Ed Wood

Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Tim Burton
Denise Di Novi
Written by Screenplay:
Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski
Book:
Rudolph Grey
(Nightmare of Ecstasy)
Starring Johnny Depp
Martin Landau
Patricia Arquette
Sarah Jessica Parker
Jeffrey Jones
Lisa Marie
Bill Murray
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Stefan Czapsky
Editing by Chris Lebenzon
Distributed by Touchstone Pictures
Release date(s) Limited release:
September 30, 1994
Wide release
October 7, 1994
Running time 127 min.
Country United States

Edward D. Wood Jr. is world-renowned as having directed some of the worst movies ever made. He was a director with lots of ideas and ambition but little talent or money. Most of the actors he used in his films were made up of friends, freaks and weirdos, as well as a drug addled and past his prime Bela Lugosi. Wood may have had little talent as a director and his films may be ridiculed as some of the worst of all time and they have an ill-conceived weirdness about them, yet they retain a sincerity in them and are never boring, which you cannot necessarily say about some of today’s big budget blockbusters.Despite his lack of talent and success there are very few Hollywood directors who can say that they have had their lives and career lovingly immortalised on film.

Depp is brilliant as Wood, in another of his quirkier roles. He plays Wood as someone full of childish enthusiasm for the movie business, and who doesn’t see his own limitations. He idolizes the great Orson Welles and in his own mind he is just as successful. I know that Burton must have taken a few liberties with the film, but I wonder if Wood honestly knew that what he was making was shit, or is he really thought of himself as an auteur making great works of art. Perhaps this is my own cynical nature that makes me think this, but there is no cynicism at all in Burton’s film. He and Depp portray Wood with all the reverence reserved for legends.

I must also make mention of Martin Landau’s Oscar-winning performance portraying screen legend Bela Lugosi, the original Dracula. He gives a sympathetic portrayal of Lugosi, who at the time he met Wood had hit rock bottom. His career was in tatters and he was in the grips of morphine addiction. A running joke throughout the film is when Ed tells potential backers that he is going to have Lugosi starring in his next movie project the response is usually, “Isn’t he dead?”.

This is a great little film that is very funny and quirky. It is a fascinating look at the life of someone who never knew that he was a failure and never gave up on his dreams.

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