Enjoyable, but not great look at one of the movies' great, but unknown, directors
4 December 2006
Documentary portrait of the King of the B's. Ulmer worked primarily in the poverty row studios in America, after a starting in Europe in the 1920's. The work he turned out usually was looked better and played better than the rest of the films that the studios he worked for turned out. This is the man who gave us Detour (a Noir classic), The Man from Planet X (a scifi classic), Bluebeard (John Carridines best film role) and more than 50 other films that are more often than not better than they should be.

This is a portrait of the man and not so much an over view of his career. If you want to know about of his films you'll have to use this merely as a start since the amount of information contained isn't a lot.

The story is told by the people who knew him, his daughter, and the actors and actresses who worked with him; as well as those who admired him directors Wim Wenders,Roger Corman, Joe Dante and John Landis, and his biographers including Peter Bogdanovich. Its an good portrait of the man as a workaholic trying to turn out enough work for hire to get by. You also get a sense of the mystery of the man. Here's a man who may or may not have reinvented his early film career, and told Bogdanovich and others how he was simply happy making films his way, all the while trying to get back into the big studios (Ulmer appears to have been blacklisted almost at the start for running off with the wife of one of the heads of Universal Studios). The style of the film has almost everyone riding or pretending to ride in a car while being interviewed. Its done in such away as to make it look like several of the people interviewed are talking to each other, so its cut so that Dante and Landis are in the same car, talking to each other. I'm not sure the interviews were done that way but it does create some interesting imaginary conversations.

I liked the film a great deal and it caused me to bring out some of Ulmer's movies to take a look at them once again.

Worth a look for film fans and people who just want to know a bit about one of the movies unsung heroes.
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