March 29, 2012

Filthy Review - Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel

Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

It must be said that there are a lot of documentaries out there, covering all manner of subjects, with some being far more worthy than others. In the world of film if anyone deserved to have one made about them, it is without a doubt Roger Corman. The man has been around for what seems like forever, in fact he had made his 100th movie seven years before I was born, and he is still making them now. Talk about prolific, Roger Corman wrote the damned book on the subject!

I bet if you look through your movie collection you will have at least one movie that Corman was directly involved in, or was made by one of his protégé’s, such is his influence. I was just looking through my collection the other day, and there at the top of one my stacks of flicks was Penelope Spheeris’ Suburbia, with A Roger Corman Production emblazoned across the top. I’ve had the movie for years and had never noticed it before!

Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel is not just a love letter to Corman and his work, it is more than that. Director Alex Stapleton has put together a movie that traces Corman’s career from the very beginning, in his short stint at 20th Century Fox through his ups and downs, with interviews galore, Everyone from Jack Nicholson, who I have never seen in such a human light, his Hollywood exterior removed to reveal a real person, though to Ron Howard, Robert De Niro, Dick Miller, Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino, William Shatner, I really could go on and on. The only real omission and it’s a sad but unavoidable one, is there not being an interview with the late great Vincent Price.

The interviews that there are though are priceless. No one talks Corman up for the sake of the movie they just come across as straightforward honest tales. It is all fascinating stuff, for example there are segments with Joe Dante and Allan Arkush from back in the day and the present day, and you can tell that their affection and admiration has never wavered.

What comes across strongest though is Corman’s never-ending desire to make movies, and to make them his way. He really was the forerunner of today’s huge underground and Independent scene. If it was not for his trailblazing methods, who knows what modern day independent cinema would be like. I imagine a lot tougher than it already is.

In a career that has spanned 7 decades and over 400 films as producer, which include five in 2012 alone, it really makes you wonder where he gets the energy from. Then you watch this documentary and it all becomes quite apparent; the man just loves his movies!

Whether or not you like Roger Corman’s movies, and chances are you like at least one of them, or even know who he is, this is definitely a film I recommend you watch. When I asked my wife if she wanted to watch it she reluctantly said yes, even though she had absolutely no idea who Corman is, yet by the end she had enjoyed it as much as I did. It really is that type of movie. It’s informative, charming, eye-opening and at times quite emotional, but above all that it is totally riveting viewing. Stapleton really has created one of the most enjoyable documentaries I have ever seen, and I can only imagine the amount of time and effort that went into making it.

By the time you read this I am sure Corman will have knocked out half-a-dozen more movies.

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

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