More interested in film, Corman found work at 20th Century Fox initially in the mail room. He worked his way up to a story reader. The one property that he liked the most and provided ideas for was filmed as The Gunfighter with Gregory Peck. When Corman received no credit at all he left Fox and decided he would work in film by himself. Under the GI Bill, Corman studied English Literature at Oxford University. He then returned to Los Angeles, beginning his film career in 1953 as a producer and screenwriter and started directing films in 1955.
Corman began to direct films in the mid-1950s, including Swamp Women (1955). In his early period, he produced up to nine movies a year. His fastest film was perhaps The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), which was reputedly shot in two days and one night.Supposedly, he had made a bet that he could shoot an entire feature film in less than three days. Another version of the story claims that he had a set rented for a month, and finished using it with three days to spare, thus pushing him to use the set to make a new film. (This is a variation of the story behind 1963's The Terror, much of which was filmed in two leftover days with Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson after The Raven, which featured them both, wrapped with two days to spare.)
In addition to producing and directing films for American International Pictures (AIP), Corman also partially funded other low budget films released by other film companies. In 1959 Corman founded Filmgroup with his brother Gene, a company producing or releasing low budget black and white films as double features for driven-ins and action houses. When Corman saw that black and white double features were not as successful as colour films, Corman returned to AIP with Filmgroup ceasing operation in 1962.
The late 1960s saw Corman and his films give a voice to the counter-culture of the time. In 1966, Corman made the first biker movie with Wild Angels. It starred Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra, and opened the 1966 Venice Film Festival. In 1967, The Trip, written by and starring Jack Nicholson, began the psychedelic film craze of the late 1960s and was the American entry at Cannes that year. Joan Didion said she went to see Wild Angels because, "there on the screen was some news I was not getting from the New York Times. I began to think I was seeing ideograms of the future."
Corman's penultimate film as director was 1971's Von Richthofen and Brown (he had always wanted to make an aviation movie, being a pilot himself). He then returned to directing once more with 1990's Frankenstein Unbound. In total, Roger Corman has produced over 300 movies and directed more than 50.
"Draw the curtains and dim the lights for a chilling trip north for a documentary which investigates the success of Scandinavian crime fiction and why it exerts such a powerful hold on our imagination.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a literary blockbuster that has introduced millions of readers to the phenomenon that is Scandinavian crime fiction - yet author Stieg Larsson spent his life in the shadows and didn't live to see any of his books published. It is one of the many mysteries the programme investigates as it travels to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland in search of the genre's most acclaimed writers and memorable characters.
It also looks at Henning Mankell's brooding Wallander series, with actor Krister Henriksson describing the challenge of bringing the character to the screen, and it asks why so many stories have a political subtext. The programme finds out how Stieg Larsson based the bestselling Millennium trilogy on his work as an investigative journalist and reveals the unlikely source of inspiration for his most striking character, Lisbeth Salander.
There are also segments on Jo Nesbo, the Norwegian rock star-turned-writer tipped to inherit Larsson's mantle, and Karin Fossum, an author whose personal experience of murder has had a profound effect on her writing."
Saul Kent: board member of Alcor Life Extension foundation. Co-founder of the (unrelated) Life Extension Foundation. Dietary supplement vendor, anti-aging research promoter, cryonics pioneer...criminal? Errol Morris tries to untangle the twisted tale of how, in the service of his sincere commitment to the achievement of human immortality, Kent absconded with his late mother's head...and still isn't saying where he stored it.
"Later, after Manson was arrested, I drove across the country for the first time in my life to Los Angeles for the California premiere ofMultiple Maniacsand the next day began attending the insane LSD media-circus Manson trial which I've never really gotten over. After Manson and the three girls were convicted of the Tate/ La Bianca murders and sentenced to death, my rabid following of the subsequent but much lesser-known Manson-related trials never ceased. I needed to know more. How had these kids, from backgrounds so similar to mine, committed in real life the awful crimes against peace and love that we were acting out for comedy in our films?
In late 1971, still free, second-tiered Manson Family members robbed the Western Surplus Store in the suburbs of Los Angeles and stole 14 guns (supposedly to break Manson out of jail) and a shoot-out with the police occurred. All six robbers were arrested. At their trial, many members of Manson royalty, now awaiting the promised Helter Skelter end of the world from death row, were called as witnesses by the robber defendants so they could have a courtroom reunion of sorts. The nervous trial judge called the proceedings "the biggest collection of murderers in Los Angeles County at one time". There were only two court spectators the day I went to a pre-trial hearing; myself and a lower-echelon Manson groupie with a shaved head and a fresh X carved in her forehead who was furiously writing what looked like a thirty-page letter to one of her "brothers". When about fifteen of the Manson Family were brought into court, hand-cuffed and chained together, women on one side and men on the other, many with their heads shaved, the atmosphere was electric with twisted evil beauty. Not having seen each other in about a year, the cultists started chanting, jerkily gesturing, and speaking to one another in a nonsensical language that only the Family could understand. Sexy, scary, brain-dead, and dangerous, this gang of hippy lunatics gave new meaning to "folie à famille", group madness and insanity as long as the same people are together and united. It was an amazing thing to see in person. Heavily influenced, and actually jealous of their notoriety, I went back to Baltimore and made Pink Flamingos which I wrote, directed and dedicated to the "Manson girls", "Sadie, Katie and Les".
Then I went deeper into the Manson flame and started visiting Charles "Tex" Watson in prison. "What on earth were you thinking?" you may wonder and today it is a question I have to ask myself. In Los Angeles I had met his post-conviction girlfriend Lu, a German hippy girl with an obvious off-kilter sensibility who had come to America speaking little English and accidentally met some of the still-free "Manson girls" as the initial trial was taking place. "God, kids sure are wild in the United States," she told me she remembered thinking, not understanding how different these hippies were from the American love-children she had read about back in Munich and hoped to hook up with when she came to our shores. But Lu would only go so far. Refusing the demands to shave her skull, she broke away from the unincarcerated B-list Family members to the relative safety of a "jailhouse" love affair with "Tex", a convicted killer who was still clearly out of his mind and had almost no chance of ever being paroled.
Charles "Tex" Watson was perhaps Manson's best piece of work; a high-school football star who turned hippy and came to L.A. like millions of other kids to find '60s grooviness. Instead he met Manson and was turned into a killer zombie in just ten LSD, Belladonna-drenched months. "Tex" personally stabbed or shot all nine Tate/La Bianca victims. Lu and I would hitchhike to the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo from either L.A or San Francisco to visit him and I wrote about our times, rather inappropriately and with little insight, in my book Shock Value."
-John Waters, excerpt from the book Role Models
Time Shift - Nordic Noir: The Story of Scandinavian Crime Fiction
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