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Roger Corman


Constantine Nasr

Publication Year: 2011

Roger Corman (b. 1926) is known by many names-craftsman, artist, maverick, schlock-meister, mini-mogul, mentor, cheapskate, and King of the B's. Yet his commitment to filmmaking remains inspired. He learned his craft at the end of the studio system, only to rebel against Hollywood and define himself as the true independent. And the list of directors and producers who learned under his tutelage--Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Jonathan Demme, and many more--is astonishing.

Collected here are many of the most honest and revealing interviews of his epic career, several of which have never been seen in print. Roger Corman: Interviews brings into focus a life committed to the entertaining art of motion pictures.

Corman's rare talent combined artistic drive with business savvy, ensuring a successful career that was constantly in motion. At a remarkable pace more akin to silent movies than modern Hollywood, he directed over fifty films in less than fifteen years, some entertaining (Not of This Earth), trendsetting (The Wild Angels), daring (The Intruder), workmanlike (Apache Woman), stylized (The Masque of the Red Death) and even profound (X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes). In a single year, Corman famously shot a cult classic in two and a half days (The Little Shop of Horrors), reinvigorated the American horror film with a dash of Poe and Price (House of Usher)--and still turned out a few more films shot across the globe. Recently awarded an honorary Oscar for his lifetime contribution to cinema, the self-made Corman has created a legacy as a defining filmmaker.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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p. c-c

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xvi

Roger Corman once hired a first-time director and gave him this advice: “What you have to get is a very good first reel, because people want to know what’s going on. Then you need to have a very good last reel because people want to hear how it all turns out. Everything else doesn’t matter.” Many years later, Martin Scorsese admitted that the guidance...


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pp. xvii-xxii


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pp. xxiii-2

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Science-Fiction in Danger

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pp. 3-4

Science-fiction, which has become as staple a production category as westerns, is in danger.
The danger is not from outer space but inner man. The hazard was created by the very success of science-fiction, which predisposes to routine instead of imaginative plotting. That’s a broad accusation to level...

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Corman Speaks

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pp. 5-22

Q: At the beginning of your career, did you have any connection to the movies?
A: No, just with thermodynamics and electronics, a whole world I no longer have anything to do with now....

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Roger Corman: A Double Life

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pp. 23-31

At forty-three, Roger Corman is getting used to living a double life. In the United States he has earned a vivid renown as “King of the Grade B’s” from a series of inexpensive horror and sci-fi films. Abroad, however, he has been praised for cinematic brilliance and is the youngest director to have a retrospective showing at the French Film Institute....

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Roger Corman

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pp. 32-43

Joseph Gelmis: How many films have you directed?
Roger Corman: I don’t know exactly. I’ve directed somewhere between fifty-five and sixty. And I’ve produced somewhere between 100 and 110, including some of the ones I’ve directed....

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The American Film Institute Seminar with Roger Corman

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pp. 44-61

Q: Do you presently use IA crews?
A: It divides up in various ways. In the films that I’ve personally directed, I’ve always used an IA crew until the very last picture I did in which I used a Nabet crew. On the films I’ve financed because I backed some low-budget films, we will sometimes go IA, sometimes Nabet—most generally,...

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The Making of The Wild Angels: An Interview with Roger Corman

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pp. 62-71

In the following interview, producer/director-now-distributor Roger Corman talks about the making and broader social significance of The Wild Angels (American International, 1966). The preface to the film reads, “The picture you are about to see will shock you and perhaps anger you. Although the events and characters are fictitious, the story is a reflection...

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Roger Corman Interview

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pp. 72-82

Roger Corman, businesslike as always, suggested we interview him at his New World Pictures office. The office itself, decorated with posters for Rohmer’s L’Amour, l’aprês-midi (1972) and the British Film Institute’s Corman retrospective, is on the top floor of a Sunset Strip building. One reaches New World by ascending in a glass-enclosed elevator....

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Meeting with Roger Corman

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pp. 83-89

Roger Corman is rather spare with his interviews. So Séquences seized the opportunity of his arrival in Montreal to preside over the 1973 Canadian Film Awards to ask a few questions of one of the masters of fantasy cinema....

