Combustible Celluloid
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With: John Carradine, Jean Parker, Nils Asther, Ludwig Stossel, George Pembroke, Teala Loring, Sonia Sorel, Henry Kolker, Emmett Lynn, Iris Adrian, Patti McCarty, Carrie Devan, Anne Sterling
Written by: Pierre Gendron, based on a story by Werner H. Furst, Arnold Phillips
Directed by: Edgar G. Ulmer
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 72
Date: 11/11/1944

Bluebeard (1944)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Puppet Stings

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This is Edgar G. Ulmer's third masterpiece, after The Black Cat (1934) and Detour (1945); it's one of his few films that overcame its wretched budget. John Carradine plays Gaston Morrell, a puppeteer and artist in Paris who seduces young women to pose for him, and then knocks them off. Strangely, the film consists of mostly interiors and dialogue, but what sticks in the mind is the striking costumes, the vivid artwork and puppet-craft, as well as those few scenes that capture the flavor of Ulmer's Expressionist past: such as the one in which Gaston dumps his bodies in the river under a creepy bridge. (Note: the movie is in the public domain, but the best DVD version to date is in the "Edgar G. Ulmer: Archive" box set.)

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