Filmmaker turns camera on B-movie king Roger Corman

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Old 24-Jan-2011
Punjabi Gabru
Post Filmmaker turns camera on B-movie king Roger Corman

Filmmaker turns camera on B-movie king Roger Corman

An affectionate
tribute to the not-quite-obscure Roger Corman, "Corman's World"
breaks little new ground but serves as a lively primer for any
film buff unconvinced of the low-budgeteer's lasting footprint on
the American film biz.
Funny, quick-paced and stuffed with well-known interviewees,
it naturally has far better niche theatrical prospects than
anything its subject has produced lately.
The doc's straight chronological approach, which tidily
breaks a mammoth career into comprehensible stages, is
interrupted only by recent footage from the set of "Dinoshark," a
production that lets us observe Corman and wife/partner Julie at
work and offers at least one new anecdote colorful enough to
enter Corman lore.
There's lore aplenty here, as director Alex Stapleton
interviews most of the figures closely linked to the producer's
mythology (with the notable exception of Francis Ford Coppola) --
we walk down small-town streets with Ron Howard, visit Martin
Scorsese in a jewel-box-like private screening room and watch as
Bruce Dern gets his hair cut, everybody eager to share their
experiences with the man.
And then, of course, there's Jack. Easily the doc's best
interview, Nicholson is entertaining and surprisingly earnest
(emotional, even) as he marvels at the man who kept him employed
even after the kind of performance he gave in "The Terror."
Nicholson also caps the story of how "Easy Rider," which could
have been Corman's crowning achievement, slipped through his
The movie rarely lingers anywhere for long, leaving fans
wanting to hear more about, say, how the Corman Corps created the
not-so-special effects in his earliest sci-fi pictures. But it
does give proper attention to "The Intruder," the from-the-heart
1962 film about racism (starring William Shatner, who reminisces
here) that bombed so badly it convinced Corman to embrace a
"text/subtext" approach in the future, burying political themes
under boobs, bombs and blood.
A few tidbits may be news to casual fans (New World's
unlikely relationship with auteurs like Ingmar Bergman, for
instance), and in ample footage of the man himself (including
vintage talk-show appearances), Stapleton presents, though never
really explains, the intriguing contrast between Corman's
dignified persona and the bottom-feeding fare he produces.
Those B- and D-flicks are just art of a different sort,
Scorsese generously suggests. In "Corman's World," there's nobody
around who will challenge that assertion.

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