It’s Corman’s World, We Just Live In It

cormanCorman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel is an affectionate, hilarious tribute to trailblazing independent filmmaker Roger Corman. Packed with footage from dozens of Corman’s sensationalistic, low-budget films, director Alex Stapleton exuberantly traces the director’s evolution from lowly story analyst to obsessively disciplined producer and director who launched the careers of some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Despite having no formal training, Corman established himself in the ’50s with campy sci-fi and horror genre flicks that showcased his no-frills aesthetic and crafty business acumen. The film rightly points out Corman’s hugely successful series of Edgar Allen Poe adaptations, as well as a run of exploitative teen drive-in movies, as having paved the way for his later counterculture successes like Easy Riders and The Trip. Corman acknowledges his cheap-thrills cult status with an air of detached bemusement, though the failure of 1962’s The Intruder, a rare foray into social drama centered on a rabble-rousing segregationist (William Shatner), still clearly stings. Heartfelt and candid interviews with A-listers like Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard–all of whom wholeheartedly credit their success to Corman’s early support– color a portrait of an ambitious man whose genial, softspoken demeanor masks a lifelong obsession with playing the Hollywood game by his own rules.

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