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The Invisible Hand in Popular CultureLiberty vs. Authority in American Film and TV$
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Paul A. Cantor

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813140827

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813140827.001.0001

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The Fall of the House of Ulmer

The Fall of the House of Ulmer

Europe versus America in the Gothic Vision of The Black Cat

(p.223) 7 The Fall of the House of Ulmer
The Invisible Hand in Popular Culture

Paul A. Cantor

University Press of Kentucky

Chapter Seven discusses Edgar Ulmer's The Black Cat as the creation of a high modernist European émigré working in a lowbrow American genre, the horror movie. Ulmer portrays a self-destructive generation of Europeans permanently scarred by the horrors of World War I. Into their world, he introduces a young American couple on their honeymoon, who, in their naïveté, are almost destroyed by the mad Europeans, but escape their satanic clutches in the end. Hoping to succeed in his newly adopted homeland, Ulmer seems to turn his back on his European heritage as a dead end, and yet he cannot help suggesting the cultural superiority of his sophisticated European characters. The Black Cat takes its place in a long line of European works critical of American culture, while at the same time raising serious doubts about Europe's future in the 1930s.

Keywords:   Edgar Ulmer, The Black Cat, European émigré, horror movie, World War I

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