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Hail! Hail! King of the B's
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.
A documentary on DIY producer/director Roger Corman and his alternative
approach to making movies in Hollywood.
As a fan of horror, science fiction and cult films, the name Roger Corman is legendary in my home. I have watched and reviewed countless of his works, and interviewed more than a handful of his colleagues. To say he is the biggest influence in the history of modern cinema is an exaggeration, but not by much.
What I found most interesting about this documentary was that it covered so much that I did not know. I was aware of Corman's connection to Scorsese, Nicholson and Demme. I knew about James Cameron (who is practically ignored here for some reason). But I did not know about Shatner and "Intruder"... and indirectly the "Twilight Zone"?
This is a must-see for all fans of horror, science fiction, and film history in general.
If you are my age or perhaps a bit older, than there's an excellent
chance you've seen several of Roger Corman's films. If you are a young
whippersnapper, then perhaps you haven't. Regardless, he is an
important man who all people who consider themselves to be cinemaphiles
should know, as his track record of successful movies is unique. While
he rarely had a decent budget, again and again, he managed to squeeze
as much into the film as he could--and usually made them very
entertaining. Some of the films are patently silly--such as his 1950s
horror films--yet they are usually entertaining. Some of them are
socially significant--and yet they are usually entertaining. The bottom
line is that the films he produced or directed are NEVER dull. Bad,
often...but dull, never!
This film is a tribute to the man and his films. You'll see a lot of his actors and directors from years past (mostly not all that famous, but Jack Nicholson and Ron Howard are interviewed as well) as well as his wife--who helped produce many of his films. In addition, there are LOTS of clips. Overall, a very well made tribute film--one that infuses the viewer with enthusiasm for his work. Lovingly made, the part that surprised me the best was seeing Nicholson tear up when talking about the man! Well worth seeing and a must for any film student, as they could learn from his tight-fisted example!
By the way, of all the clips they showed, the best of these films must be "The Intruder" (with William Shatner). Surprisingly, this is one of the only one of almost 400 films Corman made that LOST money!!
Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011)
**** (out of 4)
Exceptionally well-made and entertaining documentary taking a look at the career of Roger Corman, the man who turned out some of the cheapest but most successful films out there but perhaps more importantly are the number of talented people he gave jobs to. You can see how much Corman done for others just by seeing the number of people who turned out to be interviewed for this film. Just a few of the names include Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Joe Dante, David Carradine, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Robert DeNiro, Paul W.S. Anderson, Gene Corman, Jonathan Hale, Dick Miller, John Sayles, Bob Burns, Jonathan Demme, William Shatner, Polly Platt, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Pam Grier and others. Considering how many films Corman has been involved with over the decades it's really amazing how much they got into this 90-minute movie. The documentary is broken into various periods including Corman's directing years, the "young" talent taking over, the exploitation of the 70s, JAWS and STAR WARS killing business and then the home video market. Fans of Corman and all the filmmakers he discovered are really going to enjoy all of the stories here. When I heard they were making a documentary on Corman I was a little worried that they wouldn't be able to capture everything but the filmmakers actually do that. I was really shocked at how much information they crammed into the picture and it was great hearing from so many people that you don't normally get to hear from. With this I'm really thinking of Nicholson who simply doesn't do many interviews. He talks about his first film THE CRY BABY KILLER, makes fun of THE TERROR and eventually breaks down when talking about what Corman means to him. Even Bogdanovich finally talks about his early work including Corman buying a Russian movie and then hiring him as "director" to add a few scenes with women. There are countless clips shown throughout the movie and by the time it's over you really want to go out and rent all of them to enjoy all over again. CORMAN'S WORLD: EXPLOITS OF A Hollywood REBEL is an excellent look at low-budget filmmaking and the man who pretty much invented his own genre.
True Roger Corman was well before my generation and time of film
viewing yet over the years I've read enough about him and watched some
of the early Jack Nicholson(my favorite actor) classics to know that
Corman is a Hollywood cinema legend. His films were cheap, different
and off beat clearly Roger Corman did it his way. From three headed
monsters, and cult challenging films of teen rebellion clearly one
could say that Roger started a cultural movement. And this documentary
"Corman's World:Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel" is a historical and
educational look at the life and work of still one living Hollywood
This informative picture shows how that cheap filmmaking and hard quick work would lead Roger to make over 100 films by the year 1967 his films always low budget and cult hits would later help him start his own company New World Pictures. His independent streak was so strong he eventually branched out to drive in raw exploitation female films of the mid 1970's. Most memorable is his start when he meet Jack Nicholson in an acting class and Jack would later become a star after appearing in many of Roger's works. It's nice seeing the interviews on this documentary ranging from legends like Peter Bogdanovich, Joe Dante, Jonathan Demme, Bruce Dern, Peter Fonda, Ron Howard, Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino, and most of all it's nice to hear the words from Jack in fact Nicholson even gets emotional when speaking about his good friend Roger. It's hard seeing Jack choked up and emotional. Still Corman still works today even though in his 80's he's not slowing down, yet as the film mentioned the births of films like "Star Wars" and "Jaws" made it even more tougher for independent film to have success, but still the underground circuit produces.
Overall well worth a view as this long over due culture legend icon is now getting the respect he deserves this documentary is informative and educational a tribute to one man named Roger Corman who clearly did it his way.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
-- www.Ramascreen.com --
It's a Corman's World, we all just live in it! This is a docu feature that's just as rebellious as the the man himself. It gives us insight into the determination, the stubbornness, the pride, and the struggle of a filmmaker who takes chances and gambles, and is still kikin', who directly and indirectly influences independent filmmakers everywhere to be OK with and be passionate about making low budget movies as a way to stick it to the man!..
