Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

April 2, 2012

Movie Review: Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011)

When Roger Corman won an honorary Academy Award in 2010, as a lifelong fan of Corman's massive body of work, I was overjoyed. I also thought "about freakin' time he got some recognition". Corman has been a huge part in spearheading the careers of Hollywood's elite: Francis Ford Coppola, Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorsese, Robert Towne Jonathan Demme, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdonavich, Bruce Dern, Peter Fonda and of course Jack Nicholson. Not too shabby for a guy who’s been labeled a schlock-meister. Director Alex Stapelton has taken on the fascinating life of Roger Corman with his documentary Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel and the results are really quite impressive.

Buy Corman's World on Blu-ray or DVD or Watch It Instantly

Stanford educated Corman - who majored in engineering - didn't start his entertainment career as the legendary production mogul he's known for. Corman actually started off as a script reader who endured a lot of terrible screenwriting; never green-lighting one. It wasn't until the late e 1950's when Corman started to perfect the art of stretching a dollar as producer with titles like The Monster From Ocean Floor, Attack of the Giant Leeches and highly enjoyable Bucket Of Blood.

Corman's producing prowess grew immensely as the 1960's approached and he decided to tackle the works of legendary horror author Edgar Allen Poe (The Masque of the Red Death, Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven, Tomb of Ligeia). While never really hitting dramatic box office numbers, Corman's films made money and had their audience.

The documentary has a nice segment that goes into detail of one of Corman's true trials as a filmmaker, the distribution of the segregation drama The Intruder, starring William Shatner. The Intruder wasn't horror; it wasn't sci-fi, but a real labor of love for Corman and a story he felt had to be told. Naturally, audiences were far from receptive to an anti-racism film in 1962. Unfortunately as great as The Intruder is, with powerful story and strong performances, it tanked, making it the first Roger Corman film to actually lose money. Roger’s brother, Gene Corman, as with most of his career, stood behind his brother when people like Samuel Arkoff and James Nicholson A.I.P preferred to stay as far away from The Intruder as possible. The support from family was no doubt present. I thought it was very cool to see how involved Gene was, as well as Corman’s wife, Julie. Julie not only appears to be a very savvy business woman but a strong partner.

The alumni of the prestigious "Corman University" (as mentioned above) are covered plenty throughout the running time. There really isn't a dud interview. I was especially surprised at the amount of camera time Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Jonathan Demme and Jack Nicholson. Nicholson is funny and cocky as ever but he also contributes to the most heartfelt moment in the entire film. I won't spoil it, but all I can say there really is a true love for Corman and his contributions as an artist, and most importantly, a man.

Anchor Bay has gathered up some amusing extras in the form of deleted scenes and some special messages for Roger from the interview subjects. The deleted scenes consist of some extended interviews and other odds and ends that could easily made it to the final cut. Stapelton's 90 minute run-time is just fine as it is and pokes into the most important aspects of “Corman’s World”.

We’re a few months into 2012 and I have to say that this is the best release that I’ve had the pleasure of viewing. Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel is top-notch and essential for all genre fans. Highly Recommended!

(Photos courtesy of Rock! Shock! Pop!)

No comments:

Post a Comment