For years (and probably still by some) he’s been loathed by film snobs but loved and praised like a God by cinephiles Roger Corman. 400 films over six decades to his credit many may brush him off as another master shlockmeister, king of trash films, but those with an eye for films know Roger Corman is one of, if not the most prolific and most influential in the history of mainstream and independent cinema. How ironic on the day I received this film through the post I was on my way to work at a 2 day horror marathon, the film Four Glasgow Frightfest and what a fitting stage for Corman’s World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel along with a fantastic way to start off the proceedings.
Corman’s World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel is directed by Alex Stapleton who presents an affectionate, witty and hugely entertaining documentary charting the early days of Corman’s career at the 20th Century Fox Pictures through the decades right up to his most recently produced tv film Dinoshark. Combining archival footage with modern day clips along with interviews chronicling the empire he has created, cultivating undiscovered talent, pushing boundaries in what independent filmmakers could achieve. From his genre defining works right through his legendary Edgar Allan Poe Adapted film continuing into the distribution of Arthouse films Stateside, Alex Stapleton‘s documentary is that film fans of Corman have been crying out for to celebrate the Oscar winning filmmakers seminal career.
Corman’s World is certainly an eye opener. For years you may watch films not actually realising what you’ve watched was probably directed if not produced by Roger Corman, I was one of those people. I think If I knew then my selfishness would probably make me despise the film even more but now a little more film educated I can now appreciate the films as well as acknowledge his influence on the industry. If you’re a little unsure how influential he was just look at this list of A-Listers who lined up to praise Corman a lot who they have to thank for their first steps into the industry: Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Joe Dante, Quentin Tarantino, John Sayles, Jonathan Demme, Eli Roth, Peter Fonda, Peter Bogdanovich and William Shatner.
When you look at it without Roger Corman we may never have seen the likes of Star Wars, even Jaws. He was the precursor of big blockbuster films, though he did show the world how to make a similar film as little as $30 (£19gbp)! Corman was also a fine example to anyone who had a dream of achieving something that passing expectations, using disappointment, rejection as a stepping stone and film highlights the director’s time in 1960’s which we learn he had no formal training, just passion for fuelling his dream. Taking those first steps are daunting but Corman came back strong with Edgar Allen Poe films a big turning point as was his 1962 The Intruder starring William Shatner. Despite been a box Office disaster it highlighted how much a pioneer he was bringing racial integration from the deep south to the forefront during a time when segregation and Jim Crow ruled the land. Dangerous move but also a bold political statement which took a lot of courage to do.
Despite the exclusion of virtually all of his work from the 1980’s and 1990’s Corman’s World is an astutely and often funny film which is genuinely touching seen through the Jack Nicholson segments. The legendary actor really opens up his heart to the film, shedding a few tears as he knows he owes everything to Roger Corman for his career and we can say the apprentice has done exceptionally good!
No matter what you think of Roger Corman majority of films that have come and gone as well as us film bloggers have a lot to thank the director, without his input none of us would be here or at least in the form we are today. But the main thing is Corman’s World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel does look like the film Oscar winning director deserves, great stuff.
Documentary | USA, 2011 | 15 | 26th March 2012(UK) | Platform Entertainment |Dir.Alex Stapleton | Robert De Niro, Quentin Tarantino, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard |Buy Corman’s World On DVD or On Blu-ray
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