Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel

de Alex Stapleton


An award-winner in Sitges, where he showed off his endearing smile, Roger Corman is one of those figures without whom it would be impossible to understand the history of North American cinema. Made during the shooting of Dinoshark (the title speaks for itself), this documentary portrays this atypical producer, a genuine sniper within the framework of Hollywood and the defender of some of the most important directors in recent history. It does it through unending stock footage and interviews –from Jack Nicholson to Joe Dante and including a true dream team of filmmakers–. A comprehensive document on a tireless creator.Tribute to the king of HollywoodIncredible, but true. Until this Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel no other documentary had been made focusing on Roger Corman’s life and work. Maybe because the filmmaker himself had already talked about it in great detail in his book How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime, published in Spain with the title Cómo hice cien films en Hollywood y nunca perdí ni un céntimo (Laertes, 1992), where he could even count on the participation of most of his collaborators. Debut director Alex Stapleton fills this void with a necessary tribute that vindicates the director of Premature Burial as much more than the great sprinter of cinema, that director capable of beating all records when it comes to finishing films with a minimum of days and budget.Actually, Corman (who appears, at 85, still active in the production of the TV movie Dinoshark) talks very little in the documentary. Stapleton invites people from the trade who have worked with him to make it clear that not only are Corman’s productions the ones that probably bring together more anecdotes per printed still, but especially the reason why he is a key figure in North American off Hollywood cinema. The list of testimonies is impressive: Joe Dante, Jonathan Demme, Martin Scorsese, John Sayles, Peter Bogdanovich, Ron Howard, Peter Fonda, David Carradine, Bruce Dern, Robert DeNiro, Jack Nicholson (in one of his best appearances on film in years, check out his sentences like “I hated Star Wars” or when he gets all worked up!), Pam Grier (female representative of a filmography overflowing with formidable women both in front of and behind the camera)... The only notable absence is that of Francis Ford Coppola. The rest of the names that could be missed, from Traci Lords to Monte Hellman, appear in the end credits as interviews that didn’t make the final cut. Just for having nurtured a body of directors and performers like this, the good and the best of the New Hollywood of the seventies, this gentleman of Z movies already deserved a film tribute.

But Stapleton doesn’t resign herself to simply making the typical documentary full of funny curiosities and more than deserved praise. As the footage progresses, it draws the profile of a unique character who embodies a particular ethical and aesthetic discourse on cinema. Not only has Corman demonstrated that you can have a long career in the United States without setting foot in a Hollywood studio, and even make money. He also knew how to address the teenage audience long before Hollywood discovered this target group; he developed a Do It Yourself way of creating when this expression hadn’t even become popular yet; he anticipated the big hit countercultural cinema inspired by Easy Rider; he combined the shrillest exploit productions with movies by Truffaut, Fellini, Bergman and Kurosawa without with no complexes... and he directed, among others, some of the finest adaptations of Poe for the silver screen. When just before the credits the Ramones appear singing Rock'n'Roll High School, we can confirm that with Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel we have attended the joyful celebration of a true movie rebel.EULÀLIA IGLESIAS


Alex Stapleton

Born in Texas, she worked as a columnist for different magazines and as an assistant on a couple of films. In 2005 she took the big leap to documentary production with Just for Kicks. Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel is her first work as a director.

Technical information

Edition: 2011
Section: Seven Chances
Original language: English