The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and
television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality
for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews
that are positive for a given film or television show.
From the Critics
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or
higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for
limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
Edgar George Ulmer was one of the very few genuinely creative filmmakers who, for a time, chose the world of low-budget B-films over the more opulent milieu of mainstream, high-profile A-pictures. Born in Vienna, Austria, he worked as a stage actor and set designer while studying architecture and philosophy, and later joined the company of the legendary German theatrical producer Max Reinhardt. He first visited America in connection with a Reinhardt production, and became briefly involved with Universal Pictures in the mid-'20s. On his return to Germany he served as an assistant to filmmaker F.W. Murnau, and worked as art director on the latter's film Sunrise, which was shot in Hollywood in 1927. Ulmer went back to Germany to co-direct Menschen am Sonntag (1929) in collaboration with Robert Siodmak. He emigrated to Hollywood in the early '30s, working as a writer on movies such as Tabu and as an art director. By 1933, Ulmer had been signed to Universal as a director, making his debut with The Black Cat (1933), a bizarre and harrowing horror film starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, that seemed designed to startle the viewer at every turn, intermingling elements of grisly sadism and knowing black comedy. The Black Cat remains one of the more distinctive of Universal's horror films of the 1930s, and it seemed to herald the arrival of a major new talent in the genre. Ironically, it was also to be Ulmer's last movie for a major studio for 14 years. Sometime after his arrival on the Universal lot, he'd made the acquaintance of Shirley Kassler Alexander, an employee of the script department and the wife of Max Alexander, a producer at Universal and also a nephew of studio owner Carl Laemmle. The two fell in love, which immediately put her job and Ulmer's American career in jeopardy -- he directed one low-budget Western, Thunder Over Texas, under the pseudonym "John Warner" for tiny Beacon Pictures, based on one of her scripts. Soon after, she divorced Alexander and the two were barred from the Universal lot. She married Ulmer, a union that lasted until his death nearly 40 years later. In the meantime, however, the director discovered that he was effectively blackballed from the Hollywood film industry. Ulmer was forced to return to the East Coast to get any film work over the next few years. There was still a movie industry of sorts in New York. Very few talented hands from Hollywood ever made the trip east, and Ulmer, with his experience both in Hollywood and in Germany (and a hit Hollywood movie under his belt), was something of a find for anyone producing movies in New York. He, in turn, found a place where he could continue his career, making films in Yiddish for producers aiming at that audience (which was considerable, right up to the advent of World War II), and also documentaries such as the venereal disease educational/exploitation movie Damaged Lives, and, later still, movies with all black casts for the theater circuits catering to black communities. It was during this period that Ulmer began making his reputation -- with a lot of help from Shirley Ulmer as a screenwriter and script editor -- as something of a cinematic magician, who could make good ideas work on screen for very little money. Contrary to the conventional wisdom about Ulmer, that he spent his career avoiding high-profile projects and the major studios, he did have ambitions beyond the scope of 62-minute thrillers and dramas. He hoped to be hired by one of the major studios, and in 1941-1942 Paramount seemed interested -- there was apparently even discussion about his remaking The Blue Angel with Veronica Lake. In 1943, at the prompting of expatriate German producer Seymour Nebenzal, with whom Ulmer had a longstanding friendship, he approached Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC), a B-studio that stood at the very bottom of the barrel of Hollywood's "Poverty Row." PRC had enjoyed two good years and was beginning to upgrade its releases under the guidanc