Saturday, October 17, 2020

EDGAR ULMER AND HIS BLACK CAT

 

"Like Kafka, he always worked in shadows"
- Shirley Ulmer, wife of Edgar G. Ulmer

High on my list of the best Universal horror films of the 1930's is THE BLACK CAT (1934). The story has a perpetual cloud of gloom hanging over it, and the first pairing in a film of Boris Karloff as Hjalmar Poelzig and Bela Lugosi as Dr. Vitus Werdeghast is nothing short of marvelous. Once again a horror film helped to keep U above the neck in financial waters as it was the biggest box office hit of the year for them.

This article by Paul Mandell, from the October 1984 issue of AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER traces the origins and production of THE BLACK CAT. There are are number of revealing insights regarding the making of the film. Mandell calls it the first American psychological film and more than a little autobiographical for director Edgar G. Ulmer. It's also interesting that the original treatment is covered at length and, like many other films, illustrates how a story can change dramatically from inception to the screen.

This is a fascinating article and is required reading for Monsterologists interested in Universal Horror and the work of Edgar G. Ulmer.

Director Edgar G. Ulmer.















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