Corman in Hollywood 2012
Roger William Corman
April 5, 1926
|Alma mater||Stanford University (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1947)|
|Occupation||Film producer, director, actor, screenwriter, entertainment businessman|
Julie Corman (m. 1970)
Roger William Corman (born April 5, 1926)is an American director, producer, and actor. He has been called "The Pope of Pop Cinema" and is known as a trailblazer in the world of independent film. Much of Corman's work has an established critical reputation, such as his cycle of low-budget cult films adapted from the tales of Edgar Allan Poe.
A film director is a person who directs the making of a film. A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking. Under European Union law, the director is viewed as the author of the film.
A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Either employed by a production company or working independently, producers plan and coordinate various aspects of film production, such as selecting the script; coordinating writing, directing, and editing; and arranging financing.
An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.
Admired by members of the French New Wave and Cahiers du cinéma , in 1964 Corman was the youngest filmmaker to have a retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française,as well as the British Film Institute and the Museum of Modern Art. He was the co-founder of New World Pictures, a prolific multimedia company that helped to cement Fox as a major American television network, and is a longtime member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 2009, he was awarded an Honorary Academy Award "for his rich engendering of films and filmmakers."
New Wave is a French film movement which emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. It is a form of European art cinema, and is often referred to as one of the most influential movements in the history of cinema. New Wave filmmakers were linked by their rejection of the traditional film conventions then dominating France, and by a spirit of iconoclasm. Common features of the New Wave included radical experimentation with editing, visual style, and narrative, as well as engagement with the social and political upheavals of the era.
Cahiers du Cinéma is a French film magazine founded in 1951 by André Bazin, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, and Joseph-Marie Lo Duca. It developed from the earlier magazine Revue du Cinéma involving members of two Paris film clubs—Objectif 49 and Ciné-Club du Quartier Latin.
The Cinémathèque Française is a French non-profit film organization founded in 1936 that holds one of the largest archives of film documents and film-related objects in the world. Based in Paris, the archive offers daily screenings of worldwide films.
Corman mentored and gave a start to many young film directors such as Francis Ford Coppola,Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, John Sayles, and James Cameron, and was highly influential in the New Hollywood filmmaking movement of the 1960s and 70s. He also helped to launch the careers of actors like Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Bruce Dern, Sylvester Stallone, Diane Ladd, and William Shatner.
Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, film composer, and vintner. He was a central figure in the New Hollywood filmmaking movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
Ronald William Howard is an American filmmaker and actor. Howard is best known for playing two high-profile roles in television sitcoms in his youth and directing a number of successful feature films later in his career.
Martin Charles Scorsese is an American-Italian filmmaker and historian, whose career spans more than 50 years. Scorsese's body of work addresses such themes as Italian-American identity, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption, faith, machismo, modern crime, and gang conflict. Many of his films are also known for their depiction of violence and liberal use of profanity.
Corman has occasionally taken minor acting roles in the films of directors who started with him, including The Silence of the Lambs ,The Godfather Part II , Apollo 13 , The Manchurian Candidate and Philadelphia .
The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American neo-noir psychological horror film directed by Jonathan Demme from a screenplay written by Ted Tally, adapted from Thomas Harris's 1988 novel of the same name. The film stars Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, and Anthony Heald. In the film, Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee, seeks the advice of the imprisoned Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer to apprehend another serial killer, known only as "Buffalo Bill", who skins his female victims' corpses. The novel was Harris's first and second respectively to feature the characters of Starling and Lecter, and was the second adaptation of a Harris novel to feature Lecter, preceded by the Michael Mann-directed Manhunter (1986).
The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American crime film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a screenplay co-written with Mario Puzo, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Partially based on Puzo's 1969 novel The Godfather, the film is both sequel and prequel to The Godfather, presenting parallel dramas: one picks up the 1958 story of Michael Corleone (Pacino), the new Don of the Corleone crime family, protecting the family business in the aftermath of an attempt on his life; the prequel covers the journey of his father, Vito Corleone, from his Sicilian childhood to the founding of his family enterprise in New York City.
Apollo 13 is a 1995 American space docudrama film directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris. The screenplay by William Broyles Jr., and Al Reinert dramatizes the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission and is an adaptation of the book Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by astronaut Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. The film depicts astronauts Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise aboard Apollo 13 for America's third Moon landing mission. En route, an on-board explosion deprives their spacecraft of most of its oxygen supply and electric power, forcing NASA's flight controllers to abort the Moon landing, and turning the mission into a struggle to get the three men home safely.
A documentary about Corman's life and career entitled Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel , directed by Alex Stapleton, premiered at the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals in 2011. The film's TV rights were picked up by A&E IndieFilms after a well-received screening at Sundance.
Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel is a 2011 documentary film about the life and career of filmmaker Roger Corman.
The Sundance Film Festival, a program of the Sundance Institute, which takes place annually in Park City, Utah, is the largest independent film festival in the United States with more than 46,660 attending in 2016. It is held in January in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as at the Sundance Resort. It is a showcase for new work from American and international independent filmmakers. The festival consists of competitive sections for American and international dramatic and documentary films, both feature films and short films, and a group of out-of-competition sections, including NEXT, New Frontier, Spotlight, Midnight, Premieres, and Documentary Premieres.
The Cannes Festival, until 2002 called the International Film Festival and known in English as the Cannes Film Festival, is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries from all around the world. Founded in 1946, the invitation-only festival is held annually at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.
Corman was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Anne (née High) and William Corman, an engineer.His younger brother, Eugene Harold "Gene" Corman, has also produced numerous films, sometimes in collaboration with Roger. Corman and his brother were baptized in the Catholic faith.
Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the largest American city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music and as a repository for art, architecture and design.
Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.
Eugene Harold "Gene" Corman is an American film producer and agent. He is the younger brother of Roger Corman.
Corman went to Beverly Hills High School and then to Stanford University to study Industrial Engineering. While at Stanford, Corman realised he did not want to be an engineer.
He enlisted in the V-12 Navy College Training Program with six months of study to complete. He served in the navy from 1944 to 1946. He returned to Stanford to finish his degree, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering in 1947.While at Stanford University, Corman was initiated in the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
In 1948, he worked briefly at U.S. Electrical Motors on Slauson Avenue in Los Angeles, but his career in engineering lasted only four days; he began work on Monday and quit on Thursday, telling his boss "I've made a terrible mistake."His brother Gene was already working in the film industry as an agent and Roger decided to go into filmmaking instead.
Corman found work at 20th Century Fox initially in the mail room. He worked his way up to a story reader. The one property that he liked the most and provided ideas for was filmed as The Gunfighter with Gregory Peck. When Corman received no credit at all he left Fox and decided he would work in film by himself. Under the GI Bill, Corman studied English Literature at Oxford University and lived in Paris for a time.
He then returned to Los Angeles and tried to re-establish himself in the film industry. He took various jobs, including television stage hand at KLAC and a messenger at Fox. He worked as an assistant to agent Dick Hyland, a literary agent.
Corman wrote a script in his spare time and sold it to William F. Broidy at Allied Artists for $2,000. "Dick thought it was funny and let me pay myself a commission," said Corman.Originally called House in the Sea, it was retitled as Highway Dragnet (1953), and starred Richard Conte and Joan Bennett. Corman also worked as associate producer on the film for nothing, just for the experience.
Corman used his script fee and personal contacts to raise $12,000 to produce his first feature, a science fiction film, The Monster From the Ocean Floor (1954). It was produced by Corman's own company, Palo Alto, and released by Robert L. Lippert.
The film did well enough to encourage Corman to produce another film, the racing car thriller The Fast and the Furious (1955), directed by its star, John Ireland, and co-starring Dorothy Malone.
Corman sold the movie to a new independent company, the American Releasing Company, run by James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff. Although Corman had a number of offers for the film from Republic and Columbia, he elected to go with ARC because they undertook to advance money to enable him to make two more movies.
Corman's second film for ARC was one he decided to direct, Five Guns West (1955), a Western, made in colour for around $60,000, with Malone and John Lund.The script was written by Robert Wright Campbell, who would work with Corman on several more occasions.
Corman announced he would make four more projects for ARC: High Steel, Cobra, Fortress Beneath the Sea, and an untitled film from Campbell.Instead Corman did some uncredited directing on The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955), then made another Western, Apache Woman (1955), starring Lloyd Bridges, written by Lou Rusoff. Rusoff and Corman reunited on Day the World Ended (1955), a post-apocalyptic science fiction film, which was popular.
Corman was to make The Devil on Horseback by Charles B. Griffith about the Brownsville Raidbut it was too expensive.
The Woolner Brothers, Louisiana drive-in owners, financed Corman's, Swamp Women (1956), a girls-on-the-lam saga.
He returned to ARC for two Westerns, The Oklahoma Woman (1956) and Gunslinger (1956) (with Ireland); Gunslinger was co-written by Griffith, who would become a crucial collaborator for Corman over the next five years. He bought a script from Curtis Harrington, The Girl from Beneath the Sea.Harrington would make it for Corman years later as Night Tide (1961).
ARC changed their name to "American International Pictures". Corman was established as their leading filmmaker. They financed Corman's next film as director, the science fiction story, It Conquered the World (1956). Co-written by Griffith, it was a follow up to The Day the World Ended. It was a big hit.
He optioned a TV play The Stake and hoped to get Dana Andrews to star.It was never made. Instead Walter Mirisch of Allied Artists hired Corman to make The Undead (1957), inspired by The Search for Bridey Murphy . Griffith wrote the script.
in June Corman made a science fiction film for Allied Artists, Not of this Earth (1957), written by Griffith.
In August 1956, AIP financed a Corman heist movie shot in Hawaii, Naked Paradise (1957), co-written by Griffith. Corman shot it back to back with a movie made with his own money, She Gods of Shark Reef (1958) - Corman wound up selling the movie to AIP.
Corman and Griffith reunited in Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) for Allied, which wound up being one of his most successful early films.
For his own production company, Corman made a rock and roll "quickle", Carnival Rock (1957), released by Howco. Rock All Night (1957) was a heist film written by Griffith expanded from a TV play, "The Little Guy", with musical acts inserted.
He was meant to make Rock'n'Roll Girl for AIP in December 1957.
Corman made two "teen girl noirs", Teenage Doll (1957) for the Woolner Brothers and Sorority Girl (1957), starring Susan Cabot for AIP.
For AIP he made The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (1957), shot in August 1957.He was meant to follow this with Teenage Jungle by Tony Miller.
The success of Not of this Earth and Crab Monsters led to Allied offering Corman a four-picture deal for 1958.
Corman received his first serious critical praise for Machine-Gun Kelly (1958), an AIP biopic of the famous gangster, which gave Charles Bronson his first leading role and co-starred Cabot. Campbell wrote the script.
Also for AIP, he did Teenage Caveman (1958), with Robert Vaughn, originally titled Prehistoric World.
He helped produce two films for Allied Artists, both from scripts by Leo Gordon: Hot Car Girl (1958), directed by Bernard Kowalski and produced by his brother Gene (the first film they made together) from a script by Gordon; and The Cry Baby Killer (1958), which gave Jack Nicholson his first starring role.
