Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel

I usually review the movies of the past on this blog, but today we’re going to look at a recent film that is about the movies of the past.  “Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel” is a documentary from last year about legendary producer/director Roger Corman.  Corman’s is not a name that is usually listed among the great moviemakers of all time, but his contribution to film history is considerable.  He helmed such films as “Creature from the Haunted Sea,” “She Gods of Shark Reef,” and “Teenage Caveman,” so…not exactly Oscar material.  But, Corman is a hugely talented director who also has quite an eye for young talent.  This film tells the story of his career in film.

The film consists mainly of interviews with Corman and many of the other filmmakers he’s surrounded himself with over the years.  Among them, his wife Julie, Martin Scorsese,  Peter Bogdanovich, Jonathan Demme, Joe Dante and Allan Arkush (joined at the hip, as usual), and many others.  Some of the most interesting interviews in the film come courtesy of director Ron Howard, who directed his first film, “Grand Theft Auto,” for Corman, and Jack Nicholson, who was among Corman’s stable of actors many years.  Nicholson is surprisingly open throughout the film, even being moved to tears at one point.

Corman’s career is so vast, there is no way it could all be covered in one film, so certain things get more attention than others.  The segment that deals with Corman’s racially charged film “The Intruder” is very interesting.  Also intriguing is the discussion of how things changed for Corman when films like “Jaws” and “Star Wars” rolled around.

There is a lot of stuff to keep film buffs happy here, and the movie is very informative, but I also think there could’ve been a bit more done to present a more rounded view of Corman.  We see examples of many of his B sci-fi and horror movies, that’s fun but there is little talk about his finer moments as a director…most notably his series of films inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.  Some discussion of his return to directing for “Frankenstein Unbound,” after many years spent in the producer’s chair, would’ve been interesting as well.

As an introduction to the work of Roger Corman, “Corman’s World” does a great job and will hopefully inspire many younger movie fans to seek out his work.


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