- 302 Pages
- Released: March 1, 2005
- Originally Released: 2005
- Publisher: Renaissance Books
Description by OLDIES.com:
Ask today's movie buff to name his or her idols among independent filmmakers and you're likely to get many different answers. Ask the filmmakers themselves and you're likely to hear the same name repeated over and over - Roger Corman.
Long before indie powerhouse Miramax became famous worldwide, Corman was an independent marketing industry unto himself, producing small but influential films that made a big impact on his peers. His brilliant, low-budget monster movies and sci-fi flicks were the direct inspiration for later big-studio blockbusters like Jaws and Star Wars.
Much has been written about his films and directorial philosophy - most of it by outsiders with no direct connection to their subject. So what do we know about Corman the eccentric business executive, Corman the studio head, Corman the boss? Precious little has been said about what it's like to work up-close and day-to-day with this immensely charming but cagey living legend who continues to blaze trails in even the most difficult markets. How has he achieved such an amazing success ratio for profitability? Are his notorious penny-pinching tactics just good commercial sense or a reflection of a complex psyche?
In Roger Corman: An Unauthorized Biography of the Godfather of Indie Filmmaking, Beverly Gray provides an unprecedented personal perspective of her employer of almost ten years. She analyzes the price Corman has paid for his independence and what his success has cost those who have worked for him. The answers are sometimes surprising, often shocking, and always fascinating.
Film director Roger Corman isn't like anybody. Yes, he comes from a good Catholic family; he's urbane; he hires well-educated people almost exclusively; he's a devoted father. But he also makes exploitation films on a volume basis. He's produced (and/or directed) over 400 of them filled with images of blood-sucking vampires, rampaging biker gangs, vigilante strippers, and aliens who want to get close to us. (It's not that he's vulgar, by the way. When, as a sideline, he began to distribute European art films, he showed impeccable taste.) He makes these films quickly and as cheaply as he can. So it's quantity and style that set Roger Corman apart. And a third thing: Corman has made a profit on virtually every film he's produced.
Long story short, for thirty years Corman has been a legend to independent filmmakers. Corman was the first Tarantino; he made Sundance possible. And he's been more than a good example to neophytes -- he's often employed them. The list of Corman proteges reads like a Who's Who of the film industry -- John Sayles, James Cameron, Dennis Hopper, Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, and Jonathan Demme to name but a few. In the new century the Internet and cable will make it much, much easier for the independent filmmaker to get an audience. Corman's speed, thrift, and timeliness will become the industry standard.