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Working with Young Directors

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pp. 90-93

The position of the majority of young film school graduates looking for the opportunity to direct their first feature film is one with which I fully sympathize. I remember what it was like when I was first starting out, trying to gain a foothold in the motion picture industry and quickly discovering that there simply was no way to start from the bottom and...

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Roger Corman Interview

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pp. 94-102

Today Roger Corman, in the producer’s role, is one of the most respected men in Hollywood. Through the success of his own company, New World Pictures, he has proven to the film community that a small, independent company can wield a good deal of power in the movie marketplace....

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Filmmaking in Hollywood: The Changing Scene

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pp. 103-111

My subject today includes spotting new talent for the motion picture industry, which, to a certain extent, is a matter of being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and, on top of that, hopefully exercising some judgment....

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Motion Picture Production Considerations in the 1980s

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pp. 112-116

For me, production starts right at the beginning. It is part of the creative process. For any method of motion picture production to be efficient, the aspects of the physical producing must be integrally tied into the financing, the screenwriting, the casting, and all of the other aspects of the making of the film....

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Roger Corman: Better to Be on the Set than in the Office

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pp. 117-129

David Del Valle: What was the concept of the Poe series? Did you initially just plan to make one film with The House of Usher, or did you see it as a series at the time?
Roger Corman: My original thought was simply to make The Fall of the House of Usher. I had been a great admirer of Poe since I’d been in school,...

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Cautionary Fables: An Interview with Roger Corman

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pp. 130-135

Ed Naha: You first dabbled in futuristic fiction in the mid-fifties, beginning with your fourth film as director, The Day the World Ended (1955). This was a cautionary film about the aftermath of nuclear war. Were you first attracted to the science fiction genre because you felt it would allow you the opportunity to say something meaningful to movie audiences?...

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The Orson Welles of the Z Picture: An Interview with Roger Corman

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pp. 136-147

On 21 April 1986, I invited producer-director Roger Corman to the University of Nebraska for a detailed public question-and-answer session as part of a week-long retrospective on Corman’s career as a filmmaker. Our interview actually began in the cellar of the theater where we were screening Cries and Whispers; a tornado siren sent the entire audience...

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An Interview with Roger Corman

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pp. 148-158

Q: When you worked with American International Pictures, the company established a style of films intended for teenagers. How responsible were you for this concept?
A: It was the joint decision of James Nicholson, Samuel Z. Arkoff, and myself. AIP was a small company at the time that started up without a...

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Roger Corman: A Mini-Mogul Directs Again

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pp. 159-168

Like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster, Roger Corman’s directorial career wore a death mask for the last two decades. But beneath the surface appearance, it was very much alive and spiritually kindred to the work that haunted those dark, echoing memory chambers of the 1960s, and later, to the films it had inspired—and, in a real sense, created—by...

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California Gothic: The Corman/Haller Collaboration

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pp. 169-200

The following interview with Roger Corman, Daniel Haller, and Joe Dante began as an afterthought while I was doing research for the book Visions of Deaths (Gauntlet Press), which contains Richard Matheson’s complete shooting scripts for both House of Usher and The Pit and the Pendulum, along with my articles detailing the making of both films. Since...

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Corman: Godfather of the A’s

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pp. 201-218

In November 2008, I visited the Brentwood offices of Concorde-New Horizon Pictures, the longtime production hub of Roger Corman. Nearly fifteen years had passed since I’d walked its halls and worked its floors as a development intern. The bustling nature of the office that I remembered was replaced by an unnatural silence of an enterprise in transition....

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Academy Award Acceptance Speech

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pp. 219-220

Needless to say I’m delighted to accept this Oscar personally, but I’d also like to accept it on behalf of my wife Julie, who’s been my producing partner for many years, and also on behalf of those who’ve worked in the field in which I’ve spent most of my career, the independent filmmakers....

Key Resources

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pp. 221-222


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pp. 223-228

E-ISBN-13: 9781617031670
E-ISBN-10: 1617031674
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617031663
Print-ISBN-10: 1617031666

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Corman, Roger, 1926- -- Interviews.
  • Motion picture producers and directors -- United States -- Interviews.
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