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Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel

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    Ian Jane
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  • Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel



    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released on: March 27, 2011.
    Director: Alex Stapleton
    Cast: Roger Corman
    Year: 2011
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Alex Stapleton's 2011 documentary on the 'King of the B's' can't even begin to do justice to the long and storied career of Roger Corman. Responsible for literally hundreds of movies, it's just not possible to touch upon every aspect of his work in a mere ninety minutes. So with that said, let's look at Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel not as a comprehensive overview of the man's life and times but as a tribute to an unsung hero of Hollywood and a moviemaker who has had far more influence than most would give him credit for. On that level, Stapleton's film is quite successful.

    The movie begins by giving us some background information on Corman and through interviews with the man himself, explaining how he got into the film industry in the first place. We learn of his brief career at Fox, which instilled in him the sense to go it solo, without the aid of a major studio, and how he first carved out a niche for himself with drive-in films made fast and cheap. As the years went on, Corman became more skilled as a director as he teamed up with AIP to launch the incredibly successful Vincent Price Poe films, and from there he managed to foresee a few interesting cinematic trends by ushering in early entries in the biker movie cycle and the women in prison cycle.

    Corman, ever frugal, also had a knack for spotting talent early on. He gave work to Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson and Francis Ford Coppola long before they were Hollywood royalty and helped make people like Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Joe Dante, Ron Howard and William Shatner famous. Corman's tendency to go it on the cheap would cost him when Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper went elsewhere with Easy Rider, a film they initially wanted to work with him on, but the man has a proven track record for churning out films that are quick, cheap, profitable - and most importantly, fun.

    Interviews with many of the aforementioned folks involved in Corman's world make up the bulk of this documentary, and we also get input from Peter Bogdonavich, Eli Roth, Julie Corman, Gene Corman, Paul W. S. Anderson, Robert De Niro, Jonathan Demme, Bruce Dern, John Sayles, Alan Arkush and the late David Carradine among others. All seem grateful to Roger for helping to launch them, with Nicholson actually tearing up at the thought of Corman going unappreciated by the mainstream. The documentary ends on a rather touching note as Quentin Tarantino hands the man an honorary Oscar when Corman took home the Lifetime Achievement Award a couple of years back.

    The documentary cruises by at a great pace and offers up some welcome insight into who Roger Corman is and why he matters to so many people. Plenty of clips from many of his film illustrate various points made throughout the film and the documentary rightly spends quite a bit of time discussing Corman's only real commercial failure, The Intruder, the racially tinged anti-segregation film he made with his brother Gene starring William Shatner. The documentary also makes an interesting point of showing how Corman's films tended to reflect what was happening in the society in which they were made, how subjects such as the sexual revolution and the Vietnam War played a part in the stories he told and how he picked up on the use of LSD and drug culture long before the mainstream would even dare of touching such subjects.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The transfer for Corman's World, presented in 1.78.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition, looks about as you'd expect it to. The newly shot footage, shot on DV, looks fairly crisp while the archival bits not so much. Colors are nicely reproduced, detail is fine if far from reference quality and there aren't any compression issues.

    The only audio option on the disc is a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track, in English, with no alternate language options but with subtitles provided in English and Spanish. As this is a fairly dialogue heavy movie, it's not too surprising to notice that most of the activity comes from the front of the mix, but surrounds are used to toy around with the soundtrack here and there. Some of the archival clips sound a bit worse for wear, but that's to be expected. No problems here.

    There aren't a ton of extras here but there are thirteen minutes of deleted scenes and fifteen minutes of 'Special Messages To Roger' from some of the interviewees. Aside from that, there's a trailer, some menus and chapter selection. A trailer reel of vintage Corman titles would have been great, or a commentary with the man himself or with
    Stapleton even but that didn't happen.

    The Final Word:

    As a comprehensive look at Corman's career, this is just too damn short but as an affectionate tribute to the man who not only carved out a huge spot for himself in the history of cinema but who also launched some of the biggest names in Hollywood, it's quite a nice feature. Anchor Bay offers it up on Blu-ray in nice shape and with a few supplements of note, making this a solid release overall.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















    • Mark Tolch
      #3
      Mark Tolch
      Senior Member
      Mark Tolch commented
      Editing a comment
      I keep saying that i'm going to get back down to the Bloor Cinema, and it never happens. I think it's because the idea of a midnight movie followed by an hour long drive doesn't appeal to me.

    • Todd Jordan
      #4
      Todd Jordan
      Smut is good.
      Todd Jordan commented
      Editing a comment
      Sleep with Azz in his car.

    • Mark Tolch
      #5
      Mark Tolch
      Senior Member
      Mark Tolch commented
      Editing a comment
      Der, I have my own car to sleep in.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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