Review: Corman's World (Blu-ray)

Anchor Bay celebrates filmmaking icon Roger Corman with this documentary solely devoted to the rise and legacy of the infamous auteur on Blu-ray!

  • Director: Alex Stapleton
  • Starring: Roger Corman, Martin Scorsese, Joe Dante, Alan Arkush, Ron Howard
  • Year: 2011
  • Runtime: 90 Minutes
  • Company: Anchor Bay
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Discs: 1 - 25GB
  • Video: 1.78:1 - 1080p - AVC
  • Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • Region: A
  • Released: 3/27/2012

Any knowledgeable and self respecting film fan knows who Roger Corman is. Dubbed "The King of the B's" (a nickname Corman loathes), the legendary auteur has wrote, directed and produced over 300 films since the 1950's and still to this day shows no sign of stopping. Most interesting are the slew of then unknown actors and filmmakers who got their start working under Corman's tutelage, many of which are now considered masters of cinema and their craft. Roger Corman's impact on low budget filmmaking and cinema in general is one of the most admirable, fascinating and exploited looks of a true Hollywood rebel.
The amount of documentaries devoted solely to cinema and it's dozens of sub genres is staggering. For cinephiles, it's pure heaven. Most notable are Mark Hartley's Not Quite Hollywood and Machete Maidens Unleashed, two fantastic docs that focus on different continents that created their own unique, off-Hollywood brand of filmmaking that took audiences by force. Retrospectives are certainly in vogue right now, leading Alex Stapleton to give independent titan Roger Corman his on camera due with Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, which I'm happy to say is right on par with the excellent aforementioned docs
Shot during the Corman produced Dinoshark, much time is spent on Roger's beginnings of creating low budget phenomenons, securing deals with infamous studio American International Pictures and eventually building his own production studio. It's a whopping tale of success and failure that is delved into with highly entertaining depth. Corman's World is filled with a wealth of information including archival footage and on screen interviews from those who attended "The Corman Film School", an impressive roster that includes Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Joe Dante and even Jack Nicholson!
Everyone involved has only but gracious words to say about Roger Corman, who presents himself as a soft spoken gentleman who's more like an intellectual professor than a 60 year genre filmmaking veteran. The interviews are completely heartfelt and appreciative, a warm and sincere anecdote from Jack Nicholson will no doubt bring a tear to your eye. Hell, even Pam Grier shows up and exclaims she wouldn't hesitate to work with Corman again for another Philippine exploitation romp. Just as long as she could have some head gear this time around.
Clocking in around 90 minutes, Corman's World flies by and feels slightly light but I think that's just the film nut in me talking. Alex Stapleton does a great job of condensing a vast amount of information in a tight and fast feature for newcomers and the initiated. If like me you can't get enough of Corman, do not hesitate to pick up Shout! Factory's essential remastered DVD & Blu-ray's of his films titled "Roger Corman's Cult Classics", which are bursting at the seams with bonus content.

  • Video
Giving this a Blu-ray release after it's film festival and limited city run, Corman's World get's a great looking 1.78:1 framed 1080p transfer from Anchor Bay. Consisting of newly shot HD interview footage with a mix of archive film clips and vintage interviews that have their fair share of wear, the high definition digital photography is crisp, color accurate and par for the course.
  • Audio
This being a documentary, it's dialogue heavy and the provided English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 makes it sound crystal clear throughout without any problems. There's an occasional bit of music or film clips that will get your sub-woofer beating but for the most part it's a calm, center speaker focused mix.

Bonus Features
  • Interview - "Extended Interviews"
A little bit more dialogue from interviewees which is essentially deleted scenes. I could/can listen to everyone involved talk in length about Corman and their careers for hours but this suffices.
  • Featurette - "Special Messages To Roger"
Everyone interviewed for the doc gets their own time to deliver a personal and heartfelt message to Roger Corman.
  • Trailer
A sole trailer for Corman's World and a couple of Anchor Bay acquired film trailers at the beginning of the disc.