Edgar G. Ulmer

 

 

 

1.

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?

 

 

Recycled Stars