He had his biggest budget yet for I, Mobster (1958), a gangster story, co-produced by Edward L. Alperson and Corman's brother Gene for 20th Century Fox. In September 1958 he was reported scouting locations in Australia to do a remake of H. Rider Haggard's She .
War of the Satellites (1958), conceived and shot in record time to take advantage of the Sputnik launch; it was his first collaboration with art director Daniel Haller.
Corman also produced but did not direct Stakeout on Dope Street (1958), directed by Irvin Kershner; Night of the Blood Beast (1958), directed by Kowalski for AIP, using leftover costumes from Teenage Caveman; and Crime and Punishment U.S.A. (1959), directed by Dennis Sanders with George Hamilton in his first lead role.
In 1959, Corman founded Filmgroup with his brother Gene, a company producing or releasing low-budget black-and-white films as double features for drive-ins and action houses.Their first movies were High School Big Shot (1958), T-Bird Gang (1959) and Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)
For AIP, Corman and Griffith made a black comedy, A Bucket of Blood (1959). Corman announced he would follow it with a similar comedy, The Bloodshot Private Eye.It does not seem to have been made. Instead Griffith re-used the same script structure and Corman employed many of the same cast in Little Shop of Horrors (1960). This film was reputedly shot in two days and one night.
For Filmgroup, Corman directed The Wasp Woman (1959), starring Cabot from a script by Gordon. He and his brother made two films back to back in South Dakota: Ski Troop Attack (1960), a war movie written by Griffith and directed by Corman, and Beast from Haunted Cave (1959), the first film directed by Monte Hellman.
Corman went to Puerto Rico and produced another two films back to back: Battle of Blood Island (1960), directed by Joel Rapp, and Last Woman on Earth (1960), directed by Corman from a script by Robert Towne. Filming on these two films went so quickly that Corman commissioned Griffith to write a third, which was shot at the same time: Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961).
Corman was going to make Part Time Mother from a script by Griffithbut it appears to have never been made.
AIP wanted Corman to make two horror films for them, in black and white, at under $100,000 each on a ten-day shooting schedule. Corman however was tired of making films on this sort of budget, and was worried the market for them was in decline. He proposed making a film in colour for $200,000, shot over fifteen days. Corman proposed an adaptation of "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe and AIP agreed. The film was announced in May 1959.
Richard Matheson was hired to do the adaptation and Vincent Price was brought in to star; Haller did the art direction. The resulting film House of Usher (1960), shot in early 1960, was a critical and commercial hit.
Following this, Corman bought two scripts, "Sob Sisters Don't Cry" and "Cop Killer".In March 1960 Corman announced that Filmgroup would be part of an international production group, Compass Productions. He directed a peplum in Greece, Atlas (1961) in August.
He was going to direct a thriller from a script by Robert Towne, I Flew a Spy Plane Over Russia.It was not made; neither were two comedies he was to make with Dick Miller and Jon Haze, Murder at the Convention and Pan and the Satyrs.
House of Usher had been so successful the AIP wanted a follow up, and Corman, Haller, Matheson and Price reunited on The Pit and the Pendulum (1961). It was another sizeable hit and the "Poe cycle" of films was underway.
Corman hired Charles Beaumont to write Masque of the Red Death and announced two films, Captain Nemo and the Floating Cityand House of Secrets.
Following Pit and Pendulum' Corman directed one of William Shatner's earliest appearances in a lead role with The Intruder (a.k.a. The Stranger, 1962). Based on a novel by Charles Beaumont, the film was co-produced by Gene Corman, starred William Shatner and shot in July and August 1961.It took a while for the film to be released and it lost money.
Corman was unhappy with his profit participation on the first two Poe films so made a third adaptation for different producers The Premature Burial (1962), written by Charles Beaumont and starring Ray Milland. The film was co-financed by Pathe labs; AIP put pressure on Pathe and ended up buying out their interest.
For producer Edward Small, Corman made a historical horror piece about Richard III, Tower of London (1962), starring Vincent Price. It was meant to be the first in a three-picture deal with Small but Corman did not enjoy working with the producer.
For Filmgroup he also bought the rights to a Soviet science fiction film, Nebo Zovyot (1959) and had some additional footage shot for it by his then-assistant, Francis Ford Coppola; the result was Battle Beyond the Sun (1962). He also released The Magic Voyage of Sinbad (1962), dubbed from an overseas film.
The fourth Poe was an anthology, Tales of Terror (1962), shot in late 1961. One of the installments, "The Black Cat" was a comedy, inspiring Corman to do a whole Poe story comedically next: The Raven (1963). Corman used the sets for that film for The Terror (1963), made for Filmgroup but released by AIP, and starring Boris Karloff (whose scenes were all shot in two days) and Jack Nicholson. Corman did not direct all of this film; additional scenes were shot by Monte Hellman, Coppola and Jack Hill, among others.
The Young Racers (1963) was produced and directed by Corman in Europe for AIP, starring and written by Campbell. Working on the film was Francis Ford Coppola who Corman financed to make his directorial debut, Dementia 13 (1963).
Back in the US, Corman made X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes (1963), a contemporary science fiction for AIP starring Ray Milland. He followed it with The Haunted Palace (1963), ostensibly part of the Poe cycle - it featured Price and was made for AIP, written by Beaumont - but was actually based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft.
Corman directed a war film in Yugoslavia with his brother, The Secret Invasion (1964), with Stewart Granger and Mickey Rooney,from a script by Campbell. Following this he announced he would make The Life of Robert E. Lee as part of a four-picture deal with Filmgroup worth $3.75 million. Other movies were Fun and Profit by Joel Rapp, The Wild Surfers by John Lamb and Planet of Storms by Jack Hill.None of these films were made. Nor was The Gold Bug, a Poe adaptation written by Griffith.
