German 43: Exiles and Émigrés

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Photo of Edgar UlmerUlmer, Edgar

(Vienna 1904–***1972)

Director. He got his start designing sets for Max Reinhardt's stage productions in Vienna. Although Ulmer would assist on F. W. Murnau's The Last Laugh (1924) and Faust (1926) and would co-direct Menschen am Sonntag (with Robert Siodmak, 1929), he had permanently moved to Hollywood by 1930 as an art director for MGM. After dabbling with exploitation films, Ulmer became a notable director whose work spanned from the horror classic The Black Cat (1934, with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi) to a handful of westerns (directed under the name John Warner) to the noir Detour (1945). Ulmer explored the seamy side of American society in films like Moon over Harlem (1939), Girls in Chains (1939), and Strange Illusion (1945). His '50s b-movie The Man from Planet X (1951) is a sci-fi cult favorite, but others like Babes in Bagdad (1952) are forgettable. Before retiring in 1965, Ulmer is said to have made well over a hundred films, even though many of those features had extremely low budgets. "The master of B," and "poet of Poverty Row," as he has been called, Ulmer's versatile career also includes a Ukrainian operetta, a pioneering all-black musical drama, and four notable Yiddish films.

GERMAN 43: Exiles and Émigrés
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