Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins Volume 48


Product Details

University of California Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 1.3 inches | 1.45 pounds
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About the Author

Noah Isenberg is Director of Screen Studies and Professor of Culture and Media at the New School, author of Detour, and editor of Weimar Cinema: An Essential Guide to Classic Films of the Era.


"A page turner of a biography."--Andrew O'Hehir "New York Times" (6/29/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"The story of his [Edgar G. Ulmer's] life is told with remarkable research and insight."--Richard Brody "New Yorker" (1/22/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"The season's must read [for film buffs] . . . Noah Isenberg's long-awaited biography 'Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins.' Ulmer--whose CV includes "People on Sunday," "The Black Cat," "Detour," four Yiddish talkies, a half dozen bargain basement classics and as many indescribable oddities--had a life that was every bit as interesting as his film. The writing is scholarly but, given the material, charged with irony and full of pep."--J. Hoberman "Artinfo" (12/20/2013 12:00:00 AM)
"[A] cogent treatment of a singularly unlikely career. Isenberg's writing...allows the monumental eccentricities of Ulmer's underground journey to shine through."--Howard Hampton "Bookforum" (3/1/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"Long considered as something of a guilty pleasure among filmmakers, critics, and fans, director Edgar G. Ulmer finally gets the attention and scholarship he deserves in Noah Isenberg's new book."--Matthew Steigbigel "The Credits" (1/28/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"A rare coupling of intellectual treatise and entertaining biography that beckons to both the film scholar and the public."--Miguel Rodriguez "KPBS" (1/30/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"With sober intrepidness, Isenberg tethers down to earth some of the more wild claims made by and about his subject. In recounting the filmmaker¹s amazing career, he moves easily between describing the drama going on behind the scenes and analyzing the provocative work that Ulmer put on screen. . . . This fascinating biography gives us the chance to weigh the many frustrations in Ulmer¹s career against the joy he found in the act of creation."--Betsy Sherman "Arts Fuse" (2/2/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"Operating mostly outside of the Hollywood system, Edgar G. Ulmer (the original King of the B¹s) is a fascinating character whose rather notorious mysterious life is somewhere between fact and fiction. All of this is explored and solved . . . in scholar Noah Isenberg¹s brilliant new critical biography Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins."--Caryn Coleman "Vice" (2/18/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"A most welcome book, which can lay claim to being a definitive study of Edgar G. Ulmer. . . . Isenberg has given us more than an academic study of the filmmaker's eclectic career. He manages to paint a rounded, sympathetic but honest picture of the man whose endless dreams were so often dashed. . . . Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins is scholarly but never dry. It is a valuable reference and a good read."--Leonard Maltin "Indiewire" (3/11/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"As Isenberg reveals in this utterly necessary book, Ulmer was a nonpareil slinger of [exaggerated stories] even for a business that thrives on everything inauthentic except avarice. . . . In so many ways he was the Micawber of Poverty Row, and the something that turned up was not the big budget spectaculars with A-list casts that he fervently hoped for, but the wormy little movies about failure that he actually made. They were more than good enough to justify a life, and this very good book."--Scott Eyman "ScottEyman.com" (3/4/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"The first English-language biography of the studio-era director oft crowned 'King of Poverty Row, ' Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins explores an itinerant, ramshackle, and occasionally brilliant career that encompassed proto-proto-New Wave experiments, Yiddish utopia, influential B-noirs, fly-by-night exploitation, and Cold War sci-fi super-cheese. . .Isenberg creates a picture of a filmmaker as ragtag and resourceful as the films he directed. . . . [He] effectively traces Ulmer's artistic identity through the thematic (existential dread and rootlessness) and aesthetic (German Expressionism, classical music and opera) continuity of a body of work unified by little else."--Michael Joshua Rowin "Film Comment" (3/1/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"Isenberg makes a scrupulously honest case for the director and 'l'aesthetique du cheap, ' as a French critic called Ulmer's kind of style, avoiding injudicious praise and recognizing his weaknesses as well as his strengths. Then again, with Ulmer the weaknesses often are the strengths, and vice versa. That's what makes him so fascinating and Isenberg's energetic study so engrossing."--David Sterritt "Film Quarterly" (2/1/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"While other authors are drawn to celebrities of greater stature whose lives are well documented, Isenberg preferred the challenge of unraveling the mystery of this European transplant who clearly had talent but never found success in Hollywood. . . . Ulmer may not have had the resources given to his fellow émigré directors but that didn't stop him from endowing his films with a unique personal vision that may finally be finding the appreciation it deserves."--Beth Accomando "Brooklyn Rail" (5/6/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"The Ulmer that emerges from the detail-packed, though rarely dry, pages of Isenberg¹s biography is tragicomic. During his lifetime, the émigré director was rightly renowned for his ability to spin straw into gold (or silver, at any rate), yet this meant that he became in many ways a victim of his own success."--Eric J. Iannelli "TLS" (5/14/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"Now we have what is destined to become the definitive English-language critical biography from Noah Isenberg. . . The movies speak for themselves, but they have gained an eloquent companion."--Nick Pinkerton "Sight & Sound" (8/1/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"This definitive study of fringe director Edgar G. Ulmer is also an anatomy of the B-movie industry. . . . The stories of Ulmer's offscreen seat-of-the-pants artistry make for a delightful and inspiring read. Recommended."--M. Yacowar "Choice" (8/1/2014 12:00:00 AM)
"Remarkable for its revealing of the hidden career of a minor genius is Noah Isenberg's Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins." Best Film Books of 2014--Thomas Gladysz "Huffington Post" (1/5/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"An authoritative new biography."--Kenneth Turan "Los Angeles Times" (11/14/2014 12:00:00 AM)