Corman made two Poes in England starring Price: the much-delayed The Masque of the Red Death (1964), with Campbell rewriting Beaumont's scripts; and The Tomb of Ligeia (1965), from a script by Robert Towne. Corman made no further Poes; AIP would start up a fresh Poe cycle in the late 1960s but Corman would not be part of it.
Corman got Towne to write a script called The Red Baron.He bought the rights to another Soviet science fiction film, Planeta Bur (1962), and had some additional footage added to it by Curtis Harrington. The result was Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965). Harrington used footage from Planeta Bur in another film financed by Corman, Queen of Blood (1966).
He also bought the rights to a Yugoslavian film, Operation Titan (1963), and financed additional shooting by Jack Hill and Stephanie Rothman. The result was Blood Bath (1966). He also had an investment in the beach party films, Beach Ball (1965) and It's a Bikini World (1967).
Corman said "for ten years as an independent I could get financing for $100-$200-$300,000 pictures. Everything had been interesting, artistically satisfying, economically satisfying. But I decided I was going nowhere and wanted to move directly into the business. So I accepted a contract with Columbia."
In August 1965 Corman announced he had signed a contract with United Artists to make two films over three years. He also signed with Columbia to make a Western, The Long Ride Home, based on a script by Robert Towne.
He was announced for a number of other projects at Columbia: the biopic of Robert E. Lee, an adaptation of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man , an adaptation of Kafka's The Penal Colony, and a script by novelist Richard Yates about the Battle of Iwo Jima.He intended to make The Deserters for UA, from a script by Wright, but that was not made either.
He later reflected "Every idea I submitted was considered too strange, too weird; every idea they had seemed too ordinary to me. Ordinary pictures don't make money."
After a year of not directing, Corman took a leave of absence under his contract with Columbia to make a film for AIP, the first biker movie, The Wild Angels . It starred Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra, from a script by Griffith; Peter Bogdanovich worked as Corman's assistant. The film opened the 1966 Venice Film Festival and was hugely successful at the box office, making over $6 million on a $350,000 budget and kicking off the "biker movie" cycle.
He wanted to make a film about The Red Baron but Columbia turned it down because of The Blue Max (1966). He proposed a movie about the St Valentine's Day Massacre and also an adaptation of the novel Only Lovers Left Alive.Nick Ray was meant to be making Only Lovers in Britain.
Corman did begin directing Long Ride Home with Glenn Ford at Columbia. However Corman left production a few weeks into the shoot in June 1966 and was replaced by Phil Karlson.The film was retitled A Time for Killing (1967).
Corman received an offer to direct a studio film, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967), for Twentieth Century Fox. He did not enjoy the restrictions of working for a major studio .He was given a $2.5 million budget and made it for $400,000 less.Corman, an independent director, was most comfortable in his own style: shoestring budgets, and shooting schedules measured in days, rather than weeks. Nonetheless, it is generally considered one of his best films as a director.
Corman was meant to follow this with Robert E. Lee for United Artists at a budget of $4.5 million.It was not made. Neither was a story Corman optioned, The Spy in the Vatican.
He continued to finance films for Filmgroup: Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965), dubbing an old Soviet movie Planeta Bur into English with some additional footage shot by Curtis Harrington; Queen of Blood (1966), using some Soviet footage but a mostly new film, directed by Harrington; Blood Bath (1966), an adapted Yugoslavian film with additional footage shot by Stephanie Rothman and Jack Hill; Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1967), yet another dubbed version of Planeta Bur with some additional footage shot by Corman's then-assistant Peter Bogdanovich.
He had money in Navy vs. the Night Monsters (1967). He financed two Westerns shot back to back in Utah directed by Monte Hellman and written and co-produced by Jack Nicholson, The Shooting (1967) and Ride in the Whirlwind (1967) which became cult successes.He also financed two films directed by Dan Haller, Devil's Angels (1967), a follow up to Wild Angels written by Griffith; and a car racing film shot in Europe, The Wild Racers (1968). He announced a comedy about the population explosion, There Just Isn't Any Room but it appears to have never been made.
Corman directed The Trip for AIP, written by Jack Nicholson and starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Bruce Dern. This began the psychedelic film craze of the late 1960s, and was the American entry at Cannes that year.AIP made some changes to the film in post-production which made Corman unhappy.
In September 1967 he announced plans to build a new film studio.However this did not happen for a number of years.
Corman made a film for American TV, Target: Harry (1968), shot in Europe with his brother producing. He did some uncredited directing on AIP's De Sade (1969) when director Cy Endfield fell ill. He financed Bogdanovich's first feature, Targets (1968), which incorporated footage from The Terror. He produced The Dunwich Horror (1970) for AIP, directed by Haller and co-written by Curtis Hanson and financed Haller's Paddy.
For AIP Corman returned to the director's chair for a gangster film, Bloody Mama (1970), starring Shelley Winters and a young Robert de Niro. It was a big hit at the box office. He also directed a black comedy, Gas-s-s-s (1970), written by George Armitage; it was cut without his permission by AIP, and was a financial failure.
United Artists finally agreed to finance his Red Baron project although they asked it be given emphasis on American characters. Accordingly, it was filmed as Von Richthofen and Brown (1971), shot in Ireland in July 1970. There were several plane crashes during filming and one person died.
He was going to make a film of Couples, a novel by John Updike for United Artists, and In from a script by Richard Schupebut decided to take a break from directing.
