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I didn't really care for what I heard about the movie,... some cross-dressing terrible director,... but the story was so fascinating, I want to look up how much was real... every shot looked good. The story was told very well... though I think he had a few punchlines that fell flat due to knowing who Ed Wood is... like thinking he was going to have a smash hit or something... And of course Bela Lugosi... like there was a deeper meaning and story at least with his character. Really this movie had everything... really witty jokes, great drama, compelling circumstances and really emotional moments.
If you are a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, then chances are you've seen a (heavily riffed) Ed Wood film and probably laughed until you cried. Here, we have Tim Burton's loving tribute to and Johnny Depp's wacky, adorable performance as The Master of Bad Film Making, Edward D. Wood, Jr. Yes, Wood's movies are terrible, but he is nothing if not 100% committed to writing, directing, producing, and even starring in his "masterpieces." Nothing, not even a dead actor or an urgent desire to put on an angora sweater, could hold Ed Wood back from realizing a vision. And that's what makes this movie, and Wood's legacy, so special. The entire cast is fantastic, with particular standouts being Lisa Marie as Vampira, George "The Animal" Steele as the incomparable Tor Johnson, and of course Martin Landau, in his Oscar-winning performance as Bela Lugosi, the down-on-his-luck former horror-movie great. Bill Murray and Sarah Jessica Parker also shine in their roles as (respectively) Wood's eccentric friend Bunny and Wood's very frustrated girlfriend/wannabe actress Delores. Do yourself a big favor and see this movie about the life and unintentionally hilarious work of a true Hollywood legend.
Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2020
Yes Ed Wood fans there are people such as myself who have never heard of Ed Wood I just happened on this movie (2020) this movie by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp was released in 1994. This move is about a real man (movie director starring Johnny Depp) how true to life this movie is to Ed Wood's life i have no idea...but after looking Ed Wood up online to find out more about him the movies that are depicted in this movie are movies he actually directed. I'm not a fan of these kinds of movies and is probably the reason i had no clue who Ed Wood actually was. This movie like i said has a personality all its own is everything in it true (I have no idea) BUT regardless this is a very silly funny unique bizarre pleasantly entertaining....I was from beginning to end.
it may not be the one you envy or daydream about, but it did ultimately turn out to be a Hollywood success story of sorts. in fact, it has quite a few hallmarks of what's been called The Great American Success Story, the tale of the dedicated everyman who somehow makes something lasting out of the limited resources he has to work with. it's not quite the one the originators of the concept had in mind of course, but it does qualify. we may not want to admit it, but there's something potentially inspirational about Ed Wood. what the man lacked in talent he compensated for with raw determination. he faced obstacles and frustrations that would reduce many of us to rubble on a seemingly daily basis, but he refused to be daunted. they may say that Ed Wood COULDN'T make movies, but dagnabbit, they'll never say that Ed Wood DIDN'T make movies. this demonstration of which still stands as both Tim Burton's and Johnny Depp's finest work. (it's no less than a redemption for Burton, as it follows his all-time weakest effort, Batman Returns.) granted, Martin Landau got the lion's share of the kudos with his mesmerizing turn as Bela Lugosi, but he couldn't of done it if everyone else hadn't been on their game as well. it's one thing to steal the show, but it takes equally dedicated colleagues to make a show worth stealing. the principle thrust of the plot of course is Wood's relationship with Lugosi, centering on the three films they did together. these are two textbook lost souls. on top of his stubborn pursuit of cinema stardom, Wood has his crossdressing fetish, which is a particular no-no in the button-down '50s. the combination of the two finally costs him his relationship with actress Dolores Fuller. Lugosi is obviously a has-been - a running-gag has people Wood encounters assuming he was dead - but that's the least of his worries. his wife recently left him, he's become addicted to morphine, and the government cancels his welfare. in short, Bela particularly needed a friend when Ed found him. you'd expect a film centering on such strife and struggle to be a downer, but in fact the film has an incongruously sunny disposition. if it's heroes weren't a bunch of iconoclast weirdos, it could perhaps be taken for a Frank Capra movie. this works because it's subject was himself so willfully resistant to Cold Hard Reality. the film and it's subject wear the same prescription rose-colored glasses. because the film actually has a sneaking admiration, even affection, for Ed Wood. no one in the annals of cinema has been easier to belittle, and there was a certain amount of fear that Tim Burton would take that direction. Roger Ebert, upon learning of the film, reported feared a sarcastic mishmash of Sunset Boulevard and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. but nary a trace of the smarm that would take is anywhere evident. the film may not necessarily flatter Ed, but it understands and empathizes with him. just how much of this film should we take with the proverbial grain of salt? this is a complication common to biography films, because 90% of the time they have to speculate. it's not as if the screenwriters were privy to the discussions and decisions they have to communicate to an audience. all they really can do is offer the general "gist" of what happened. well, it is admitted in the commentary that the late meeting with Orson Welles is "complete baloney from start to finish," but apart from that this is an accurate gist. writing a biography or shooting a biopic is basically painting a portrait. personally, i've come to the conclusion that Ed Wood did indeed have a certain modicum of cinematic "gifts"...he just wasn't suited to hold the reins. i mean, Glen Or Glenda? has an impassioned as well as valid plea for brotherly love lurking under all that mess. also, no one's denying that Plan 9 From Outer Space was pitifully executed, but structurally speaking, it's plot is no worse that that of a thousand other films along the same lines. it even manages to make one insightful observation, where the alien soldier muses on hoe the living, who can think, should be so frightened of the dead, who cannot. and quite frankly, even in it's ultimate fiasco form Plan 9 beats the hell out of the giant-radioactive-bug thing that was in vogue at the time. so maybe all Ed needed to do to ensconce himself into the higher echelons of the "business" (and a less impoverished way of life) was to concentrate solely on writing. but of course it's that very incompetence that got him his cult status. if Ed Wood had had the sense to acknowledge his limits, he'd probably of been completely forgotten by now. the Fickle Finger Of Fate don't get much fickler than that.
