Damaged Lives (June 13, 1933)

Damaged Lives
 

Released on June 13, 1933: (running time 54 minutes) A young businessman about to be married has a one night stand with a woman who may have given him a life-ending disease.

Produced by J.J. Allen, Maxwell Cohn and Nat Cohn

Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer

The Actors: Diane Sinclair (Joan Bradley), Lyman Williams (Donald Bradley Jr.), Harry Myers (Nat Franklin), Marceline Day (Laura Hall), Jason Robards Sr. (Doctor Bill Hall), Charlotte Merriam (Elise Cooper), Murray Kinnell (Doctor Vincent Leonard), George Irving (Donald Bradley Sr.), Cecilia Parker (Rosie), Almeda Fowler (Mrs. Bradley), Harrison Greene (policeman), Victor Potel (unknown), Harry Semels (waiter)

 

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Edgar Ulmer, Director Extraordinaire

Edgar G. Ulmer was a Jewish director who learned his craft from Max Reinhardt and F.W. Murnau in Vienna. Before I tell you about his first movie in America, let me tell you about his second movie. Edgar Ulmer directed his second feature film for Universal Studios starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi and it became the biggest moneymaker for Universal that year, and a large part of the credit went to Edgar Ulmer for his amazing and unique style of framing the scenes.

Unfortunately, Ulmer’s career then crashed because he had an affair with and subsequently married the wife of the nephew of the head of Universal. The head of Universal was quite a powerful man in Hollywood, and at his request no major studio would ever hire Edgar Ulmer after that. From that time on he was only hired by poverty row small-time movie studios and independent producers, and his unique artistic style made many low-budget stories become quite breathtaking.

He also directed many Ukrainian ethnic movies, including the Yiddish ‘Green Fields’ with director Jacob Ben-Ami. Then in 1945 the poverty row studio Producers Releasing Corporation hired him to direct a noir crime thriller, and it became such a cult favorite that the Library of Congress included it when it selected 100 motion pictures worthy of special preservation. Producers Releasing Corporation went out of business and did not renew the copyright on that movie and you can watch it here: Detour —».

So, Edgar Ulmer’s second Hollywood movie was a hit, and later Detour was a huge hit, but do you wonder what the first motion picture that he directed in Hollywood was like? Wonder no more, this is it. Our drama begins with a young and wealthy man who is out for the evening with a business partner. This leads to that and the young man has a torrid one-night-affair with a beautiful young blonde.

Racked with guilt, he confesses to the girl that he wants to marry, and she insists that they get married that very night and put the whole thing behind them. More drama ensues, and then the scene. Thee Scene.

One of the most powerfully emotional scenes that I have ever watched. Not one word of dialogue, but the music and the movements are gripping, can't-look-away mesmerizing, and unforgettable. The music is unlike most motion picture background music of that time. The leading lady’s movements are worthy of a ballet stage. A loving scene with several camera shots that are worthy of an art gallery. And yes, I am describing a suicide scene unlike anything you have seen before. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Charlotte Merriam
Charlotte Merriam
Charlotte Merriam, Lyman Williams
Charlotte Merriam, Lyman Williams
Charlotte Merriam
Charlotte Merriam
Charlotte Merriam
Charlotte Merriam
Diane Sinclair
Diane Sinclair
Diane Sinclair, Lyman Williams
Diane Sinclair, Lyman Williams
Diane Sinclair
Diane Sinclair
Diane Sinclair, Lyman Williams
Diane Sinclair, Lyman Williams
Diane Sinclair
Diane Sinclair
Diane Sinclair
Diane Sinclair
George Irving
George Irving
Harry Myers, Cecilia Parker
Harry Myers, Cecilia Parker
Jason Robards Sr.
Jason Robards Sr.
Jason Robards, Lyman Williams
Jason Robards, Lyman Williams
Harry Myers and Cecilia Parker
Harry Myers and Cecilia Parker
Jason Robards Sr.
Jason Robards Sr.
Jason Robards Sr., Lyman Williams
Jason Robards Sr., Lyman Williams
Jason Robards Sr., Marceline Day
Jason Robards Sr., Marceline Day
Lyman Williams
Lyman Williams
Lyman Williams and Charlotte Merriam
Lyman Williams and Charlotte Merriam
Lyman Williams, Jason Robards Sr.
Lyman Williams, Jason Robards Sr.
Lyman Williams, Diane Sinclair
Lyman Williams, Diane Sinclair
Lyman Williams
Lyman Williams
Marceline Day
Marceline Day
Marceline Day
Marceline Day
Murray Kinnell
Murray Kinnell