"Directing is very hard and very painful," he said in 1971. "Producing is easy. I can do it without really thinking about it."
In May 1970, Corman founded New World Pictures which became a small independently-owned production/distribution studio,and were an immediate success with Angels Die Hard (1970), a biker film, and The Student Nurses (1971), directed by Rothman. The Big Doll House (1971), directed by Jack Hill in the Philippines, was a big hit, making a star of Pam Grier. The company made a profit of $3.2 million in its first financial year and Corman says all eleven out of his first eleven films were successful.
Angels Die Hard led to a series of biker films, including Angels Hard as They Come (1971), produced by Jonathan Demme with Jack Fisk working as art director. Bury Me an Angel (1971) was the first biker movie directed by a woman, Barbara Peeters. Corman financed the directorial debuts of Curtis Hanson, Sweet Kill (1971), produced by Corman protege Tamara Asseyev.
Student Nurses led to a "cycle" of nurse pictures, including Private Duty Nurses (the first film directed by George Armitage), Night Call Nurses (1972) (the first feature directed by Jonathan Kaplan), The Young Nurses and Candy Stripe Nurses (1975). There was also The Student Teachers (1973) and Summer School Teachers (1974).
Big Doll House was followed by a series of women in prison pictures, such as Women in Cages (1972), The Hot Box (1972), Black Mama, White Mama (1973), The Arena (1974) (the first film directed by Steve Carver) and Caged Heat (1974) (the first film directed by Demme).
Of New World's second year, Corman says 11 of the 12 releases were successful.
Corman produced one more film at AIP, Boxcar Bertha (1972), the second feature directed by Martin Scorsese, starring David Carradine. He also executive produced Unholy Rollers (1972) for AIP.
A proposed political satire, The Wild Political Prank, was not made.
He made I Escaped from Devil's Island (1973) with his brother and produced Cockfighter (1974) with Monte Hellman, which was a rare financial failure for New World.
A big hit was Big Bad Mama (1974), a gangster film directed by Carver and starring Angie Dickinson. It led to a follow up, Crazy Mama (1975), produced by his wife, directed by Demm.
In 1975 Corman said New World was "the most successful independent film company in the country... if you count AIP as a major". He said they were "the best of the cheap acts."
New World were the US distributor for Cries and Whispers (1972), directed by Ingmar Bergman. Corman bought it for $75,000 and it earned over $2 million at the US box office.and Corman's distribution side of New World brought many foreign films to mass audiences in the US for the first time, including the works of François Truffaut ( The Story of Adele H. , Small Change ), Peter Weir ( The Cars That Ate Paris ), Federico Fellini ( Amarcord ), Joseph Losey ( The Romantic Englishwoman ), Volker Schlöndorff ( The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum , The Tin Drum ) and Akira Kurosawa. New World also released Fantastic Planet (1974).
In a ten-year period, New World Pictures won more Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film than all other studios combined.
He had a four-picture deal with 20th Century Fox, making Capone (1975), Fighting Mad (1976) (directed by Demme), Moving Violation (1976) and Thunder and Lightning (1977).
Death Race 2000 (1975), written by Charles Griffith and directed by Paul Bartel, was a big hit, earning $4 million.It helped inspire a series of car chase movies: Cannonball (1976), directed by Bartel; Eat My Dust! (1976), directed by Griffith starring Ron Howard - which led to a follow up, Grand Theft Auto (1978), Howard's directorial debut. There was also The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (1976), Deathsport (1978) and Smokey Bites the Dust (1981).
New World's trailers were cut by Joe Dante and Alan Arkush. Corman gave them the chance to direct together, with Hollywood Boulevard (1976), which used out-takes from other New World films. It was successful enough for Corman to give both men jobs directing features on their own: Dante with Piranha (1978) and Arkush with Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979).
Piranha was written by John Sayles who had been discovered by Corman's story editor, Frances Doel. Sayles later wrote Lady in Red (1979) for Corman, which was directed by Lewis Teague.
Other popular films around this time included Tidal Wave (1975), a Japanese film to which Corman added some extra footage, and Jackson County Jail (1976). He also financed I Never Promised You a Rose Garden .Less popular was Avalanche (1979), a disaster film directed by Corey Allen.
For Universal he made Fast Charlie... the Moonbeam Rider (1979), directed by Carver. He financed Bogdanovich's Saint Jack (1979).
Corman was criticised when he insisted on the addition of footage featuring a rape for Humanoids Beyond the Deep (1980).
The success of Star Wars inspired New World's most expensive film yet, Battle Beyond the Stars (1981).This film required extensive special effects, prompting Corman to buy a movie studio in Main Street Venice for $1.5 million. Corman made a TV film for CBS, The Georgia Peaches (1980).
Battle Beyond the Stars was so successful Corman had its footage and music score reused in other films such as Galaxy of Terror (1981) and Forbidden World (1982).
He picked up a film called The Personals (1983) which enjoyed success.
Corman sold New World Pictures in January 1983 to a consortium of three lawyers for $16.9 million.
Under the terms of the contract, he agreed to stay on as consultant for two years and to provide New World with at least five films they could release. New World agreed to distribute all of Corman's films until March 1984. He set up a new production company, Millennium - the title of which was taken from the name of a 1981 retrospective of Corman's work at the National Film Theatre of London. He announced plans to make films budgeted between $2–5 million using cash from his sale of New World to finance personally. He announced an intention to make less commercial films, movies more like I Never Promised You a Rose Garden and Cries and Whispers.
Millennium's films included Space Raiders (1983), a science fiction epic using footage and music from Battle Beyond the Stars; Love Letters (1984), a serious drama from Amy Holden Jones; Screwballs (1984), a sex comedy in the vein of Porky's ; Suburbia (1984), directed by Penelope Spheeris, which he acquired, Deathstalker ; and Kain of Dark Planet (which became The Warrior and the Sorceress ).
