Director: Steve Mitchell
Cast: Larry Cohen, Fred Williamson, Martin Scorsese
Production Company: La-La Land Entertainment
Runtime: 110 minutes
He may not be the Eighth Wonder of the World, but he damn sure is King! Larry Cohen’s story is one that everyone interested in the art of filmmaking should know about. Director Steve Mitchell captures the essence of this great man’s career in his movie King Cohen (2017).
The documentary reveals the true story of a real industry maverick. Larry Cohen is a writer, producer, and director, who is best known for his low-budget horror films and frantic thrillers. His career is revisited through compelling interviews and clips from his classic films.
Cohen is the force behind a number of cinematic classics including: Black Caesar (1973), It’s Alive (1974), Q: The Winged Serpent (1982), and The Stuff (1985). I’ve mentioned only a few, as Cohen’s resume is quite lengthy. His work borders on being legendary…
King Cohen features insightful interviews with a large number of motion picture luminaries. Martin Scorsese, J.J Abrams, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, John Landis, Fred Williamson, and Cohen himself, all share interesting anecdotes about his remarkable career in the film industry.
The moments with Fred Williamson from Hell Up in Harlem (1973) are among the most amusing in the documentary. The stories Cohen and Williamson tell don’t always match, but they’re definitely funny. Williamson’s body language and satirical comments are priceless.
I also very much enjoyed the stories about Cohen’s relationships with composer Bernard Herrmann and beloved actor Red Buttons. These recollections were especially poignant ones. There’s also some amazing and surprising tales about him working with veteran actress Bette Davis.
The film received the “Best Documentary Feature Audience Award” from Fantasia Fest in 2017. It is also an official selection at many other prominent film festivals. Steve Mitchell deserves a lot of credit for making such and informative and entertaining documentary.
King Cohen is an inspiring and intoxicating look into the life of a guerrilla filmmaking genius. Cohen did things that could never be done again, especially in the wake of our current society’s norms. His story is one of a bygone age, the likes of which we will never see again.
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…