This documentary, Edgar G. Ulmer - The Man Off-screen, should prove of interest to his fans
1 June 2008
When I went to my local library recently, I looked for something on DVD that was a bit different from the mainstream and the usual classics. This documentary of a director known as "King of the B's" certainly caught my eye. Here, we get interviews of people like Joe Dante, John Landis, Roger Corman, and Wim Wenders who learned many of their methods of making low-budget films entertaining from him. There's also Peter Bogdanovich who interviewed Ulmer and got his stories of working with various immigrant German filmmakers, that may be or not be completely true, into the public eye. Then there's many actors who worked for him like William Schallert, Jimmy Lydon, Ann Savage from Detour-perhaps Ulmer's best known work, and, from his last work The Cavern, John Saxon and Peter Marshall. Many of these people are riding in cars and may or not be conversing with each other. There's also scenes of a funeral near Paramount that many famous movie people like Hitchcock are buried as well as of a shopping center where the lowest of the "poverty row" studios, PRC, that Ulmer once worked for had resided. And then there's reenactment of some of the director's movie scenes that add to the partly eerie atmosphere concerning Edgar's frustrations with "poverty row" and the studio system. It's especially fascinating seeing his daughter Arianne offering her comments. All in all, Edgar G. Ulmer - The Man Off-screen is a fine tribute to someone who once worried all his work would be destroyed and forgotten after he departed. P.S. The Kino International DVD has added Isle of Forgotten Sins, which doesn't have a clip in the docu, as an extra attraction.
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