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Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • Subtitles: English Subtitles for Deaf & Hearing Impaired, Spanish Subtitles
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 89 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio:  Anchor Bay Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 27, 2012
  • List Price: $29.99

[amazon-product]B006QS9OES[/amazon-product]

Purchase Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel tells the story of Roger Corman and how he helped to bring the B-movie concept to a level of art while still maintaining the shlock and sleaze any fan has come to expect. Corman is also noteworthy for launching the careers of many of Hollywood’s top directors such as James Cameron and Joe Dante, among others. Having first worked in the 1950s, Corman formed his own independent company after he had submitted changes for Hollywood scripts and didn’t get any credit. The Gun Fighter with Gregory Peck was a famous example where his changes were used in the movie and he didn’t receive any acknowledgement in the credits.

After this, he made a single movie at a time and then he was able to negotiate a financing deal where he could make several pictures at a time as long as they eventually turned a profit. In Hollywood, it used to be investors and other production companies would rarely green-light future pictures until they earned back a profit on their investment. This understandable measure was challenged by independents as a way to break away from Hollywood’s direct reins.

He went on to make more movies like The Terror from 1963 in which Jack Nicholson is quoted as saying: I defy anybody to tell me what the plot of that film is because there is none. Sounds like a fun challenge to me!

Corman also gave a young Jack Nicholson his first role and even though Nicholson viewed the role more as a learning experience, it was instrumental in establishing a new depiction of teenagers on screen. Previously they would have a kind of happy-go-lucky kid like Leave it to Beaver. With Corman’s direction, it was realized that people wanted to see teenagers being rebellious and especially getting in trouble with the authorities, which eventually led to James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause.

Another interesting part is how he maintained his B-movie schlockmeister status while still distributing the foreign films of Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini, so it was a real dual nature type of role in Hollywood.  People were surprised, as it showed that he wasn’t just about making exploitation and profitable pictures. When you see a picture of him with a bunch of associates and you can see a young Steven Spielberg in the corner and then the Jaws music comes in you’re like “oh really? He deserves even more credit now!” as the idea was very Cormanesque when you think about it.

Unfortunately the success of Jaws in Roger Corman’s eyes led to the so-called tent pole pictures and the summer blockbusters and even though it was a great concept, what ended up happening was that the studios now realized what Corman had done many years ago was the way to revolutionize movies, but also add a typically huge budget.

Corman is noted as saying that spending that much money on a movie is obscene when you can easily use 35 or $40 million to rebuild the slums in any number of cities. It’s an interesting point to think of that especially in the context of today when Michael Bay makes the original Transformers for a fraction of what movies like Spiderman 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 cost to make and he’s criticized for his much more efficient spending and I think it ended up being a much more impressive picture as a result, at least visually speaking.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The 1:78:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is fairly solid throughout. The film is bright and colorful, as is typical of the format. Being a documentary, there really aren’t any striking visuals, but it is a treat to see the juxtaposition of B movie special effects preserved in high definition. Mixing in old and new footage, it quickly becomes obvious that the newer footage certainly looks more impressive. Detail is fine with accurate contrast levels during these moments. The cue to the older footage do have their share of print damage, blips and other anomalies;however, the flashback to these scenes kind of had a sort of style them. They show just how far film has come in a rather short amount of time. With that said, this transfer is generally fine.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

The film’s provided Dolby TrueHD 5.1 is a serviceable mix. With this being a documentary, the sound field only has so much room to expand outside of the dialogue, which is reproduced well. Akin to the mixing of video qualities, the present day footage offers up the best aural experience. Nothing earth shattering, but more something that is just simple and something that effectively gets the job done. The older footage, as one might expect, does limit the sound quite a bit with occasional hisses. Outside of these sequences, this mix is just fine for the material at hand.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

The included supplements are presented in HD.

  • Extended Interviews – Here we get 13:10 of interviews with varying actors/producers including Martin Scorsese.
  • Special Messages to Roger – Roughly 15:15 of personal messages supplied by a host of different talent.
  • Trailer – The film’s trailer (2:06) is shown.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

If anyone calls themselves a fan of film, do yourself the favor and check out Corman’s World, a look into the intricacies of Hollywood. Anchor Bay has brought the film to Blu-ray with fairly solid results. Recommended for the sole purpose of learning about the beginnings of film.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B006QS9OES[/amazon-product]

Purchase Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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