Corman says people struggled with the name "Millennium" - "nobody could spell it, nobody knew what it meant" - so he changed it to New Horizons by early 1984.
Corman and the new owners of New World ended up suing each other in March 1985. Corman claimed that New World failed to honor their guarantee to distribute his movies at a fee of 15%. He sought $400 million in damages and the return of the company. said they refused to distribute School Spirit (1985) and Wheels of Fire . He also claimed that New World cheated him distributing Space Raiders, Screwballs and Slumber Party Massacre . New World sued Corman in return, claiming he was seeking to return to distribution, and was discrediting New World to potential investors. They said Corman bypassed New World for some of his films, such as Columbia's Hardbodies (1984). Corman argued "My whole point in selling was to free myself of the burden of running the company and to get guaranteed distribution. If I can't get my guaranteed distribution, I'm forced to go back to running the company."
The case with New World settled out of court. In March 1985 Corman announced he would establish a new distribution "cooperative", Concorde Pictures, where producers could get relatively cheap distribution from Concorde in exchange for contributing to the company's overhead. Their first releases were Corman productions School Spirit, Wheels of Fire and Barbarian Queen .Concorde later merged with a low budget production company, Cinema Group, and announced plans to make 15-20 films a year.
Early Concorde releases include Loose Screws (1985), a sequel to Screwballs; Streetwalkin' (1985), a more serious drama directed by Joan Freeman; Cocaine Wars (1986), the first in a series of movies Corman would finance in South America; Hour of the Assassin (1987), shot in Peru and the first film directed by Luis Llosa; and Munchies (1987), a spoof of Gremlins directed by Tina Hirsch.
Corman also remade Not of this Earth (1988) and released Big Bad Mama II (1987); both were directed by Jim Wynorski. He produced another version of Masque of the Red Death (1989, directed by Larry Brand).
He produced Sweet Revenge (1987), Slumber Party Massacre II (1988, dir Deborah Brock), Andy Colby's Incredible Adventure (1988, dir Brock) and The Terror Within (1989, dir Thierry Notz).
Corman financed the early directorial efforts of Carl Franklin ( Nowhere to Run (1989)), Vargas Llosa and Katt Shea ( Stripped to Kill (1988), Stripped to Kill II (1989)). More experimental was Nightfall (1988).
After Hour of the Assassin he made a series of films in Peru, including Crime Zone (1989, dir Luis Llosa), Full Fathom Five (1990, dir Carl Franklin).
Concorde had a big hit with Bloodfist (1989), starring Don "the Dragon" Wilson which cost $1 million and earned over $6 million. Concorde signed Wilson to a long term contract and he made a number of sequels for the company, including Bloodfist II and Fighting to Win .
He returned to directing once more with Frankenstein Unbound (1990).
In 1990 Concorde sued MGM for $6 million.
Concorde's films included Overexposed (1990), The Unborn (1991), and In the Heat of Passion (1992). They had a big hit with Carnosaur (1993), which led to several sequels. He financed Fire on the Amazon (1991, directed Luis Llosa) which had Sandra Bullock and Craig Sheffer in early roles.
Corman had to deal with the decline of the drive-in market and studio competition through the 1990s but Concorde-New Horizons still made 15-24 pictures a year.This included a never-released version of The Fantastic Four .
In 1995 Corman was executive producer on Roger Corman Presents , a special series of 13 movies for Showtime with budgets of around $1.5 million each. "I think the Corman name means action, humor and some titillation," says Mike Elliott, the producer of the series. "It's going to deliver the goods - and it will have a little moral statement in there as well."Corman ended up doing a second season of eleven movies. The films were Bram Stoker's Burial of the Rats , Hellfire , Virtual Seduction , Suspect Device , Unknown Origin , Terminal Virus , Where Evil Lies , Vampirella , Shadow of a Scream , Subliminal Seduction , House of the Damned (aka Spectre), The Haunted Sea , Alien Avengers (aka Aliens Among Us)and its sequel, Inhumanoid , Sawbones , Not Like Us , and Last Exit to Earth . He created his own comic book franchise, Black Scorpion which led to a sequel and later a TV series. Corman also executive produced remakes of The Wasp Woman , Humanoids from the Deep , A Bucket of Blood (aka The Death Artist), Piranha and Not of this Earth .
Concorde set up operations in Ireland as Concorde Anois, building studios in Connemara, County Galway.He received some support from the Irish government, a decision which became controversial when the content of some Corman productions such as Criminal Affairs was criticised in the press.
Later Concorde-New Horizons films included Overdrive (1997). "The genres still hold," said Corman in 1997, "action adventure, the suspense thriller, science fiction and horror. The difference is that they are bigger and better now. "
He continued to produce creature films, such as Raptor (2001, dir Jim Wynorski). Dinocroc (2004), which aired on the Syfy cable television channelwas popular enough for two sequels, Supergator and Dinocroc vs. Supergator (2010), as well as a spin-off film, Dinoshark (2010). Supergator (2007) was turned down by the Syfy channel but Corman made it anyway.
Corman also continued to make action films: Escape from Afghanistan (2001) was a Russian film, Peshavar Waltz plus some additional footage; The Hunt for Eagle One (2006) and The Hunt for Eagle One: Crash Point (2006) were shot in the Philippines; Roger Corman's Operation Rogue (2014); Fist of the Dragon (2015).
In 2006 Corman said he made 60% of his films overseas. "These foreign countries are offering subsidies that are so great that not only I but many independent producers are moving overseas," he said.
