To Dante’s Inferno with Roger Corman

Thursday, April 17. The New Beverly. Joe Dante. Roger Corman.

Stroll over a little early, anticipating a bigger crowd since Corman’s in da house. He’s certainly one of the principal architects of the “New Hollywood” since his proteges include directors like Coppola, Scorcese, Bogdanivich, Dante, Demme, Hopper , Ron Howard and actors such as Nicholson, DeNiro, Dern, along with writers like Robert Towne, and cameraman Lazlo Kovacs. I always liked Corman’s directorial style, no-nonsense, punctuated by a tracking camera and nicely framed compositions. If Corman didn’t always have the budget in the back of his mind, he could have easily graduated to big studio films, but he didn’t like their accounting and he liked his freedom. But I digress.

I see Craig from Living In Cinema sitting down in line, dedicated with laptop writing a review for his blog. I sit down and we chat about the dismal state of film. As usual. Where are the Cormans of yesterday?

Inside. Red vines. Coke. 3.50. Deal. Joe Dante steps forward and you can go here to actually watch his intro to THE SECRET INVASION and THE TOMB OF LIGEA. Saves me the trouble of paraphrasing. Suffice to say, I enjoyed THE SECRET INVASION much, a true precursor to THE DIRTY DOZEN. Plus, Mickey Rooney!

After the film, Dante coms to introduce Roger Corman. You can go here to see that. We give Corman the applause he deserves, I woulda stood up if everybody else did, but we showed him big love. Dante has a nice chat with Corman and I get to finallly ask him the only question I’ve ever wanted to ask him. Sadly, it’s not on the video. But I asked him if there was any footage left from his original cut of his final 1970 AIP film, GAS-S-S-S! The studio didn’t like Corman’s more radical ideas, such as a Jewish God and they truncated the final long tracking shot of the film, which Corman thought was one of his finest. Anyway, Corman talked about that and broke my heart by saying he didn’t think the footage exists anymore. But now I know. I can sleep with the truth. And then Corman is gone.

THE TOMB OF LIGEA written by Robert Towne, is the last Poe film directed by Corman and it’s one of the most subtle. A psychological horror story about Vincent Price haunted by the spirit of his dead wife, the film is alternately creepy and mysterious and with a good female part, no doubt due to Towne’s sensitivity. There are some good quick shocks and the film is a fitting Corman farewell to Poe.

As a nice bonus, Dante comes out and says they’re showing a third film, a rare and never-screened Corman war film from 1960, SKI TROOP ATTACK. I know the title is rather vague as to the plot, but I’ll clue you in. It’s about WWII ski troops attacking. Scripted with some good lines by the great Charles B. Griffith, the print was from Tarantino’s collection of course. I left halfway through, uncommitted geek that I am. I walk home in the chill, enjoying another chance to pay tribute to the Movie Gods of my youth.

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2 Responses to “To Dante’s Inferno with Roger Corman”

  1. […] don’t miss it again, since these shows are slices of cine-history replete with the players as I duly noted last year — I thought I’d throw down a blast from the Dante/Spielberg 80’s past with a […]

  2. […] Dreams 70 Film, Culture, Politics & SKIDOO « To Dante’s Inferno with Roger Corman I AM…aw, you know. […]

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