Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


HOW I MADE A HUNDRED MOVIES IN HOLLLYWOOD AND NEVER LOST A DIME. Roger Corman with Jim Jerome. Random House; 1990.

In this very entertaining memoir, producer-director Roger Corman talks about getting his start as an independent filmmaker, his problems with the major studios, his philosophy in regards to making movies, and how he sees himself as an "auteur." Corman comes off as a savvy businessman who knew how to stretch a dollar, and balanced what might be called his exploitation of actors and others with the simple fact that he gave many of them, including superstar Jack Nicholson, their first start in the industry. Corman isn't modest about his achievements and shouldn't be, as he proved an adept director with such minor gems as Attack of the Crab Monsters and Not of This Earth, as well as bigger-budgeted movies such as Masque of the Red Death. The book is bolstered with frank, mostly admiring [but not always] comments from actors and others whom he worked with, including Nicholson, Shelley Winters, Beverly Garland etc. Corman now mostly produces schlocky monster movies for the Syfy Channel, few of which can compare to the best of his own output. His last directorial credit was Frankenstein Unbound in 1990.

Verdict: Good read especially interesting for those interested in low-budget independent production -- although things have changed since publication. ***.

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