Not without self-irony, Michael Palm pays homage to the man who is often called the king of B-movies. Edgar G. Ulmer is one of the more provocative authors in movie history. A set designer, production designer, and co-director with the likes of Max Reinhardt, F.W. Murnau, Fritz Lang and Ernst Lubitsch in the 1920s, he joined the parade of émigrés from the Viennese high-art community who came to America and changed its artistic landscape. In 1934, he made the Universal classic The Black Cat, pushing the limits of acceptability even for that period's gruesome horror films. A year later he was toiling in the depths of poverty row. He began this part of his career by making bargain-basement westerns under the name of John Warner, and then he directed a series of cheap ethnic-market movies - Ukrainian, Yiddish, black - before moving into the phase for which he's best known: a string of stylish low-budget 1940s horror films and noirs (Bluebeard, Strange Illusion, Detour, The Strange Woman, Ruthless). The precise cause of Ulmer's early fall from grace has yet to be determined with absolute accuracy, but his cuckolding of the son of a powerful Hollywood mogul, along with his well-known personal intransigence and refusal/inability to put commercial considerations over aesthetics, must have been major factors.