Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 23rd, 2007
Written By: Alain Silver & James Ursini
Published by: Silman-James Press
324 pages, Copyright 2006.
ISBN 1-879505-42-8 (US – $24.95)
“Motion pictures are the art form of the 20th century, and one of the reasons is the fact that films are a slightly corrupted artform. They fit this century – they combine Art and business!” – Roger Corman
Roger Corman was one of the first mogul film directors to experience success and freedom outside of the Hollywood system. Corman directed an over fifty films over a fifteen year period (1955-1971) and in the early 1970’s he would shift from directing to producing films. Corman as a producer would help launch the careers of such directors like Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, James Cameron and Ron Howard. Corman made the films that he wanted to and virtually everything film he made was profitable.
I have long been a fan of books about that give an inside look into filmmakers and the films they directed. Roger Corman Metaphysics on a Shoestring is not really a biography as much as it is an in-depth examination about the films that Roger Corman directed. The book opens up with two sections “Corman in Short” which gives the reader a brief overview about Roger Corman’s career and “Introducing the Films” which include comments from the authors on why they choose to write a book about Corman.
Each film contains critic from the authors Alain Silver & James Ursini and that is followed by comments from Roger Corman. Alain Silver & James Ursini analysis of Corman’s films’ are thoroughly thought out with a few of his lesser films only get brief text about them. One of the best things that I liked about this book is Roger Corman’s involvement in the project via his comments which are always detailed and insightful. Every film also has a listing of the cast & crew and the running time as well as who distributed each film. Unfortunately the budget is not listed for every film.
There is also a section where films that were co-directed by Corman and each film is broken down is the same way as they ones he directed solo. This film’s also feature comments from Corman. The next section is titled “The Producer and Writer” which is not as extensive as the other sections as the title of each film and its director is listed. On a few of these films there are comments from Corman and once again his comments are more then welcome and the best part of this section. The Final section is titled “Corman Onscreen” which is just a list of all the films he has acted in.
Another wonderful addition to this book that perfectly complement the authors prose and Corman’s in the inclusion of hundreds of stills and posters appear in black & white through out the book. The book also comes with a table of contents which is easy to navigate.
Before reading this book I had only seen about a dozen films that where directed by Roger Corman and after reading Roger Corman Metaphysics on a Shoestring my interesting in his films has increased ten fold. The authors Alain Silver & James Ursini obviously are fans of their subject as they approach the films of Roger Corman with the same enthusiasm that made the films they are analysis so much fun too watch.
Overall if you ever wanted to know more about the films of Roger Corman or are already a hardcore fan Roger Corman Metaphysics on a Shoestring is fascinating read that will make you appreciate what Roger Corman was able to accomplish with minimal resources.
For more information about Roger Corman Metaphysics on a Shoestring visit Silman-James Press here.