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Corman high priest of american kitsch live at LA Fest

Another trophy guest of the L.A. fest was 84 year old Roger Corman, producer, director, writer, actor, promoter, distributor, and living legend of B-and-Below kitsch/trash movies -- as part of the "Conversations with Hollywood Celebrities" sidebar, which has been one of the highlights of the current L.A. Int'l Film Festival. To start with, let us say that Roger does not look a day over seventy-four, and was greeted upon arrival on stage by a most respectful whole-room-standing-up ovation which he acknowledged with graceful avuncular nods and fatherly smiles.

The official title of the presentation was "The School of Roger Corman", and that's exactly what it turned out to be, as five former disciples who got their start working for him as neophytes in the business eons ago, joined him on the stage -- all, incidentally, fairly well-known Hollywood celebrities in their own right. The lineup, from audience left to right: actor, Peter Fonda, 70 (!), Director, film historian, and all-around wit, Peter Bogdanovich, Director Joe Dante, the director's wife and long time co-producer, Julie Corman, Roger himself, and finally, the moderator for the evening, director Curtis Hanson of "L.A. Confidential".

The banter and repartee was fast, lively, topical, and amusing, but before it started a high-speed montage of famous moments from the archives of the RC School were flashed on screen in which were seen a very young Jack Nicholson in a dentist's chair craving more pain, a helmeted Peter Fonda trying to kick start a cantankerous motorbike, a young Dennis Hopper before he looked really Mean, numerous scenes with Vincent Price from the Edgar Allen Poe films, and a very quick flash of Peter Lorre together with Boris Karloff in Corman's "The Raven" -- bringing many oohs and aahs of gleeful recognition ...

by Alex Deleon,

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Chatelin Bruno
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