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New on Disc: 'Corman's World' and more …

26 Mar, 2012 By: Mike Clark

Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel

Street 3/27/12
Anchor Bay, Documentary, B.O. $0.003 million, $26.98 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for some violent images, nudity and language.
Even if he were nothing more than the marketer who managed to book Ingmar Bergman’s Cries and Whispers into drive-ins when he theatrically distributed it through New World Pictures, Roger Corman would be a character worth endless discussion. But then here also are Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Joe Dante, the late production designer Polly Platt, Peter Fonda and even The Man himself — Jack Nicholson — talking of how much the producer-director-distributor and still-handsome guy did for their careers. I have good memories of Christian Blackwood’s Roger Corman: Hollywood’s Wild Angel, but a lot of time has passed, and perspective has obviously solidified since that earlier documentary played festivals and specialized theaters in the late 1970s. Alex Stapleton’s fresher look is a needed update because the industry began changing around the time Blackwood’s portrait began circulating. The clip reel here covers the bases going back to the ’50s, and the interviews are so plentiful that at least three subjects have died since Stapleton recorded them (Platt, director George Hickenlooper and David Carradine). Stapleton’s great coup was landing Nicholson, who isn’t exactly ubiquitous on talk shows.
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The War Room

Criterion, Documentary, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, NR.
An even more rambunctiously scrappy view after 19 years, the Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker look at the “new breed” strategists who got Bill Clinton elected president might have ended up being borderline unreleaseable because there were times early on in the ’92 campaign (Gennifer Flowers, anyone?) when it looked as if Clinton might end up in third place. Indeed, it is The War Room that let the world know just how much of a savvy jester campaign manager James Carville was — turning him into an instant media star (if not quite matinee idol) and giving no small boost as well to the subsequent public-eye careers of colleagues George Stephanopoulos and Paul Begala. As confirmed in a 43-minute reunion of the filmmaking principals included as an extra, the film has always left an impression that the crew missed or didn’t have access to a lot of key material. The narrative is so tightly spun that it all but ignores one incredible story: that Carville and George H. W. Bush campaign heavyweight Mary Matalin were falling for each other, but this missing material is covered by the included 2008 Showtime sequel Return to the War Room.
Extras: Also included is a good contextual essay by Louis Menard; pollster Stan Greenberg (a presence in the film) explaining the evolution of his profession; and a 25-minute clip from a discussion that C-SPAN aired in which Clinton himself talks about the run up to higher office.
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No Man of Her Own

Street 3/27/12
Olive, Drama, $24.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Barbara Stanwyck, John Lund, Jane Cowl, Lyle Bettger.
Barbara Stanwyck plays a pregnant single woman who poses as another pregnant woman who is killed with her husband in a train wreck. Hit-and-miss director Mitchell Leisen, who could be quite capable when he hit, handles the action very well, and the yarn (which rates a pretty decent print here) plays much better than it sounds.
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About the Author: Mike Clark

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