Roger Corman being honored by Eastman House
05:35 AM, Oct 27, 2013
When an Oscar-winning actor as great as Jack Nicholson weeps openly when he’s asked about Roger Corman for a documentary film, you know there’s something special going on.
Indeed, Nicholson believes that the veteran B-movie producer is responsible for his career, since Nicholson began work and learned his trade in Corman films.
Ron Howard feels the same, and so do Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Francis Ford Coppola and a slew of other big-time Oscar-winners. They all were educated in the Roger Corman school of quick, efficient and economically successful filmmaking. Never mind that many of the films were about motorcycle races and horror monsters and bodacious babes and teenage cavemen and man-eating plants. Corman still gave Nicholson and company a start and taught them much that could be applied to far more aesthetic works.
Corman’s filmmaking is just one reason that he is being honored at the George Eastman House on Saturday with the Eastman Award. He also could be honored for serving as distributor of great foreign films by Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini and Akira Kurosawa in the United States. Thanks to Corman, I’ve seen my favorite Bergman film, Cries and Whispers, released by his New World Pictures, along with Corman’s more standard drive-in B-movie fare.
But Corman’s movies also were flamboyantly entertaining from his much-admired series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations with Vincent Price to the biker flicks that influenced the birth of Easy Rider.
Corman has already received an honorary Oscar; the Eastman Award is a cherry on top. The ceremony is part of an evening of various fundraising activities.
The Dryden Theatre has been showcasing a variety of Corman films leading up to the honor. The last two are House of Usher on Thursday, which is Halloween, and The Intruder on Friday.
In addition, the filmmaker who titled his autobiography, How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime (Da Capo Press, $17) is the subject of a fabulous new coffee-table book from prestigious Abrams publishers. It’s titled Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses Roger Corman: King of the B Movie (Harry N. Abrams, $25.44).Scattered throughout its lavishly colored 250 pages are hundreds of posters, lobby cards and photos from his wild and crazy career. The text is insightful and also helps explain the importance of this director and producer.
This Eastman Award is offbeat but very deserved. I’m looking forward to a night to honor an important figure in the development of the modern cinema. For more information, go to eastmanhouse.org.
FRANK AND THE MRS. Two of the greatest films from the golden age of 1930s horror at Universal Pictures Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein are being shown as a robust double feature at The Cinema at 8 p.m. Halloween eve, which is Wednesday.
The screenings mark Sin-O-Matic Night II, once again presented by writer, photographer, novelist and all-round funky character Frank De Blase.
The first Frankenstein made a star (albeit a pigeon-holed star) out of Boris Karloff, while The Bride of Frankenstein is one of those rare sequels that equals or surpasses the original.
When Mel Brooks made his legendary parody Young Frankenstein, he got the rights to use the original laboratory equipment you’ll see in Bride.