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Movie review: 'Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel'

Alex Stapleton's colorful film focuses on the unconventional Roger Corman. It's a must-see for movie buffs and features interviews with Martin Scorsese and more.

December 16, 2011|By Gary Goldstein, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Roger Corman on the set of "Bloody Mama."
Roger Corman on the set of "Bloody Mama." (Anchor Bay Films )

"Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel" is a highly entertaining tribute to Roger Corman, one of Hollywood's most prolific, enduring and unconventionally influential film producers. Alex Stapleton's generous documentary is a must-see for movie buffs, particularly those old enough to remember Corman's late-1950s and '60s heyday-output of such low-budget genre hits as (the original) "The Fast and the Furious," "A Bucket of Blood," "The Wild Angels" and "The Trip."

The penny-pinching visionary's more than 500 producing credits have veered from the blatantly exploitative ("The Hot Box," anyone?) to the socially conscious (1962's race-relations drama "The Intruder"), with 180-degree turns along the way to distribute the films of Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini (Corman now produces movies on the cheap for cable and the direct-to-DVD markets).

But he is perhaps best regarded for fostering the early careers of such actors as Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Pam Grier and Bruce Dern as well as filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Peter Bogdanovich and Ron Howard, all of whom speak warmly and gratefully (and in Nicholson's case, tearfully) here about the moviemaking maverick.

Director Stapleton deftly intercuts a myriad of colorful clips from Corman's earliest and later pictures with the enjoyable raft of interviews, which also includes chats with the now-85-year-old Corman and his wife and longtime co-producer, Julie.

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