Corman's World Alex Stapleton

Corman's World Alex Stapleton
While it would be very easy to dismiss Roger Corman as the maker of trashy, low budget movies, it's only when you see the list of people whose career he launched that it becomes apparent just how influential he is. That's why Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, William Shatner, Peter Bogdanovich and Jack Nicholson were more than happy to line up and sing his praises on Corman's World, a look back at his incredible filmmaking journey. Subtitled "Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel," it documents chronologically how Corman started off making films quickly and for next to nothing in the '50s, and continued that philosophy to this day. Along the way, he embraced horror, creature features, teenage rebellion, Blaxploitation, drive-in schlock fests and almost every other cult movie genre, directing and producing classic movies like Death Race 2000, The Wild Angels, Rock'n'Roll High School and Piranha. Corman is charismatic and engaging; he obviously knows his craft and has been more than willing to share that knowledge with others. And those others share some great stories; you can add the likes of Pam Grier, David Carradine, Joe Dante and quite a few more familiar names to that earlier list. But the star is Jack Nicholson – initially he acts somewhat ashamed of his earliest movies with Corman (like Little Shop Of Horrors), but by the end is genuinely emotional as he recounts their relationship. Like so many of his efforts, Corman's World is a very entertaining way to spend 90 minutes, but it barely scratches the surface when it comes to his story. This would be the perfect bonus disc in a definitive box set of Corman's best films, but in isolation, it feels a little on the insubstantial side, although much of that is down to the fact it's impossible to condense a career that spans more than 50 years and nearly 400 movies into one documentary. This will have to do, in the meantime. The extra features hint about the kind of material that was left on the cutting room floor. There are an additional 30 minutes of interviews and chances are there were many more minutes with wholly inappropriate stories that didn't make the final cut; those are the stories I really want to hear. (Anchor Bay)