A young American painter and his French wife move with their small daughter to the US when the husband's father dies. His mother takes an instant dislike to the wife, and when she finds out... See full summary »
Edgar G. Ulmer
Moishe Oysher gives his most robust performance as a passionate shtetl blacksmith who must struggle against temptation to become a mensch. Ulmer's film is a musical version of David Pinski's classic 1906 play Yankl der Schmid.
Hassan, the Kadi of Bagdad, has a harem housing twelve beauties, but concentrates his attention on Zohara. A newcomer, Kyra, introduces rebellion into the by the unheard of act of ... See full summary »
Edgar G. Ulmer
Gypsy Rose Lee,
Lorry and Minnie are ex-hookers who leave prison, determined to find the good life with rich men. Along the way Lorry meets and falls in love with cotton barge owner Dan. She must choose ... See full summary »
Gregory La Cava
Nat Silver has been engaged 7 times already. This time, his 8th, he's really going to get married. But a visitor shows up, Shirley's old boyfriend. With a gun ! He'll kill himself unless he... See full summary »
Edgar G. Ulmer
This movie begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral, so one would expect it to be a tragedy. In fact, it is uplifting and exciting. This is actually an extraordinary portrayal of Harlem around the 1930's. It is the richest and most interesting portrayal of life recorded in that period. After watching hundreds of films where Afro-Americans are limited to cameo roles as smiling, dancing servants, it is exciting to see them portraying three dimensional people. Only King Vidor's "Cabin in the Sky" matches it for intensity and realism.
This film was shot in four days on an $8,000 budget by the cinema genius director, "King of the B's" Edgar Ulmer. It unfortunately has technical problems in the first reel, on the Platinum DVD, I watched. It was difficult to understand the dialog over the noisy soundtrack for about five minutes. However, the soundtrack improves quite significantly and the problem soon disappears.
The plot of the film is a political reformer (read "communist" in the subtext) fighting against a hoodlum who has been running an insurance=protection racket. This could have been totally stereotyped in lesser hands, but Ulmer and his screenwriter wife, Shirley, has been able to make both characters believable and interesting. The reformer really does love Harlem and really does want to unite black people. Even the gangster responds to this idea of unity, refusing to go along with the white gangsters who actually control crime in Harlem.
A couple of other amazing things about this film: it contains perhaps the first inter-racial romance and almost kiss (there is a cut just before the lips touch) and their is an incestuous sub-plot about a step-father lusting after his step-daughter.
This is a unique film and anybody who wants to see what the Golden age of Hollywood might have been like if it wasn't so racist should see it.
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