Friday, March 1, 2013

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel

Directed by Alex Stapleton.

2011. Rated R, 95 minutes.

Cast:
Roger Corman
Julie Corman
Peter Bogdanovich
Jonathan Demme
Bruce Dern


With good reason, Roger Corman is known as the king of the B's, as in B movies. After all, he's had his hands on close to four hundred pictures as director and/or producer. It adds up to about fifty years of movies so bad they're awesome. Most of these were made on the cheap, filmed entirely in a handful of days or less. All but one, The Intruder turned a profit. The man knows what his audience wants and gives it to them. That's the easy assessment of Corman, the schlock-meister making money off a never ending succession of cinematic turds. However, as this documentary shows, that is an off-handed dismissal of a career that is immensely important to cinematic history.

True, Corman is a shrewd businessman who, to this day, is still churning out cheapos. Also true, his infamous guerilla-style filmmaking served as proving grounds for a number of Hollywood legends. Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorcese, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, James Cameron and Ron Howard all cut their teeth on his sets. Others he didn't technically "discover", but worked for him very early in their careers include Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Robert De Niro. There are many others, but you get the idea. In addition, he was instrumental in bringing the work of foreign masters such as Truffaut, Kurosawa and Fellini to the United States. Thereore, his legacy is much more about perseverance and the spirit of the auteur than it is about the types of movies he made. Corman's World is about a man who has taken a most unusual path to greatness.

MY SCORE: 8/10

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