How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime should probably be required reading for students in film school. While it doesn’t discuss the basics of making a film, it is a firsthand account of how to be frugal and resourceful when making a motion picture.
While this is an autobiography of filmmaking legend Roger Corman, it focuses much more on his life as a director and producer than it does on his childhood or his personal life. Sure, it discusses those things but the bulk of its focus is on Corman’s projects and the challenges he faced with some of his best-known films.
Corman runs through his very early pictures. He then gets into some of his late 50s horror classics like Little Shop of Horrors, Bucket of Blood and a few others. After that, he gets to my favorite era of his career, those Vincent Price starring Edgar Allan Poe adaptations. Corman then delves into his projects with Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern and a young Jack Nicholson.
Following the bulk of his career where he was a director, Corman details the reasons why he started focusing on producing over directing and how he started his own production company New World Pictures. There is also a lot about his relationship with American International Pictures over the years. He even talks about one of his failures but also one of his passion projects, the William Shatner starring The Intruder.
The book also features the insight of several of Corman’s collaborators. We get to hear from Jack Nicholson, Dick Miller, Peter Fonda, Vincent Price, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Joe Dante and more.
How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime is a pretty cool book for those who are fans of Roger Corman’s work. He spent decades bucking the system and very rarely failed. He paved the way for lots of young filmmakers and actors and was very instrumental in shaping the movie industry into what it is today.
When the independent studios rose, after decades of tyranny from the majors, Corman was front and center. He may not be as famous as Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese but they owe their careers to his hard work.