He sold the remake rights of Death Race 2000 to Universal who made Death Race (2008) with Jason Statham, with Corman credited as executive producer. It led to two direct-to-video prequels.
In 2009, Corman produced and directed alongside director Joe Dante the web series "Splatter" for Netflix.The protagonist of the film is portrayed by Corey Feldman, and the story talks of the haunting tale of rock-and-roll legend Johnny Splatter. He also started contributing trailer commentaries to Dante's web series Trailers from Hell .
By now the SyFy channel was Corman's leading market. For them he made Sharktopus (2010) and Piranhaconda (2012).
Virtually Heroes (2013) was Corman's first film to play at the Sundance Film Festival.
Corman produced the 2017 film Death Race 2050 , a sequel to the 1975 film Death Race 2000 . It was made with Universal, Corman's first film with a major studio in a long time.
Corman married Julie Halloran on December 26, 1970.They have four children.
His autobiography, titled How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime ( ISBN 0-306-80874-9), documents his experiences in the film industry.
In 1964, Corman was the youngest producer/director to be given a retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française, as well as retrospectives at the British Film Institute and the Museum of Modern Art.
Corman won the Lifetime Achievement Award at Stockholm International Film Festival in 1990.
Corman was the subject of the 1978 documentary Roger Corman: Hollywood's Wild Angel, produced and directed by Christian Blackwood. Portions of the film reappeared in 2011's Corman's World.
In 1998, he won the first Producer's Award ever given by the Cannes Film Festival.
In 2006, Corman received the David O. Selznick Award from the Producers Guild of America. Also in 2006, his film Fall of the House of Usher was among the twenty-five movies selected for the National Film Registry, a compilation of significant films being preserved by the Library of Congress.
In 2010, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Corman with an Academy Honorary Award at the inaugural Governors Awards,on November 14, 2009.
In 2010, writer and actor Mark Gatiss interviewed Corman for his BBC documentary series A History of Horror , of which the second half of the second episode focuses on Corman.
In 2010, Corman was inducted into the Beverly Hills High School Hall of Fame.
In 2012, Corman was honored with the Filmmaker on the Edge Award at the Provincetown International Film Festival.
A number of noted filmmakers (including directors, producers, writers, and cinematographers) have worked with Corman, usually early in their careers, including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Armondo Linus Acosta, Paul Bartel, Jonathan Demme, Donald G. Jackson, Gale Anne Hurd, Carl Colpaert, Joe Dante, James Cameron, John Sayles, Monte Hellman, Carl Franklin,George Armitage, Jonathan Kaplan, George Hickenlooper, Curtis Hanson, Jack Hill, Robert Towne, Menahem Golan, James Horner, and Timur Bekmambetov. Many have said that Corman's influence taught them some of the ins and outs of filmmaking. In the extras for the DVD of The Terminator , director James Cameron asserts, "I trained at the Roger Corman Film School." The British director Nicolas Roeg served as the cinematographer on The Masque of the Red Death . Cameron, Coppola, Demme, Hanson, Howard and Scorsese have all gone on to win Academy Awards. Howard was reportedly told by Corman, "If you do a good job on this film, you'll never have to work for me again."
Actors who obtained their career breaks working for Corman include Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Charles Bronson, Todd FieldMichael McDonald, Dennis Hopper, Talia Shire, Sandra Bullock, Robert De Niro, and David Carradine, who received one of his first starring film roles in the Corman-produced Boxcar Bertha (1972) and went on to star in Death Race 2000 (along with Sylvester Stallone).
Many of Corman's protegés have paid their mentor homage by awarding him cameos in films, such as in The Godfather Part II ,The Silence of the Lambs , Apollo 13 , and as recently as Demme's 2008 film Rachel Getting Married .
|Name||First Corman film||Year||Credited as|
|George Armitage||Gas-s-s-s||1970||writer, associate producer, cast member|
|Paul Bartel||Death Race 2000||1975||director|
|Timur Bekmambetov||The Arena||2001|
|Peter Bogdanovich||Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women||1968||director, cast member|
|James Cameron||Battle Beyond the Stars||1980||art direction, visual effects|
|Francis Ford Coppola||Battle Beyond the Sun||1962||director (scenes in American version)|
|Joe Dante||Hollywood Boulevard||1976||co-director, editor|
|Jonathan Demme||Angels Hard as They Come||1971||writer, producer|
|Todd Field||Eye of the Eagle 2: Inside the Enemy||1989||actor|
|Carl Franklin||1989||actor, writer, director|
|Mark Goldblatt||Eat My Dust!||1976||production assistant, associate editor|
|Curtis Hanson||The Dunwich Horror||1970||co-writer|
|Monte Hellman||Beast from Haunted Cave||1959||director|
|Jack Hill||The Terror||1963||writer|
|James Horner||The Lady in Red||1979||composer|
|Ron Howard||Grand Theft Auto||1977||director, co-writer|
|Gale Anne Hurd||Humanoids from the Deep||1980||production assistant|
|Janusz Kamiński||Saturday the 14th Strikes Back||1988||gaffer, chief lighting technician, cinematographer|
|Jonathan Kaplan||Night Call Nurses||1972||director, editor|
|Phedon Papamichael||Dance of the Damned||1988||cinematographer|
|Nicolas Roeg||The Masque of the Red Death||1964|
|Martin Scorsese||Boxcar Bertha||1972||director|
|Katt Shea||Stripped to Kill||1987||writer, director, cast member|
|Robert Towne||Last Woman on Earth||1960||writer, cast member|
The IMDB credits Corman with 55 directed films and some 385 produced films from 1954 through 2008, many as un-credited producer or executive producer (consistent with his role as head of his own New World Pictures from 1970 through 1983). Corman also has significant credits as writer and actor.
