These late-period sci-fi yarns are among Edgar G. Ulmer's strangest and greatest. Shot simultaneously in only two weeks, they are preoccupied with scientific experimentation and transformation in the atomic age. The antihero in The Amazing Transparent Man is pressured into becoming invisible and stealing nuclear materials to create an invisible army for a power-hungry tyrant. Beyond the Time Barrier jumps into the postapocalyptic future where a test pilot is asked to inseminate a princess because the majority of futuristic males are sterile.
Both films feature Ulmer's playful use of geometry and landscapes. In Transparent Man, the vastness of the Texas exterior surrounding the isolated hideout opposes the interior attic set, which features intense corrugated ceilings. The landscapes invite movement and exploration while the ceiling pushes down on the characters and prohibits motion, a contrast that's turned on its head when the title character becomes invisible and is free to move about completely undetected by those around him. Meanwhile, the landscapes in Time Barrier are peppered with bombed-out buildings and half-collapsed structures, making the obsessively triangular interior of the atomic wonder-city all the more confounding and unknowable.
Even by Edgar G. Ulmer's obscure standards, these films are criminally underrated, and you shouldn't miss the chance to see them back to back projected on film.
Text courtesy of Sara Freeman, noted feminist film theorist and Ulmer devotee.