B-movie guru Towers dies at 88
B-movie producer made more than 100 films
By PAT SAPERSTEIN, Variety
Prolific B-movie producer and writer Harry Alan Towers, who made more than 100 films working with cult stalwarts such as Christopher Lee and director Jess Franco, died of heart failure in Toronto on Aug. 2. He was 89.
While Towers generally worked on low-budget fare, he favored literary adaptations by such writers as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Alan Poe, Agatha Christie and Edgar Wallace.
During the 1960s and 1970s, he wrote and produced dozens of films, sometimes credited as Peter Welbeck. Among the actors he worked with were Orson Welles, Michael York, Michael Caine, Richard Harris, James Earl Jones and Tony Curtis.
Towers often shot in locations such as South Africa, Ireland and Bulgaria on films such as “The Face of Fu Manchu,” Iran-filmed “Ten Little Indians,” South African classic adaptation “Cry the Beloved Country” and “Klondike Fever.”
His association with auteur Franco produced films which have become underground classics including “Venus in Furs,” “Eugenie,” “Marquis de Sade: Justine” and “Night of the Blood Monster.”
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 “Phantom of the Opera” and “Danse Macabre,” “Warrior Queen” and “Delta Force 3.”
Towers started as a child actor in Britain and during WWII, he became a radio writer while serving in the Royal Air Force. He and his mother started a company called Towers of London after the war to sell syndicated radio shows around the world, and he went on to produce numerous programs for British television including “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and “Tales from Dickens.”
His literary agent, Albert T. Longden, said he was working on an autobiography. Recently he had been working on an adaptation of “Moll Flanders,” which was at one time set to be directed by Ken Russell.
He is survived by his wife, actress Maria Rohm.