Ed Wood (1994)

Ed Wood is not as you might assume, a biopic about the famously terrible director, but instead a homage to him and his work. It follows Edward Wood from his days of directing plays, to his close friendship with Bela Lugosi, who he admires greatly, all the way to his most famous film, Plan 9 From Outer Space.

With this film you get to see what Ed Wood was like as a person, a director and a friend and the insight we are given shows that just because he made terrible, terrible films, it doesn’t mean he was a terrible person, he was a visionary with poor taste, but an amazingly friendly guy who never judged anyone.

Two roles stood out for me in this film –

Johnny Depp as Edward Wood is fantastic, pure brilliance. Ed Wood is portrayed as an almost constantly perky, upbeat person who takes everyone at face value and is very trusting. Ed Wood is shown working so hard to get a film into production just for his friend and idol Bela Lugosi and you truly feel the love these two share.

Martin Landau is equally as brilliant as a washed up Bela Lugosi who is addicted to Morphine and is living purely off unemployment cheques from the government. Yet when Wood enters his life, he suddenly has a friend who truly believes in him and works to get him roles in films. This makes their friendship solid and the actors pull it off perfectly, you honestly feel that these guys are close friends. Landau also gives us a look inside the mind of an addict, lying to friends, spending his money to get his fix and how it affects his relationships with people, this, again, is pulled off seemingly effortlessly. Landau won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this role, deservedly so.

Tim Burton is usually a very stylistic director however it doesn’t show too much in this film, perhaps because it is in black and white so no colour flairs could be seen, however it could also be because he is depicting a real persons life and as Wood is one of Burton’s favourite directors maybe he wanted to show respect to Wood.
Ed Wood is definitely a love letter from Burton to the late Edward Wood as the whole film is truly a homage to Wood.
The cinematography, camera angles and tracking shots are standard yet they also suit the film as it is going back to the 50’s way of filming.

I had always been told to watch Ed Wood, being told it is probably Burton’s best. Well i finally watched it thanks to this list, however it is not Burton’s best, i don’t know why but i expected a darker film, perhaps because Burton pulls off darker films better (Sweeney Todd, Batman, Batman Returns, Beetlejuice, etc).

I also felt that the films pacing was terrible, probably due to the fact that this is a bloated film at just over 2 hours long with not enough story to keep things going, so entire stretches of the film just seem stagnant. However it is an interesting story with some great performances and is definitely worth a watch, just the once though.


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