It says a great deal about the reputation of your father.
Then the next thing that happened, I had the bidding war going for the video and theatrical rights in the US. I gave it to Kino. This is before the picture is even in a treatment form! There's nothing, there's just my work.
I don't imagine that it was difficult to get [Peter] Bogdanovich and [Roger] Corman and the Corman protégés, Joe Dante and John Landis. They're all very much influenced, one way or another, by the work of your father.
Well, of course! That's why they're friends of mine. But I also have another unfair advantage. My husband was, for 23 years, the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for Technicolor. So we ended up with nothing but our friends being cinematographers and editors and, in some instances, executives and legal people from the majors, because he would be dealing with them for contracts. That's how I could get into the majors. I worked for about thirty years as a distributor of independent film and I had my own company later on, so I knew the mechanics of what I had to get by the end of the day. I started with rights, and cleared all of that.
The next thing I did, with my lab knowledge, was clean up the actual materials. For instance, the Bogdanovich interview was quarter-inch tape. I rented a sound house and, in down-time at three in the morning for a year, they cleaned it up and handed me back a soundtrack. In return, I gave that to the Academy [Film Archive] and gave a copy to Bogdanovich and we worked on the soundtrack. The truth is the ten years were necessary when I was in the midst of them. I needed all that time to do the physical stuff that had to be in place to make this film a reality.
The documentary obviously benefits from that research and all that information that's in there. There are scenes in the film from three of your father's pictures that I've always wanted to see - The Naked Dawn, Beyond the Time Barrier, which you appear in, and The Cavern, the topic of a great sequence toward the end of The Man Off-Screen with John Saxon and Peter Marshall discussing their work on the film. How likely is it that these three films will see the light of day?
Well, The Naked Dawn belongs to Universal. It wasn't made for them, but it was a negative pick-up that they own in perpetuity.
And they're just going to sit on it?
Well, I hope not. The fact is that they have wonderful material. One other aspect of my work is to call up and say, "Please, for God's sake, if you're not putting it out, you should at least do this, this and that." I talked them into doing a separation master so, at least it's preserved.
It looked as if the footage from The Naked Dawn that appears in the documentary is turning a little bit.
Three years ago, they created a film preservation master. It was originally shot in three-strip Technicolor and I worked on the master to some degree with them. In some instances, it's me pushing an institution for their own benefit and, in this case, it worked out very well. They have the material there. They have not got a print that is worth talking about. What you saw is coming off their video master.
It was released on tape at some point?
Yeah. That's the material that I was able to get access to. The footage for The Cavern came from 20th Century Fox. Again, you just have to know who to call. Most people don't want to bother with the paperwork because there's no visible benefit to them. You have to have people that just love it for the sake of it. I found somebody over at Paramount that was that way.
I noticed in the closing credits that the interview between your father and Peter Bogdanovich, used extensively throughout the documentary, took place between September 17th, the date of your father's birthday, and the 30th of 1970. I noticed that you have the rights to those interviews, or you share the rights with Peter.
Well, Peter gave them to me. He was extremely generous and gave me all rights in all media in perpetuity because the Edgar G. Ulmer Preservation Corporation is a non-profit. He wanted me to utilize it in any way that would be useful.
The text of this interview is also reproduced in Who the Devil Made It...
It was originally put out in King of the B's. It had been in one other publication before that. The minute Peter did it, he started publishing it. Now, there's more to it than what you heard. There's twelve hours.
I figured that there must be quite a bit of material.
Yes, quite a bit.
Different excerpts appear in different forms.
So the original idea came about that when I wanted to do a documentary, since I didn't have a lot of film on Dad - I didn't have any - I resorted to the narrative that he had in all those hours. Not that it would necessarily always be his voice, but at least we had exactly what he said. There were other interviews that were done in France that were published in Cahiers du cinéma.
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