Edgar G. Ulmer (1904-1972) was one of many beneficiaries of the wave of auteurism that galvanized critics in France in the 1950s and their American counterparts in the 1960s. Ulmer was one of a slew of directors whose work became the subject of cinema club retrospectives, articles in obscure journals, and feverish advocacy and argument by auteurists whose passion was trawling the backwaters of classic Hollywood’s commercial cinema. Some of these directors – Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller, for example – were truly rescued by this phenomenon, and their names gained a general cultural currency. Not quite so with Ulmer, who presented a more problematic case than Ray with his sexual politics and Fuller with his brutal action approach.
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