Friday, December 9, 2011

12-08-11: Corman the Conquerer

CORMAN'S WORLD: EXPLOITS OF A HOLLYWOOD REBEL (2011) **** 90 mins. D: Alex Stapleton.

You may not know the name but odds are you may have heard of or had seen something he's produced, written or directed. You also may have heard of the many stars in front of and behind the camera that he had direct influence upon. Such luminaries as Cameron, Scorsese, Bogdanovich, Nicholson, Grier, Dante, Howard have this man to thank for giving their illustrious careers a start. From the mid-50s to the present he has brought us hundreds of films that earned him the moniker "King of the B's". He is Roger Corman and his life and career is the subject of this well made documentary that features many celebrities discussing Corman and his influence on film and themselves.

No stone is left unturned as Stapleton follows Corman from his humble beginnings in Hollywood to his rise as a major player in Hollywood. The film looks at how he adjusted to the times and how he churned out many films that are associated to the decade they were released. In the process, making films that he knew would appeal to the audience's interest at the time. I think my first Corman flick was either "Piranha" or "Humanoids from the Deep." He then had me hooked with "Battle Beyond the Stars." All films that were in response to "Jaws" and "Star Wars". Films I loved.

The interviews are engaging and leave the viewer wanting more. Well, at least I would have loved to have seen more. You can see the appreciation that Corman's colleagues have for him. It's amazing to see how many career's were started thanks to Corman and how his business model is still in use today. His thoughts on production and budgets is very enlightening and I'm sure would be met with much disdain from the studios. I'm also sure that many purists would probably feel offended if they were told that "Jaws" and "Star Wars" are essentially big budget Corman films.

This is a highly entertaining look at a man who sees himself as just a business man and not a big Hollywood icon or celebrity. He knows he's made a lot but doesn't flaunt it. He knows how to maximize his production dollars. He knows how to make the films that people want to see. Granted they aren't classics like a "Mississippi Burning" or "Alien" but they are still classics in their own right. I'm totally misquoting but Scorsese said that Corman's films are "ART" but at a another level.

If you love films definitely see this documentary. If you wanna get a idea of how to get started in film see this documentary. If you wanna see how to do low budget films see this documentary. Enjoy!

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