Legendary producer Roger Corman has died

Legendary producer Roger Corman has died

Producer of 400 films, director of The Masque of the Red Death and Little Shop of Horrors, Corman launched the careers of Scorsese, Coppola, Nicholson, James Cameron… He died at 98.

Roger Corman died on May 9, 2024 at his home in Santa Monica, California: he was 98 years old. The impact of his career on the film industry is immense: this native of Detroit (he moved to Hollywood in the 1940s) had started in very low-budget B series for Samuel Arkoff's American International Pictures studio, trying out all genres. Western, horror, science fiction, teen movies… In 1958, he attracted critical attention with the gangster film Kelly submachine gunthen it's Little Shop of Horrors in 1960 with a certain Jack Nicholson. Corman then shifted gears with a series of glorious Edgar Poe adaptations (The Fall of the House of Usher, The Mask of the Red Death, The crow…), resurrecting the careers of Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff along the way.

As a producer, he took care of Scorsese's second film (Bertha Boxcar), of Dementia 13 signed by Francis Ford Coppola, of Five women to kill alias Jonathan Demme's first feature… In the 70s, he distributed films by Ingmar Bergman, Truffaut, Fellini and Werner Herzog in the United States. James Horner's first three compositions for the cinema illustrate Roger Corman productions, including the sci-fi film The Space Mercenaries to SFX signed by a certain James Cameron. Don't forget Joe Dante, Monte Hellman or Peter Bogdanovich.

He's my hero“, declared Quentin Tarantino when he brought him on stage during the closing ceremony of the 76th Cannes Film Festival last year:

We'll let you write the rest of the story – don't forget the films The Fast and the Furious (1954) which half a century later gave birth to the franchise of the same name, The Trip (1967) on the effects of LSD with a script by Nicholson, from the biker film Wild Angels with Peter Fonda without whom there would be noEasyRider… Everyone went to the Corman school: tiny budgets, maximum efficiency.

Corman's autobiography is titled How I made 100 films without ever losing a cent (published by Capricci in France), and it is justified. “I took the opposite view from the big studios, who knows if I was wrong or right”, Corman said to Première in 2018in Nantes, when he came to give a masterclass as part of the SoFilm Summercamp. “I would rather make ten films for ten million dollars than one for a hundred.”

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