Monday, February 27, 2012

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011)

His name is legendary in the movie business. He has produced over four hundred films without ever losing a dime. He is responsible for discovering such talented actors and filmmakers as Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and many others. And now, his story is finally being told in CORMAN'S WORLD: EXPLOITS OF A HOLLYWOOD REBEL from director Alex Stapleton. We are talking about the great Roger Corman, commonly discredited as being the 'King of the B's' for his contributions to the low-budget, 'Do It Yourself' brand of monster movie that he helped to create throughout the 50s and 60s. As CORMAN'S WORLD stands to prove, Roger Corman was much more than just a cheap schlock peddler, but a trendsetter, a shrewd businessman, and a studio outlaw. From his earliest beginnings with films like MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR and THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS up through his most recent features like DINOSHARK, Stapleton looks to cover as much of Corman's expansive career as possible in the time allotted. While best known for his exploitation films, Stapleton also explores Corman's critical successes like THE INTRUDER, a progressive and provocative film about Southern racism that sadly proved to be his greatest commercial disaster. Corman explains first-hand how the failure of his finest film would shape his methods in the decades to follow, teaching him the importance of subtext in art.

The title, EXPLOITS OF A HOLLYWOOD REBEL, perfectly encapsulates Corman's guerrilla style of filmmaking. No permits, no supplies, no time, and no money -- these things were of no concern in the Corman School of learning. Great directors like Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, and Joe Dante were taught to think on their feet -- quite literally, in some cases. Stories of recycled set pieces, run-ins with the cops, and biker brawls come out as Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, and others recall their crazy experiences both on and off set. In the 50s, Corman fought the studios by delivering pure entertainment for audiences to enjoy, films that fought the establishment with their rebellious teen characters. By the late 60s and 70s, Corman broke new ground with THE WILD ANGELS and THE TRIP, embracing the counter-culture movement in an enlightening new way. CORMAN'S WORLD finally recognizes these bold and often dangerous undertakings, which paved the way for future classics like EASY RIDER.

Featuring archived interviews, classic clips, and tons of new footage taken with a wide range of entertaining personalities, CORMAN'S WORLD is an insightful and engaging documentary that film fans are sure to enjoy. The only place where Stapleton falls short is in humanizing his subject, and showing the man behind the movies. We only see brief glimpses into the real Roger Corman through interludes with the director and his wife. The film is otherwise a finely-edited and extensively-researched tribute to one of the greatest producers of all-time.

Rating: 8/10.

Movies like CORMAN'S WORLD:
AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE, NIGHTMARES IN RED WHITE AND BLUE, HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS THE GODFATHER OF GORE, AMERICAN NIGHTMARE.



3 comments:

  1. The documentary Machete Maidens Unleashed has an interesting quote about Corman, saying he has made almost 400 movies and never lost a nickel. Maybe true, but in some cases it seems like he never spent a nickel.

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  2. In many cases I'm sure that's true lol.. We've all seen the horror that is THE CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA!

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  3. Sadly, I have. It was filed at the same time as The Last Woman on Earth (which wasn't that bad) and used much of the same cast. The thing I think is funny is that the writer wasn't finished with the script, so flew him down and made him act.

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