Title: Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel
Director: Alex Stapleton
Starring: Roger Corman, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Ron Howard, William Shatner and Jack Nicholson
The explicit use of sex, drugs, nudity violence and gore in exploitation films may seem like a great marketing tool to draw in potential audiences, but the genre has often garnered harsh criticisms for its broad overstatement of the issues presented in its movies. However, famed B exploitation writer-director-producer Roger Corman has fearlessly shunned his critics who have condemned his movies and his film-making style. The new documentary ‘Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel,’ which was helmed by Alex Stapleton, succeeds in showcasing the filmmaker’s dedication to making the movies he wants to make. As a result of this devotion, he has gathered a following from the genre’s fans and his fellow directors.
‘Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel’ chronicles the rise and ever-lasting illustrious career of the celebrated filmmaker. The documentary features interviews with such iconic Hollywood filmmakers and actors as Martin Scorsesee, Robert De Niro, Ron Howard, William Shatner and Jack Nicholson, who fondly reminisce about their experiences working with Corman. The film also tells how the filmmaker created his cult film empire by capitalizing on undiscovered talent and pushing the boundaries of low budget, independent movies.
Stapleton expertly showcased Corman’s early motivation in working in the film business, and how he still enjoys directing movies today. It was intriguing to see his determination to produce and direct films that he believes in, even if the big studios won’t support them. While Corman is known for, and enjoys, creating campy films, the documentary proves he also wants to reflect on the importance of the day’s most influential societal issues.
Corman’s commitment to focusing on social issues is best reflected through the documentary’s recount of how he relentlessly pursued making a movie based on Charles Beaumont’s novel ‘The Intruder.’ The book focuses on the court ordered school integration in the 1950s in the American south. Since the topic still garnered negative attention nationwide when it was released in 1962, the drama, one of Corman’s more serious and realistic films, unfortunately failed to garner any critical or commercial success. But Corman relented, and didn’t allow anyone else’s opinion to stand in his way of making the film the way he wanted. With it’s memorable and serious focus on social commentary of the time’s most important issue, contemporary audiences will surely understand the director’s upset ‘The Intruder’ never received the due credit it deserves.
Hollywood’s most note-worthy filmmakers obviously have been influenced by Corman’s dedication to his craft, and expressed their questioning of why the director hasn’t received more attention. The most memorable interview featured in ‘Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel’ was with Nicholson, whom owes the filmmaker credit for launching his career. As the Academy Award-winning actor discussed the exploitation films Corman directed him in, such as ‘The Cry Baby Killer’ and ‘The Raven,’ he became uncharacteristically emotional. He also recalled how the director was one of the few people who willingly cast him during the first 10 years of his career. Viewers will undoubtedly sense that Nicholson credits Corman for helping his career.
While ‘Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel’ does an impressive job of showing Corman’s dedication to his craft, and the admiration he has routinely received from other filmmakers and actors throughout his career, the documentary unfortunately doesn’t focus on why he continues to make exploitation movies. With the cult fame he has received throughout his career, he surely has enough name recognition among his fans to garner higher budgets for his films, and focus on more serious subjects. The only true explanation Corman states of why he continues in the exploitation genre, which is hurriedly revealed in an interview clip, is because he doesn’t agree with higher budgets; he feels the money can be put to better use. Viewers may feel as though they weren’t given the true explanation of what motivates the director in his career.
Fans of Corman’s films will certainly enjoy ‘Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel,’ as the documentary provides a behind-the-scenes look into some of the director’s more well-known films. The director reveals his motivation to please his fans, even if it means not being completely accepted by critics and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Corman’s desire to work on his own terms has rightfully garnered him recognition from Hollywood’s most note-worthy directors, including Scorsese and Howard, and he’ll be sure to continue working for as long as he wants.