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August 25, 2015

Episode 233: The Black Cat (1934)

Special Guests: Noah Isenberg, Edward G. Pettit
Guest Co-Host: Maitland McDonagh

The first big American studio film -- and last big American studio film - directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, The Black Cat is, uh, "inspired" by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story and stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in a taut game of life and death.

We talk with Noah Isenberg, author of Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins and the "Philly Poe Guy", Edward G. Pettit to compare the film with the Poe story. And, we're joined by special guest co-host Maitland McDonagh.

Superstitious? Perhaps... Baloney? Perhaps not.

Listen/Download Now:

Buy The Black Cat on DVD
Buy The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe
Buy Edgar G Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins by Noah Isenberg
Read For Criterion Consideration: Edgar G. Ulmer's The Black Cat by Joshua Brunsting
Visit Maitland McDonagh's 120 Days Books website
Buy books by Maitland McDonagh
Follow the Philly Poe Guy on Twitter
Listen to our episode on Ulmer's Detour
Hear more Maitland McDonagh
Hear more Ed Pettit

"Allegro Moderato" - Franz Schubert
"Andante Con Moto" - Franz Schubert
"The Cat Came Back" - Sonny James



  1. At 9:16 it is stated that 1930 was the start of the Hayes Code and therefore "The Black Cat" is a "Post Code Movie." In 1930 the Code was NOT strongly enforced and for the next four years those movies we consider "Pre-Code" flourished. July 1, 1934, signaled the end of the pre-Code era. Wrote historian Thomas Doherty in PRE-CODE HOLLYWOOD SEX, IMMORALITY AND INSURRECTION IN AMERICAN CINEMA, 1930-1934: “American cinema changed. During that month, the Production Code Administration, popularly known as the Hays Office, began to regulate, systematically and scrupulously, the content of Hollywood motion pictures. "The Black Cat" was released in May 1934. If it had been presented to the Censors just two months later, it would have been COMPLETELY REJECTED.

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