Movies that has such weird titles like Little Shop Of Horrors, Monster From The Ocean Floor, or Dinoshark nowadays probably get laughed at by general audiences but did you know that those movies actually have strong fanbase?! There are some of us who can find something entertaining or artful about B-exploit horror and action flicks. And the man we need to thank for that is none other than Roger Corman. Director Alex Stapleton's documentary covers Corman's career and personal life extensively. The film works as a way to reintroduce Corman to today's generation who probably had no idea that The Fast And The Furious starring Vin Diesel was actually an updated version of Corman's old movie of the same title. The docu shows his early involvements with film industry, and it's clear from early on that even as one of the young story editors, Corman was not appreciated or credited for his contributions. So that part was more or less like a premonition of what his entire career, in the next 50 years plus, was going to be.
Looking back now, the A-list celebs who at one point or another, starred in Corman's movies may be a bit embarrassed to admit that they started out that way but they themselves know that they wouldn't be where they are if it weren't for the chances that Corman took with them. The docu interviews such greats as Scorsese, De Niro, Nicholson, and Pam Grier. It's impressive how dedicated director Stapleton was to capture every Corman story possible from those who've crossed paths with or encountered him It's a 90-minute documentary but it goes by quickly because it's so engaging and you want to know more about this man named Roger Corman. Packed with archival footage of Corman's old movies, you'll laugh at how cheesy those movies were but in the back of your head, you know that you could watch these kinds of movies on a Saturday night with a huge bag of popcorn because that's the kind of occasion that those movies are made for.
I now understand that 2 things kept Corman from advancing to the next level of filmmaking: Pride and bad luck. You'll see from this docu that there were opportunities that Corman could've taken but he chose not to because he was too proud and there were opportunities that almost fell on his lap but for some unknown cosmic reason, the projects went to other filmmakers and they became classic hits. I think as much as he'd like to be part of the A-list and be appreciated, he feels that low budget filmmaking is where he belongs, as painful as it is to be labeled King Of B. One interesting segment in the docu is about the arrival of Jaws and Star Wars, basically big Hollywood Studios perfecting and banking on the concepts and films that Corman had made for years before on a budget lower than $50,000. You feel sorry for the guy. I've been a Star Wars fan for as long as I could remember, but this docu feature gives me a different perspective, a different way of looking at the franchise. This docu ends with the 2009 Honorary Academy Award for Roger Corman which makes it like a cherry on top, The film is an honest portrait of persistence, you can't get a better example of a filmmaker who withstood mockery and became admired eventually.
-- www.Ramascreen.com --
If nothing else, Roger Corman has been a blue collar filmmaker- a man who got things done. Sure, the Hits and the Misses were often indistinguishable from one another (at least, BEFORE the receipts were counted), but Corman keeps plugging away. CORMAN'S WORLD gives us a rare (nay, long overdue) look at The Man Himself and there ARE some interesting insights along the way. One of my first attempts to sell a script to someone in Hollywood was a monstrosity titled BEAST WORLD, which had a giant alien bat living in a cave on another world humans were trying to colonize. It was, to its CORE, a Corman-type of scenario; i.e.;one part Mario Bava's PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES, one part IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE and one part Christian Nyby's THE THING (with, by default, a touch of ALIEN in the mix). The script never sold, but, man, what a Corman movie it could've been!
Roger Corman often told a story about how he was robbed by a cabdriver after getting out of the Navy and lost all his clothes. Then he became a film maker after getting a degree in engineering at Stanford. The story wasn't in the film. Another major omission was the film remake, Not of This Earth, that was Traci Lords' first non-pornographic film. I liked many of Corman's films from the fifties that were skimmed over in ten or fifteen minutes. First, losing a contract for Easy Rider became the root of Corman's sixties failures, then the success of Jaws and Star Wars became the blame for Corman's seventies failures. It's always easy to blame a competitor for your own shortcomings. After 400 films, maybe he just ran out of new material. I just grow tired of the dumbing down of documentaries into after 5 minutes--bang--five minutes--fight--five minutes--explosion--five minutes--crash--five minutes--nude clip! I would like to learn something interesting beneath the shallowness of all that.
definitely enjoyed the DVD however if you are looking at it to try and come up with some good ideas for which old school grindhouse movies to watch then it might not offer a whole lot of suggestions. What it does do however is offer a very informative view on how roger corman came to be. Its more of a biography concerning his film career opposed to concentrating on his filmography. I'd say i developed more of a respect for roger corman after seeing how he struggled and pulled all his resources together to slowly build up his huge body of work, especially after my respect for him seemed to be recently faltering do his garbage additions to the sci fi channel (im looking at you sharktopus). With that said i did come away with a few new movies to add to my watch list ie, wild angels, big bird cage(i know i know i should have seen this by now), bloody mama, and the trip. All in all it was very informative and entertaining and held my attention throughout. Nothing much in the way of special features though, i guess the whole movie is basically one big special feature.
I'm so glad a documentary like this exists. It perfectly represents the brilliance of Corman's passion, in that he never gives up and makes movies for the sheer joy of it. By tackling films with low budgets, he always comes out on top. Best of all, his films were the starting blocks for many huge talents such as Jack Nicholson. When Nicholson talks, you feel nothing but love and respect, when he breaks down into tears it's truly an open and beautiful moment of a man who usually keeps his cool. In other areas we get anecdotes of just how cheaply Corman makes his movies and how he has inspired many directors since. Most interesting of all is when it talks about Corman's more serious projects such as The Intruder. It is certainly a celebration of Corman and his finest achievements, though I wish it had gone into more detail as to why he hasn't directed in over 20 years, and covered more of his recent outputs as producer. You have to see this if you love film, and you'll certainly have plenty to stick on your watchlist.
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