Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel
by Jef Burnham
Available March 27th, 2012 on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment.
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Alex Stapleton’s documentary, Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, serves as a bloody, violent, and breast-filled celebration of one of cinema’s most important and influential figures, Roger Corman. Now, I’ll go out on a limb and say here that, if you truly love film, you MUST own (or at least watch and re-watch) this informative and exciting documentary. I know, of course, that some people would claim that they don’t like Roger Corman films, and maybe you’re one of those people. But the long and short of it is, film would not be what it is today without Roger Corman. I mean, just look at a list of the people who got their start in the business working on Roger Corman pictures, people like Martin Scorsese and Jack Nicholson, or Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Peter Fonda, and oh yeah, Pam Grier.
Roger Corman stands as perhaps the penultimate figure in the history of B-cinema. In a career spanning nearly 60 years, Corman has directed more than 50 feature films (nine in 1957 alone!) and produced over 400! Sure, not all became timeless masterpieces. In fact, very few did. But Corman has garnered an incredible cult following over the years, especially with such films to his name as Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and Death Race 2000 (1975). Even still, as Jack Nicholson points out in Corman’s World, “By mistake, he actually made a good film every once in a while,” not the least of which is 1962’s racially-charged The Intruder, starring William Shatner.
Corman’s World takes audiences on a chronological journey through Corman’s career that’ll make you fall in love with Corman’s films all over again, and maybe even the man himself, who giddily appears throughout. Additionally, the film employs behind-the-scenes footage of Corman’s 2010 picture, Dinoshark, as a framing device for this oral history of Corman’s successes and failures in the film industry. The behind-the-scenes footage of Dinoshark interspersed throughout provides the film with a unique case study exemplifying just how far Corman has come since his beginnings in the 1950’s, and ultimately reveals just how much the prolific filmmaker has become set in his ways. The film features interviews with Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Eli Roth, Dick Miller, David Carradine, Joe Dante, Peter Fonda, William Shatner, Pam Grier, Mary Waronov, John Sayles, Bruce Dern, Paul W.S. Anderson, Peter Bogdanovich, and Allan Arkush among other! Bonus features include a handful of extended interviews, special messages directed to Corman from select interviewees, and the film’s trailer.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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