Cinematic Cities: Moon over Harlem

Moon Over Harlem (1939) (69 mins Meteor Productions)
Direction: Edgar G. Ulmer
Cinematography: Burgi Contner & Edward Hyland
Music: Donald Heywood & his orchestra

A shady gambler marries a wealthy widow to get his hands on her money – and her daughter. Moon Over Harlem, a ‘black race’ movie was shot by Ulmer in just four days for US$8,000.

10 thoughts on “Cinematic Cities: Moon over Harlem”

  1. Amazing stuff here Tony! I haven’t seen this film, but of course I love DETOUR and THE BLACK CAT, and Ulmer’s expressionistic style, but in view of my love for musical films, I am embarrased to admit I haven’t look at this. I have no valid reason for this, except that I never got around to it. This is a great clip, and follow-up to your great post of weeks back examining blacks in the cinema.


  2. maybe it’s a strange request, Toni, but can you write a review of “taxi driver”? it will make me really happy

    maybe it’s not best 70’s flick, maybe it’s not best (neo) noir, but it’s best samurai movie for sure, if you know what i mean

    “partly truth, partly fiction,walking contradiction”


  3. Hey kilgort. This is the first time someone has actually asked me for a review! It has been over 20 years since I last saw Taxi Driver, so I would need to see it again. At the moment though I have more than the blues and feel a certain disaffection with my writing, of which I am my own worst critic, so we shall see… Thanks for asking.


  4. Hi! Tony,
    Just like your previous post very interesting…Even though he (Ulmer) was “reduced” to making “B”
    movies on the “cheap”…you, can tell that he had a very “keen” eye for great moving making.

    When I use to post on this film noir message board I asked some of the members, why Ulmer, was “reduced” to making “B” films and they told me without “mincing” words, but if your readers, would like to know just follow the link…
    Edgar G.Ulmer

    DeeDee 😉


  5. Tony said,“At the moment though I have more than the blues and feel a certain disaffection with my writing, of which I am my own worst critic, so we shall see… Thanks for asking.”

    Hi! Tony,
    I hope that you get over the “blues” very soon!
    Because I think that your writing is very good…I just posted three films that you reviewed…and even though the reviews are concise…they are very honest, and very descriptive and very straight to the point.

    Once again, thank-you, for sharing!

    PostScript: I plan to email you, as we “wrap” up your very well planned and pleasant visit with me as we looked at 31 films that you thought “merit” special attention.

    Take care!
    DeeDee 😉


  6. A most fascinating video excerpt, Tony (I’m sad to say I have not seen this film) and I’d love to see a review of Taxi Driver from you as well.

    Please don’t let the blues stay with you for too long, my friend, and know that many of us are avid fans of your richly poetic writing.


  7. Nice shots indeed.
    I figure $8000 was a lot of money back then, but I’m still impressed at the ‘4 days’ mark. I haven’t seen the film and, if it’s any good, this time frame certainly means clarity of ideas!


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