In 2010, Roger Corman teamed up New Horizons Pictures with Shout! Factory to release new DVD and Blu-ray editions of Corman productions under the name Roger Corman's Cult Classics.The releases have concentrated on 1970–1980s films he produced through New World rather than directed. These titles include Rock 'n' Roll High School , Death Race 2000 , Galaxy of Terror , Forbidden World and Piranha , with additional titles continuing to be released.
On April 3, 2018, a lawsuit by Corman's sons, Roger Martin Corman and Brian Corman, was filed against Corman to prevent the trade of his film collection. The sons stated that the film collection is an asset of The Pacific Trust which was created by their parents for them.
American International Pictures (AIP) was an independent film production and distribution company formed on April 2, 1954 as American Releasing Corporation (ARC) by James H. Nicholson, former Sales Manager of Realart Pictures, and Samuel Z. Arkoff, an entertainment lawyer. It was dedicated to releasing low-budget films packaged as double features, primarily of interest to the teenagers of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Nicholson and Arkoff formed ARC in 1954; their first release was The Fast and the Furious in 1955.
Charles Vidor was a Hungarian film director. Among his film successes are The Bridge (1929), Cover Girl (1944), A Song to Remember (1945), Gilda (1946), The Loves of Carmen (1948), Love Me or Leave Me (1955), The Swan (1956), The Joker Is Wild (1957), and A Farewell to Arms (1957).
Dana James Hutton was an American actor in film and television best remembered for his role as Ellery Queen in the 1970s TV series of the same name and his screen partnership with Paula Prentiss in four films, starting with Where the Boys Are. He is the father of actor Timothy Hutton.
The Terror is a 1963 Independent American Vistascope horror film produced and directed by Roger Corman. The plot concerns a French officer who finds an intriguing woman who is believed to be the ghost of a baron's long departed wife. It was filmed on sets left over from other AIP productions, including The Haunted Palace. The film was also released as Lady of the Shadows, The Castle of Terror, and The Haunting; it was later featured as an episode of Cinema Insomnia and Elvira's Movie Macabre.
Sorority Girl is a 1957 film noir exploitation film directed by Roger Corman. It stars Susan Cabot as Sabra, a sociopath who plays a very disruptive role in a sorority, with Barboura Morris as Rita, and Dick Miller and June Kenney. It was released by American International Pictures as a double feature with Motorcycle Gang.
Lewis Teague is an American film director, whose work includes Alligator, Cat's Eye, Cujo, The Jewel of the Nile, The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!, Navy SEALs and Wedlock.
Henry Levin began as a stage actor and director but was most notable as an American film director of over fifty feature films. His best known credits were Jolson Sings Again (1949), Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1959) and Where the Boys Are (1960).
Charles Byron Griffith was a Chicago-born screenwriter, actor and film director, son of Donna Dameral, radio star of Myrt and Marge, along with Charles' grandmother, Myrtle Vail, and was best known for writing Roger Corman productions such as A Bucket of Blood (1959), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), and Death Race 2000 (1975).
The Intruder is a 1962 American film, directed by Roger Corman and starring William Shatner. It is adapted from a 1959 novel by Charles Beaumont. The story depicts the machinations of a racist named Adam Cramer, who arrives in the fictitious small Southern town of Caxton in order to incite white townspeople to racial violence against black townspeople and court-ordered school integration.
Charles H. Schneer was a film producer most widely known for working with Ray Harryhausen, known for his work in stop motion model animation.
Magic Fire is a 1955 American biographical film about the life of composer Richard Wagner, released by Republic Pictures.
Seton Ingersoll Miller was an American screenwriter and producer. During his career, he worked with many notable film directors such as Howard Hawks and Michael Curtiz. Miller received two Oscar nominations and won once for Best Screenplay for fantasy romantic comedy film Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) along with Sidney Buchman.
Alex Gordon was a British film producer and screenwriter.
Apache Woman is a 1955 Western directed by Roger Corman. It was one of two Westerns he made for American International Pictures, the other being The Oklahoma Woman (1955).
Suicide Battalion is a 1958 World War II film directed by Edward L. Cahn and starring Mike Connors and John Ashley, who made the film while on leave from the US Army. In 1968, it was remade for television by Larry Buchanan as Hell Raiders, which was the film's original working title.
The Wild Racers is a 1968 American film directed by Daniel Haller and starring Fabian, Mimsy Farmer, and Judy Cornwell. The screenplay concerns a Grand Prix racing car driver.
Lou Rusoff was a Canadian-born screenwriter and producer best known for his work with American International Pictures.
The Filmgroup was a production and distribution company founded by filmmakers Roger Corman and Gene Corman in 1959. Corman used it to make and distribute his own movies, as opposed to ones he was making for American International Pictures. The company ultimately folded, however, lessons from running the company helped Corman make a success later of New World Pictures. Filmgroup also produced early feature work of Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, Charles B. Griffith, Curtis Harrington, Jack Hill, Monte Hellman, Robert Towne and Jack Nicholson.
Dragstrip Girl is a 1957 film starring John Ashley in his first lead role. American International Pictures released the film as a double feature with Rock All Night and it proved an early success for the studio.
Concorde Anois was a short lived film production company based in Ireland that operated in the late 1990s. It was an off shot of Roger Corman's Concorde Pictures.
Among the Corman associates and protegees interviewed are David Carradine, Peter Fonda, Ron Howard, Paul Bartel, Martin Scorcese, Joe Dante and Peter Bogdanovich.
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