During the first half of the 20th century, Hollywood experienced an influx of filmmakers arriving from Germany and Austria. F.W. Murnau. Fritz Lang. Billy Wilder. Ernst Lubitsch. Edgar G. Ulmer? Known as the "King of the B's" for his ability to shoot movies quickly and cheaply, Ulmer worked primarily outside the studio at a time when that was practically unheard of. His dark, gritty, often nihilistic storytelling style made him a true renegade and one of the first independent filmmakers. Does another filmmaker come to mind who made films in New Jersey targeted for Yiddish, black, or Ukranian audiences? Edgar G. Ulmer: The Man OFF Screen explores the mystery of the man nobody knows through interviews with his daughter, film historians, and actors who worked with him, as well as filmmakers he inspired, such as Wim Wenders, Joe Dante, John Landis, and Peter Bogdanovich. Ulmer's life story is as complicated and difficult as the movies for which he's almost famous. Many of his own statements seem to be untrue, and there is little evidence that he actually worked on many of the early pictures for which he claims credit. Many of Ulmer's 30+ features, most notably The Black Cat, The Naked Dawn, and the gritty noir Poverty Row masterpiece, Detour- shot in six days!-are complex subversive works with growing legions of admirers. A wonderful appreciation of a filmmaker, mostly forgotten by the general public, this documentary places overdue focus on a director whose influence still resonates.
Born in 1965, Michael Palm attended the Film Academy at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and the University of Vienna, where he studied philosophy and drama. He has written and lectured on the theory and aesthetics of film at the University of Music and Performing Arts and at the University of Vienna. He lives and works in Vienna.