290 Great Directors: Edgar G. Ulmer

“I really am looking for absolution for all the things I had to do for money’s sake.”

Why This Director?
: One of the essential noir directors.

My Last Experience Was…: People on Sunday/Black Cat. (And Cossacks in Exile, which was blah.)

What Did I Watch: Bluebeard. (Wanted to save Detour for a rainy hour.)

Where Does He Fit: Bluebeard badly needs a restoration if it’s possible, especially with its most loaded sequence coming early on when we see a puppet opera that results in the entire picture turning into a dissection of fairy tales and what they play. A tie used for strangulation turns into the glass slipper from Cinderella, the myth in the title refers to the classism present all over the place, a weird world where grown women go watch puppeteers. Nothing makes any sense, exactly, but it all holds together as a crazy portrait thanks to Ulmer’s tricks with light in the eyes and strings everywhere.


Most Valuable Asset: The delirium of poverty.
Most Excited For: Detour, of course.

Coming Up Next: Marcel Pagnol, Cahiers whipping boy.


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