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Edgar G. Ulmer: Bluebeard


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Its his best movie.  altho others might like Detour & The Black Cat.  I think I have 5 different versions of Bluebeard - so I'm somewhat of a fan of the movie.  Bluebeard has been vandalized so often that there is not one print that is complete.  All 5 of my copies have been tampered with.  If that is the case then Ulmer made a greater movie than he thought.


Let's talk about the TCM version.  Blurry - Its from France as it has Fin at the end.  If you recorded it - the cuts occurred during the puppet show.  Whoever it was who cut it had good reason to.  The main idea of the puppets is the love of the two puppets being expressed and mephistopheles doing his evil best to destroy their love.   John Carradine worked the devil puppet & during a certain part in which his puppet is off stage decides to see if the girl he invited was there.  He looks thru a hole & sees Lucille.  Its a judas hole. That is what is called whereby ladies can be seen undressing.  Half of the judas hole was cut (in the TCM version)  So much for the theory TCM shows uncut movies.

Jeanette Lebeau (jean Harlow)  his first victim



Renee got too uppity so she had to take a swim





After the puppet show Renee who was the voice of Margeurite has a showdown with Carradine & is bumped.  But Carradine got careless & left a clue thereby his goose was cooked.

Francine tried to out fox Bluebeard.  But she was too slow to catch on




Took 6 days to make.  It has to be the greatest low budget movie ever.  Photographed by Eugen Shufftan - It has a german expressionist style.


Think I'll buy another version.  5 is not enough.  :D

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For those unfamiliar with Bluebeard, Hollywood at that time (WWII) allowed movies about psycho killers.  Fox made Hangover Square, The Lodger & I Wake Up Screaming all starring Laird Cregar.  MGM made Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Picture of Dorian Gray, There are many other examples.  Bluebeard was a great success as it was based on a true story.  

If you look at picture #3, this is not in the movie.  What you see is Carradine open his eyes real wide & you hear a scream.  Its possible the censorship folks forced Ulmer to make a cut.  Its a dissolve.  So you are getting your moneys worth of info with a scene not shown.  I'll be passing around a hat later on.  :)

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The TCM version is from a dvd package of Ulmer movies.  The print is from Cinemateque Francaise.  You can tell by two things.  At one point it says Surete General which dissolves into State Police.  The TCM version does not dissolve.  It just says Surete General.

The End on the french version (TCM) says Fin.

I have the Roan version.  It really is the best But the print used by Night Flight is better.

5 versions:  Alpha, Sinister Cinema, Ulmer pack (tcm), Night Flight, Roan  Buy all 5 NOW! Setup 5 tvs with 5 dvd players and watch all 5 at the same time.  :)

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I said I own 5 different versions


all of them are vandalized.  there are frames missing thus causing a jump cut.  and the black portions between scenes is missing.  it disrupts the rhythm.  usually if a film is located outside the usa most likely it will be free of vandalism.  England has saved alot of prints of movies trashed here.  :)

buy them all.  you'll be glad you did.


ulmer's wife said Fromkess did not want Ulmer to make Bluebeard.  They argued alot she said.  & fought over the puppet scene.  Ulmer hired puppeteer  Bill Brown who had the actual puppets.  They were stolen and when he got them back Marguerite & Faust were ruined.  Only mephistopheles was intact with costume.  He said when they filmed it he was not told there was going to be fire used.  He leaned forward and the fire came up fast & burnt his eye brows.  Ulmer's wife said Eugen Schufftan was amazing.  He did so much on the movie & got no credit at all.  She said Ulmer loved Erdody's music - a brilliant musician.  Used him on every movie.

In Bluebeard he utilised Pictures at an Exhibition at certain moments.  Some have said there is too much music.  The entire movie is the Schufftan process - matt painting on glass.  Its called the Schufftan process but the man could not be accepted into the hollywood union. for cinematographers.  he practically invented the art! 

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