Steve Carver (born April 5, 1945) is an American film director and producer from Brooklyn, New York.
Carver attended Manhattan's High School of Music and Art and received his BA from Cornell University and his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He was originally interested in cartooning, commercial art and animation. He was camera man for the Wide World of Sports for the St Louis Cardinals and made 30 documentaries in two years while teaching in St Louis area colleges.
American Film Institute
In 1970, a documentary he shot in grad school got him admitted to the American Film Institute, then in its second year of taking in fellows in Hollywood. While at the AFI he studied under such filmmakers as George Stevens, George Seaton, Alfred Hitchcock, Charlton Heston and Gregory Peck. He worked as an assistant director on Dalton Trumbo's sole effort as director, Johnny Got His Gun (1971).
Carver's final AFI project was a short film based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart" starring Alex Cord and Sam Jaffe. The Los Angeles Times described it as "an effective mood piece, a beautiful work in ominous life and shadow".
"I loved AFI," said Carver. "It was an opportunity to use some very talented people."
The Tell Tale Heart was widely screened and attracted the attention of Roger Corman who had made a number of adaptations of Poe's works. Corman hired Carver to work at New World Pictures.
Carver spent his first year at New World cutting trailers. He later estimated he cut 100-150 trailers in that time. He also wrote a number of scripts for Corman, including one on Admiral Byrd that floundered when they could not secure rights from Byrd's estate. He was working on a script about a black female private eye when Corman gave him the chance to direct with The Arena (1974), a film about female gladiators shot in Italy.
Big Bad Mama and Capone
Corman was pleased with The Arena and gave Carver another directing job, a gangster film starring Angie Dickinson, Big Bad Mama (1974). Paul Bartel, who directed second unit on the film, described Carver as "very well organised" and "having great control of the medium". It was a big success at the box office.
Corman used Carver on another gangster film he made over at 20th Century Fox, Capone (1975), starring Ben Gazzara and John Cassavetes.
In a 1975 interview Carver said "All I want to do for now is a string of good commercial pictures but in my own style. I'm not looking for a multi million dollar picture; $1 to $2 million will do for now." The same interview described him "as intense and dynamic as his films... an aggressive achiever who has already accomplished enough for three people."
Carver was mentioned as a possible director for the third film in the "Billy Jack" series, Billy Jack Goes to Washington, but in the end Tom Laughlin decided to do it. Instead Dino De Laurentiis hired Carver to replace Burt Kennedy as director on Drum (1976). Although the movie was completed successfully and proved profitable, Carver described the experience of taking over another director as "horrible".
Carver was going to make a film for Ray Stark with Susan Blakely, Freestyle, about a hotdog skier at the end of her career. However it was never made. Neither was another film Carver was attached to, Summer Camp from a script by Barry Schneider. Instead Carver directed Steel with Lee Majors, then made another for Roger Corman, Fast Charlie... the Moonbeam Rider (1979), starring David Carradine.
He did some uncredited work on a TV movie, Angel City (1980).
Carver made two highly successful films with Chuck Norris, An Eye for an Eye and Lone Wolf McQuade.
His late 80s movies tended to be less distinguished - Oceans of Fire (1986), a TV movie; Jocks (1987), a teen comedy with a young Mariska Hargitay; Bulletproof (1988), an action film with Gary Busey; River of Death (1989); Dead Center (1993); The Wolves (1996).
Eventually Carver left directing and went into photography. "Roger spoiled me,” Carver reflected later, saying other producers “wore me down and chased me back to doing photography.”
He is featured in the documuentary film That Guy Dick Miller, over the acting and life of Dick Miller.
The Tell-Tale Heart (1971) (short) - director, producer
Johnny Got His Gun (1971) - assistant director
The Arena (1974) - director
Big Bad Mama (1974) - director
Drum (1976) - director
Fast Charlie... the Moonbeam Rider (1979) - director
Steel (1979) - director
Angel City (1980) (TV movie) - director (uncredited)
An Eye for an Eye (1981) - director
Lone Wolf McQuade (1983) - director
Oceans of Fire (1986) (TV movie) - director
Jocks (1987) - director
Bulletproof (1988) - director
River of Death (1989) - director
Dead Center (1993) - director
The Wolves (1996) - director
Thomas, Kevin (January 4, 1974). "Movie Review". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010.