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Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2012)

So bad it's good? Well, maybe. Roger Corman has been making movies for more than fifty years. Granted, most of them are dreadful, but they do have an audience. This documentary looks a little bit deeper into the life and career of one of Hollywood's most notorious film-makers, with insight from some of tinseltown's luminaries, such as Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson (who got his first leading role in a Corman film in the late-fifties), William Shatner (also getting his first feature debut in 'The Intruder') and Ron Howard to name but four.

For the cinema enthusiast, there is some great footage of Corman's films from some forgotten 'gems' of the late-fifties. Corman has made (and is still making) close to two hundred movies, some only taking a couple of days to produce. With ultra-low budgets, Corman has yet to make a film that has made an actual loss, so from this point of view, he could be described as the most successful Director in the business.

The documentary, and the people featured within, treat Corman with the suitable amount of reverence reserved for an Oscar obituary and it is clear he is both admired and appreciated by those people that spend one hundred million dollars to make a film, where Corman would spend ten thousand. It is impossible to deny his influence through the Grindhouse and exploitation era, largely responsible for the success of both, at the same time nurturing some of todays' most respected actors, writers and directors.

With invaluable insights into how some of your favourite films came into being and the arrival on the scene of Bogdanovic, Nicholson, Scorsese, De Niro and a score of other 'Corman School' graduates, this is as much part of Hollywood folklore as the change in attitudes of the drive-in youth of the sixties to movie theatre queues around the block for the productions of Jaws and Star Wars in the late seventies, which meant that the big studios in Hollywood had woken up to what Corman had been doing.

A fine study of a man from Alex Stapleton with some enviable access to some of Hollywood's biggest players, this is as much a Corman 101 to people that have little or no knowledge of the man and as Scorsese and Penelope Spheeris both mention, Corman is a man that should be recognised by movie lovers of today as at any time, for the outstanding contribution he has made to cinema during his long, often difficult, career.


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