Roger Corman: The Pope of Pop Cinema is a by the numbers look at one of the most influential names in Hollywood. Though many know him for his low budget exploitation movies, Corman is also responsible for giving many names their start in the business. Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola, and Ron Howard are just a some of the well-known directors that began with Corman. Actors such as Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson also got their start with him.
Due to Corman’s wide ranging influence on Hollywood, the film is able to get interviews with some famous names. Bogdanovich and Howard offer their insights on the man. While the comments about Corman tend to be glowing – there is an obvious respect for the man – his movies are not held in the same light. This brings a genuine feeling to the The Pope of Pop Cinema since it is clear this is not going to just talk up Corman.
There is one big oversight in the film. There are many posters for Corman flicks featured. While the documentary often points out Corman worked in science fiction and horror to attract a younger demographic, it glosses over what each of the posters make abundantly clear. Another part of the Roger Corman formula was the objectification of women. Oddly, while the posters are shown, but never talked about.
When The Pope of Pop Cinema gets to Corman’s women in prison phase, there is mention of the number of women he employed. Just about everyone agrees he was ahead of everyone else when it comes to gender equality in Hollywood. What is strange is that one of the people being interviewed outright mentions the irony between Corman’s hiring practices and what he put on film. It is never talked about again. Not only is the Humanoids From the Deep directing controversy avoided, the movie itself is completely ignored. A disappointing exclusion from an otherwise enjoyable watch.
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