Download Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel Movie
That Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel is filled with amusing anecdotes about decades of low budget filmmaking isn't surprising. What is surprising is the way those anecdotes build up into something actually emotionally affecting; watching the legendarily cool Jack Nicholson literally CRYING about Roger Corman will put a lump in the throat of even the most jaded viewer.
Corman's World is a pretty standard documentary of its type; talking heads (some dead) reminisce about the good old days while film clips and the occasional of-the-era behind the scenes piece tell the chronology. Corman's World does all of this well, and the career of Roger Corman lends itself enormously to this sort of movie.
Where Corman's World shines is the quality of interviewees. Jack Nicholson, a guy who never does documentaries like this, is all over this thing. There's Ron Howard, there's Robert De Niro, there's Martin Scorsese, all singing the praises of the Corman factory. In fact the only major Corman alum missing is Francis Ford Coppola.
One of the most interesting thing about Corman is how you rarely hear a bad word about him. His methods are, exploitational from top to bottom - he definitely underpays his casts and crews - but most alums look back and laugh. It's part of the ride, it seems, and no one begrudges Corman his cheapness. It's part of his charm. And I think Corman's World gives you insight into why that is - Roger Corman himself is a sweet, soft-spoken, reasonable guy. I'm sure someone out there has a bone to pick with Corman, but after watching this doc you'll understand why there are so few.
The film makes the good choice to pretty much skip most of the 80s and 90s and 00s; there's some interesting discussion about how Jaws and Star Wars killed the Corman style - now the studios were making B movies with A budgets - and how home video ended up where his stuff lived. And behind the scenes footage from Dinocroc shows that the Corman technique - fast and cheap - remains alive. But it wisely avoids the SyFy resurgence and instead focuses on Corman's Oscar, a truly touching moment.
There is one other thing that the film doesn't address which I wish it did: the Corman factory no longer produces talent like it did. The sad fact is that there's no need for it to do so; the industry has figured out ways to bring in new talent and the entry is no longer B movies but commercials and videos. Corman was once instrumental in feeding talent to Hollywood, just as he was once instrumental in bringing foreign films to America (a real arthouse guy, Corman happily took a loss distributing Fellini and Bergman movies). In a lot of ways Corman is completely outdated.
But his movies never will be, and the man himself remains as sharp and funny and wise as ever. I admire the fact that he still plugs along, even as the world in which he thrived slowly died away. I'm happy that Corman's World doesn't end on a note of retirement for Corman - he's going to keep going until he can't go anymore.
If you have any interest in Hollywood history and love Tinsel Town lore, this comprehensive biodoc about the life and career of Roger Corman, the legendary 'King of B-movies,' will entertain and fascinate you -- even if you're not a big fan of the B-movie genre.
Roger Corman, now in his 80s, and his wife and career-long producing partner, Julie Corman, rank high on the list of the world's most prolific movie makers. They've produced and released as many as nine feature films during the course of one year, and only very few of their projects have failed to turn a profit at the box office.
Corman's Track Record
During his more than six decades on the job, Corman has actually played a major role in shaping the contemporary film industry. He has literally hundreds of film titles to his credit, including the dozens of low budget, do-it-yourself, one take is all you get so get it right schlock horror and exploitation films with which he began his independent filmmaking career. Despite their questionable (or unquestionably bad) production values -- or maybe because of them -- those early films attracted a very loyal fan base, one that assured Corman's success in the movie business.
Beginning in the 1950s and for more than a dozen years, Corman worked with American International Pictures (aka AIP, but the company actually began with the name American Releasing). He'd had no formal training as a filmmaker. He just jumped into the job and figured it out as he went, always setting his own production pace and style. During the 1906s he began to make more serious movies with a bigger budget and received critical acclaim for his cinema adaptations of the work of Edgar Allen Poe. In The Intruder (1962), he took on the very serious subject of race relations in the southern US. For it, he won a prize at the Venice Film Festival, but it was his first commercial flop.
But, as you learn in the documentary which chronicles Corman's career chronologically, the legacy of the 'King of B-movies' was quite clearly not only schlock. That's especially evident when it comes to the roster of filmmakers and actors who got their career starts by working on Corman projects. Included in their number are Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Peter Bogdanovich, Joe Dante, Ron Howard, Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Peter Fonda, William Shatner and Sandra Bullock, among many others on the Hollywood A-list. Many of them pay tribute to Corman in on camera interviews in this star-studded documentary. In speaking about his debt to Corman, an uncharateristically emotional Jack Nicholson practically breaks down in tears of gratitude.
Additionally, Corman deserves credit for introducing the work of many of the world's finest film directors to American audiences. When he left AIP and formed New World Pictures, Corman began to import and distribute the films of Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini, François Truffaut and other first rate international directors in art house cinemas across the United States.
For The Record
Actually the documentary is rich with archival footage and on camera testimonials that reveal Corman to be an extremely smart, straight shooting and sophisticated gentleman who deserves a lot more credit and praise than people who don't particularly like B-movies are likely to give him -- until, of course, they learn more about the man and his achievements in this better than B documentary. Put Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel on your documentaries watch list.