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Edgar G. Ulmer
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Filmmaker
    (September 17, 1904-September 30, 1972)
    Born in Olmutz, Austria-Hungary (now Olomouc, Czech Republic)
    Directed 'The Black Cat' (1934), 'Moon Over Harlem' (1939), 'Tomorrow We Live' (1942), 'Bluebeard' (1944), 'Detour' (1945), 'Carnegie Hall' (1947), 'Ruthless' (1948), 'The Man from Planet X' (1951), 'The Naked Dawn' (1955), 'The Amazing Transparent Man' (1960) and 'The Cavern' (1964)
    He said he was the set designer on several films -- including 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' (1919), 'Metropolis' (1927) and 'M' (1931) -- for which his claims are not supported by the credits. Or the production stills. Or the recollections of the people who did work on the films.
    One critic said, 'In the field of fabrication, he neatly beats his main competitor, Howard Hawks.'
    The first film he directed in America was 'Damaged Lives' (1933), a 'social hygiene' film about the dangers of syphilis.
    After the success of 'The Black Cat,' he could have had a steady career at Universal, but he began an affair with (and later married) Shirley Alexander, the wife of the nephew of Universal studio head Carl Laemmle, resulting in his being blackballed by the major studios.
    Most of the films he cranked out for 'Poverty Row' studios have been forgotten.
    His horror film 'The Black Cat' and film noir 'Detour' have strong cult followings.
    Peter Bogdanovich said, 'Nobody ever made good pictures faster or for less money.'
    Francois Truffaut praised his films as consistently 'fresh, sincere and inventive.'
    He said, 'I didn't want to be ground up in the Hollywood hash machine.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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