One of the most versatile and resourceful filmmakers in movie history, Edgar George Ulmer (1900-1972), worked in a bewildering variety of genres, countries, and languages.

Ulmer was born in what is now the Czech republic and raised in imperial Vienna; originally a student of architecture, he broke into the film industry as a teenager and, serving mainly as a set designer, shuttled back and forth between Berlin and Hollywood through the early ‘30s. After directing a highly successful horror film, The Black Cat, for Universal in 1934, Ulmer relocated to New York City where for five years he directed an assortment of independent “ethnic” features—including a quartet of Yiddish-language talkies that have since become classics. (Jewish, but not Yiddish-speaking, Ulmer worked with many of the leading actors and writers of New York’s Yiddish theater.) In 1941, Ulmer returned to Hollywood. There, among many other low-budget genre films, he made the quintessential film noir, Detour in 1945; his last movies were produced in Europe.

An underground auteur, largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Ulmer has since taken his place among cinema’s legendary figures—an inspiration for the French new wave and a precursor of the American independent film movement, as well as an innovative and unique stylist in his own right. —J. Hoberman




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The Edgar Ulmer Collection
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Classroom/Institutional Use Only DVD

Does not include Public Performance Rights
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The Yiddish Classics
of Edgar G. Ulmer


American Matchmaker

Green Fields

The Light Ahead

The Singing Blacksmith

35mm Restorations
with New English Subtitles by
The National Center for Jewish Film



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