Saturday, 12 May 2007

Edgar G. Ulmer's Bluebeard (1944)

Despite his undoubted gifts Edgar G. Ulmer spent most of his career making B-movies for Poverty Row studios. He had a knack for making B-movies on minuscule budgets that turned out to be better than most people’s A-pictures, and some, such as Detour, are among the all-time great Hollywood movies. Bluebeard, made for the Producers Releasing Corporation in 1944, isn’t quite in the Detour class but it’s still a fine movie worth seeking out. The plot involves a murderous painter in Paris. As in Ulmer’s earlier horror masterpiece The Black Cat it’s more concerned with the evil within than with external monsters. Like Detour it deals with a protagonist who feels that he has no control over his life and that he cannot avoid the evil the befalls him. For a movie shot in six days it looks marvellous, and the puppet opera is worth the price of admission. John Carradine gives his finest performance in the title role.

6 out of 10

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