Accidental Genius: Roger Corman

“I’ve never made the film I wanted to make. No matter what happens, it never turns out exactly as I hoped.”

I was so pleased when it was announced that Roger Corman was awarded the Academy’s Life Time Achievement award. There are still others that are just as deserving: Stanley Kubrick, Peter Sellers, Sergio Leone, David Lynch (although her has time for a long overdue Oscar), the list can go on and on. Roger Corman picked up where Ed Wood left off, making nothing but B Movies. His filmography is filled with bizzaro titles and a bunch of lame movies but Roger Corman is responsible for the birth of the greatest generation of filmmakers. He was the only producer who would give people a chance to make films as long as they would stay within his extremely low budget. Corman directed a few films, most of them were mediocre cult films, but he does have a masterpiece, “St. Valentines Day Massacre” (1967) starring Ralph Meeker as Bugsy Malone and Jason Robards as Al Capone. The film also co-stars George Segal as Peter Gusenberg and two small parts for Corman players Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern. Corman also directed “The Trip” staring Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper and it was written by Jack Nicholson. The film is essential about a group of people who embark on an acid trip. Corman reportedly took LSD along with Dern, Hopper, Fonda and Nicholson to “get the effect” of the film he was making. How cool is that? Corman is responsible for the careers of: Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Jonathon Demme, Bruce Dern, Jack Nicholson, Peter Bogdonavitch, Ron Howard, John Sayles, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese. How impressive is that? Corman has had cameo appearances in “The Godfather, Part II”, Ron Howard’s “Apollo 13” and in every film Jonathon Demme has made.  I love how the filmmakers he gave a chance too, never forgot about him and still to this day pay much homage, and give him much credit.  This is a man who was notorious for shooting films as cheap as possible, and in the shortest amount of time. Corman remains bedrock of the 1960’s and 1970’s and was the father of the greatest generation of filmmakers. There is an excellent Corman Boxset you can get, and I would strongly advise the serious movie watcher to invest in it.

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