Edgar G. Ulmer
Traces of a Viennese Youth
Vienna is no more. What you seek there, you will not find.
-Joseph von Sternberg, Hollywood 1968
Dealing with a subject as elusive as an undocumented childhood is a daunting task, one that requires considerable resourcefulness, tact, and imagination and that ultimately relies on a fair amount of detective work and scholarly conjecture. Yet when it comes to a figure like Edgar G. Ulmer, whose life and career often seem enshrouded in unverifiable claims, some of them quite extravagant-- for instance, that he was related to the eminent turn-of-the-century Viennese writer Arthur Schnitzler; that he once served as a case study for Freud's childhood analysis; that he invented the "unchained" camera, the dolly shot, and pioneered German expressionism; or perhaps most fabulous of all, that he directed the Atlanta fire sequence in Gone with the Wind and stepped in for Fellini to execute a long tracking shot in La dolce vita--it is perhaps fitting that what we know of his childhood be marked by a similar degree of murkiness, fantasy, and mendacity as his adult life...
from page 3
What first started you on this project?
Did you encounter any surprises in the course of your research?
What are your thoughts on the project, looking back?