Absolutely hilarious. If you've ever seen an Ed Wood movie (which I highly recommend before watching THIS movie), you will appreciate the lengths the producer went to to make this film so believable and, as a result, FUNNY!
The casting couldn't have been better, in my opinion. Depp was stellar in his portrayal of the cross-dressing Ed Wood, Jr. Martin Landau was equally amazing in his role as former horror movie actor Bela Lugosi. When you add Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeff Jones, Bill Murray and other notable names and you have an amazingly talented ensemble cast.
I can watch this movie again and again and laugh each time. And if you've never seen an Ed Wood movie, you have to trust me............they're every bit as bad as this movie depicts. Enjoy!
Edward D Wood Jr is easily Hollywood's worst writer, producer, director by some considerable margin. Even by the terrible standards of fifties B movies, Mr Wood stands out as a paragon for making cheap exploitation trash. However his total lack of any talent whatsoever is made up for with boundless enthusiasm, an unshakeable faith in his own genius and his love for ladies Angora sweaters.
When Ed meets, by sheer chance, a depressed and angry down on his luck Bela Lugosi, he over time befriends the old man and woos him into appearing in his latest “epic”. Lugosi's ill health and obvious drug addiction together with a lack of investors makes for a troubled and difficult production. Can he complete the picture, can Lugosi still act, will his very small crew rebel, can he get it distributed, will he be rightly hailed by his peers as a genius like his hero Orson Wells, will anyone even care? You'll have to watch to find out.
Tim Burton's beautifully crafted and affectionate biopic of the incomparable Edward D Wood Jr, played by Depp, is a wonder of character development over style. Although shot in stunning high contrast black and white film stock the piece still feels warm and genuinely intimate somehow. Although the “Burton style” is pushed into the background, his directorial flair and authority is still there in abundance, even if the cartoonish mayhem generally associated with Burton is missing entirely. The principal players like Depp, Landau, Parker, Jones, Arquette and Bill Murray commit totally to their roles and are extremely funny and engaging. Although all six shine throughout the acting honours have to go to Martin Landau who won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and other awards for his magnificent portrayal of the bitter and drug addled former A list Hollywood star. All departments came up trumps in this fabulously entertaining tribute to fifties Hollywood film-makers.
Made early in Burton's career after such triumphs as Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman and Batman Returns, Ed Wood is perhaps Burton's last truly great film. Winning two Oscars and garnering generally very good notices it still proved to offbeat for American audiences and did not do well at the box office.
Short but fascinating bio's of the real people are included in the end credits, s s don't miss them. It's films like Ed Wood that make me love the movies.
5.0 out of 5 starsan affectionate biopic of a true (truly awful) cinematic maverick
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 15, 2018
“I’m in pictures,” says Ed, in the scene where he first meets his future-wife Kathy. “I’m a director, writer, actor and producer.” “Aw, come on. Nobody does all that,” she replies. “Oh yes, they do. Two people. Orson Welles and me.”
