He may now be in the autumn of a prolific directing/producing career which has delivered such disparate movie treats as The Last Woman on Earth
(deadly mist wipes out world’s entire population except for one girl and two guys - one of whom is played by a pseudonymous Robert Towne), A Bucket of Blood
(lowly busboy dazzles the beatnik hipster crowd with sculptures crafted from his murder victims), and It Conquered the World
(Earth is menaced by a crab/traffic cone hybrid in an alien invasion flick commemorated on Frank Zappa’s Roxy and Elsewhere
album), but Roger Corman is now set to receive his greatest accolade, having been named as one of next year’s recipients of an honorary Oscar.
Aside from the early plethora of ultra low-budget quickie movies such as those cited above, Corman is also well known as director of the 1960s series of eight pictures based on the gothic works of Edgar Allen Poe, most of which starred Vincent Price. And after forming his own motion picture company, New World, in 1970, Corman made a name for himself as mentor to new film-making talent, many of whom went on to enormous individual success and acclaim (Scorsese, Coppola, Bogdanovich, Demme, Cameron, amongst many others).
Corman is one of three due to receive honorary baubles at the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony, scheduled for 7 March 2010. The other two to get their talented paws on the gilded statuettes are cinematographer Gordon Willis and actress Lauren Bacall. Willis has photographed some of the most-acclaimed American movies of the last forty years, including Annie Hall
, and Zelig
for Woody Allen, top-notch conspiracy thriller The Parallax View
, and all three entries in The Godfathe
r trilogy (although, almost perversely, Willis was only Academy Award-nominated for his work on Part III
). Bacall is, of course, best known as the on-screen foil for and off-screen companion of Humphrey Bogart, memorably starring alongside him in To Have and Have Not
, The Big Sleep
, and Key Largo
. In recent years she has appeared in both Dogville
for the iconoclastic Danish director Lars von Trier. And in addition to that trio of hand-outs, Oscar night will also see the Academy present veteran production bigwig John Calley with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.
The honorary Oscars often seem like a bit of a safety net for the Academy, as they try to reward some of the outstanding individuals who have been previously been overlooked. However it is pleasing to see them acknowledging a film-maker whose individual output was never really awards-friendly, but who has exerted an undeniable influence upon the motion picture industry over many years. So in tribute to Corman, here is the trailer for his 1956 terror-fest It Conquered the World
. Readers of a nervous disposition may want to look away now...
Sources: Slash Film