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Edgar G. Ulmer

Edgar G. Ulmer

Known For: Directing · Birthday: 1904-09-17 · Deathday: 1972-09-30 (68 years old) · Gender: Male · Place of Birth: Olmütz, Moravia, Austria-Hungary [now Olomouc, Czech Republic]

70 Movies

Also Known As: John Warner · Edgar George Ulmer · Edgar Georg Ulmer · Ove H. Sehested

Biography

Edgar Georg Ulmer (; September 17, 1904 – September 30, 1972) was a Jewish-Moravian, Austrian-American film director who mainly worked on Hollywood B movies and other low-budget productions. His stylish and eccentric works came to be appreciated by auteur theory-espousing film critics in the years following his retirement. Ulmer's productions include The Black Cat (1934) and the film noir Detour (1945).

Career

Ulmer was born in Olomouc, in what is now the Czech Republic. As a young man he lived in Vienna, where he worked as a stage actor and set designer while studying architecture and philosophy. He did set design for Max Reinhardt's theater, served his apprenticeship with F. W. Murnau, and worked with directors including Robert Siodmak, Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann and cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan, inventor of the Schüfftan process. He also claimed to have worked on Der Golem (1920), Metropolis (1927), and M (1931), but there is no evidence to support this. Ulmer came to Hollywood with Murnau in 1926 to assist with the art direction on Sunrise (1927). In an interview with Peter Bogdanovich, he also recalled making two-reel westerns in Hollywood around this time.The first feature he directed in North America, Damaged Lives (1933), was a low-budget exploitation film exposing the horrors of venereal disease. His next film, The Black Cat (1934), starring Béla Lugosi and Boris Karloff, was made for Universal Pictures. Demonstrating the striking visual style that would be Ulmer's hallmark, the film was Universal's biggest hit of the season. Ulmer, however, had begun an affair with Shirley Beatrice Kassler, who had been married since 1933 to independent producer Max Alexander, nephew of Universal studio head Carl Laemmle. Kassler's divorce in 1936 and her marriage to Ulmer later the same year led to his being exiled from the major Hollywood studios. Ulmer was relegated to making B movies at Poverty Row production houses. His wife, now Shirley Ulmer, acted as script supervisor on nearly all of these films, and she wrote the screenplays for several. Their daughter, Arianne, appeared as an extra in several of his films. Consigned to the fringes of the U.S. motion picture industry, for a time Ulmer specialized first in "ethnic films," in Ukrainian—Natalka Poltavka (1937), Cossacks in Exile (1939)—and Yiddish—The Light Ahead (1939), Americaner Shadchen (1940). The best-known of these ethnic films is the Yiddish Green Fields (1937), co-directed with Jacob Ben-Ami. Ulmer eventually found a niche making melodramas on tiny budgets and with often unpromising scripts and actors for Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC), with Ulmer describing himself as "the Frank Capra of PRC". His PRC thriller Detour (1945) has won considerable acclaim as a prime example of low-budget film noir, and it was selected by the Library of Congress among the first group of 100 American films worthy of special preservation efforts. In 1947, Ulmer made Carnegie Hall with the help of conductor Fritz Reiner, godfather of the Ulmers' daughter, Arianné. The film features performances by many leading figures in classical music, including Reiner, Jascha Heifetz, Artur Rubinstein, Gregor Piatigorsky and Lily Pons. Ulmer did get a chance to direct two films with substantial budgets, The Strange Woman (1946) and Ruthless (1948). The former, featuring a strong performance by Hedy Lamarr, is regarded by critics as one of Ulmer's best. He directed a low-budget science-fiction film with a noirish tone, The Man from Planet X (1951). His last film, The Cavern (1964), was shot in Italy. Ulmer died in 1972 in Woodland Hills, California, after a crippling stroke. He is interred in the Hall of David Mausoleum in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA. His wife, Shirley Ulmer, is interred nearby. Commemorating the 30th anniversary of his death, a three-day symposium of lectures and screenings was held at New York City's New School in November 2002. In 2005, researcher Bernd Herzogenrath uncovered the address where Ulmer was born in Olomouc. A memorial plaque commemorating Ulmer's birth home was unveiled on September 17, 2006, on the occasion of Ulmerfest 2006—the first European academic conference devoted to Ulmer's work. The moving image collection of Edgar G. Ulmer is held at the Academy Film Archive. The film material at the Academy Film Archive is complemented by material in the Edgar G. Ulmer papers at the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library.

Movies & TV shows

1964.

1 Movie

1962.

1 Movie

1961.

1 Movie

1960.

2 Movies

1959.

2 Movies

1958.

1 Movie

1957.

1 Movie

1955.

2 Movies

1954.

2 Movies

1952.

1 Movie

1951.

2 Movies

1949.

1 Movie

1948.

1 Movie

1947.

1 Movie

1946.

3 Movies

1945.

3 Movies

1944.

2 Movies

1943.

8 Movies

1942.

2 Movies

1941.

1 Movie

1940.

2 Movies

1939.

3 Movies

1938.

1 Movie

1937.

1 Movie

1936.

1 Movie

1934.

5 Movies

1933.

1 Movie

1931.

4 Movies

1930.

2 Movies

1929.

1 Movie

1928.

2 Movies

1927.

2 Movies

1926.

1 Movie

1925.

1 Movie

1924.

3 Movies

1922.

1 Movie

1920.

1 Movie
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Edgar_G._Ulmer", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.