 

Booth

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At 84 he was globetrotting, trying his best to get a cast strong enough to release the finances that he was promised. He obviously loved his work despite his age.

He wanted Faye Dunaway and Christopher Lee in the film as well. They were both old friends of his (there's a great anecdote on the Eugenie DVD about how he tricked Christopher Lee into being in an orgy scene). He felt that quality actors of a certain age didn't get a fair crack of the whip.




The last film he was working on was Ken Russell's Moll Flanders.
 
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