‘Ed Wood’ is an excellent Tim Burton movie, from 1994, about the inept cult filmmaker Edward D. Wood jnr, focussing on a five-year period in his career (broadly speaking, ‘the Lugosi years’) - from Wood’s self-revealing study of transvestitism ‘Glen or Glenda’ to his most notorious sci-fi stinker ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’. One of the most entertaining things about Wood’s story is that we’re shown how, one-by-one, he happens to meet the assorted oddballs that he eventually gets to star in his movies: from drag queen Bunny Breckenridge (an amusing turn by Bill Murray), and Ed’s angora-sweater-wearing girlfriend Dolores (Sarah Jessica Parker), to crackpot ‘clairvoyant’ Criswell (Jeffrey Jones), burly Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson (played by George ‘the animal’ Steele), as well as blacklisted, buxom TV personality Vampira (brought to life, as it were, by Lisa Marie). Most important, though, is Wood’s chance encounter with washed-up, drug-addicted ‘Dracula’ star Bela Lugosi, and their touching friendship is at the heart of this fictionalized biopic. Martin Landau won an Oscar for his portrayal of Lugosi (in very clever Rick Baker make-up), while Wood himself is played with endearing, self-deluded enthusiasm by Johnny Depp. ( “Really? Worst film you ever saw? Well, my next one will be better.” )
A good two-hours long, Burton’s movie won me over straightaway with its lively title sequence: the cast’s names engraved on tombstones, an animated tentacle and UFOs - all set to music featuring theremin and bongo drums (from a score by composer Howard Shore). Admirably, Disney-Touchstone (albeit with some reluctance) did allow Burton to make ‘Ed Wood’ in black-and-white, and the film looks lovingly authentic with its recreation of 1950s locations. Indeed, it begins (and ends) with a pan over an impressive model of Hollywood in a thunderstorm - Ironically, for a story set in the real world, its special effects are so much better than those in the sci-fi / horror movies that Edward D. Wood made.
The DVD does ‘Ed Wood’ proud too, with an array of bonus features that include: a trailer, and a seven minute item about the theremin; ‘Pie Plates over Hollywood’ - a thirteen minute look at the remarkable production design by Tom Duffield; ‘When Carol met Larry’ - a featurette about cross-dressing; ‘Making Bela’ - about actor Lugosi, with comments by Martin Landau and Rick Baker; ‘Let’s Shoot this …’ - a fourteen minute glimpse behind the camera, showing Burton as he shoots a few of the actual scenes; plus a short music video starring the lovely Lisa Marie gyrating to the eerie strains of the theremin.
Most significantly, though, there’s a nice varied audio commentary by Burton and the writers, offering plenty of insights into the film, and reiterating their strange admiration for this hopeless director. One of the reasons that the biopic remained so sympathetic to Wood was due to the removal of scenes that painted him at his self-doubting worst. Apparently, there was also an episode, lifted from the script, that showed Ed’s impulsive marriage to actress Norma McCarty who left him because of his cross-dressing habits. There’s no sign of her in the film, despite the fact that she played a stewardess in ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’ - so one has to accept a little artistic license on the screenwriters’ behalf. (According to Wikipedia, Bela Lugosi got married in the last year of his life too, which may come as a surprise to those who know this film.) And the scene where Ed Wood meets Orson Welles in a bar was (sadly) pure fiction, as well. At one point, the commentary also makes a fascinating parallel between the director-actor relationship of Ed Wood and Lugosi, and Tim Burton and Vincent Price. Burton, of course, got to work with his own ‘horror-hero’ Price late in life, in the movie 'Edward Scissorhands'; plus Price narrated the wicked little animated work 'Vincent' (which can be found on 'The Nightmare before Christmas' DVD).
If you are gonna make a movie about a failure you should make a movie about one of the biggest movie failures of all time. Ironically after Ed Wood passed, leaving his movies behind! He started to fail upward as his classic movies like 'Plan 9' turned out to be fan favourites and classics. This movie is Johhny Depp's portrayal of this wonderful, colourful, misunderstood character known as Ed wood. What a great, charming, funny way to spend 90 minutes. Beautiful picture and sound on Blu-ray.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 3, 2017
It's not a brilliant film, and the tone drops here and there, but Depp's portrayal of the irrepressible Wood, and, particularly, Mr Landau's turn as Bela Lugosi, are very good. I've got a copy of one of the films they are shown trying to get made, ("Bride of the Monster"), and, yes it's pretty bad, but also actually rather entertaining; a good companion movie to 'Ed Wood.'
A fun and engaging biopic about a man with a passion and a total commitment to his artistic vision, that includes a giant octopus and an old Hungarian rolling around in a puddle in the middle of the night. A band of eccentrics and outcasts revolve around Ed Wood a constant optimist who tries (repeatedly) to be taken seriously as a film maker, even though his ideas make the typical B-movie look like an Oscar nominee.
Every second of the film has an otherworldly weirdness about it, an appropriate way to honour the man behind Plan Nine from Outerspace. The jokes are understated but amusing and the film manages to the darker moments there own dignity and respect.