Jack Nicholson openly wept for his mentor Roger Corman during filming of this documentary. See more »
[Discussing film 'Hot Box' 1972]
Roger will just say exploitation pictures don't need plots. They need sensational things like girls shooting Filipinos out of trees. That works.
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The closing credits are shown over stills from Corman's movies with each set of credits being in a different font. See more »
Cannes favourite 'Corman's World' is a heart-warming portrait of one of the true greats of American independent cinema, the champion of outlaws, freaks and fools and the master of the macabre. All the more touching as numerous interviews and testimonies paint a picture of a curious man indeed: not a dark twisted soul but a warm and genteel man with a wonderfully warped and fertile imagination.
What's more astonishing is the dazzlingly array of aspiring filmmakers and actors he mentored during the 60's and 70's. Reading like a Who's Who's of the golden age of the American auteur, Peter Bogdanovich, Peter Fonda, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Robert De Niro and David Carradine, amongst many others, all pay tribute here, including a tearful Jack Nicholson.
Beginning in the 50's as a story analyst at 20th Century Fox, Corman moved into writing, eventually selling scripts to fund his own productions for the burgeoning American Independent Pictures. His debut 'Monster From the Ocean Floor' in 1954 was the start of a prolific production output, with increasing forays into directing, notably 'Little Shop of Horrors' shot in only 2 days!
Corman really made his mark in the 60's. A series of classic Edgar Allan Poe adaptations featuring the splendidly cast Vincent Price define his legacy but the maverick Corman was often making use of down time and vacant sets to pursue other projects during this period. Most notable was the 1963 piece of Gothic absurd-ism, 'The Terror', using sets from 'The Raven'. Proceeding with barely plot, nor script, a shoe string cast including Nicholson and an ageing Boris Karloff, the disparate visions of four different directors contributed to this chaotic opus, including a young Francis Ford Coppola and even Nicholson, who recalls this curious episode.
The 60's also saw critical acclaim for Corman, tackling themes such as racism in the segregated south in 'The Intruder' and counter culture movements in the 'The Wild Angels' and 'The Trip' but the 70's heralded changes for Corman and he looks back on this era with a hint of melancholy. With the release of 'Jaws' and then 'Star Wars' the big studios finally caught up with the B's. Schlock horror from the deep and invaders from space were now big budget and Corman was once more an outsider and destined for the straight-to-video market in the coming decade but before taking a back seat, Corman's masterstroke was to spot the black comedy of the rubber shark and raise the stakes with 'Piranha' in 1978.
The denouement sees Corman still active today, well into his eighties, on the set of the self-explanatory gore-fest 'Dinoshark'. His output has barely abated since the 70's but he takes an increasingly hands-off executive role these days. He remains ever philosophical, contented and visibly touched by the receipt of an honorary Academy Award in 2009. His calm and collected bizarre genius is deeply uplifting and I'd recommend anyone take a trip into Corman's World.
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