Ed Wood
"Alternately hilarious and touching."

If you have watched Glen Or Glenda, Bride Of The Monster, or Plan 9 From Outer Space, you'll know all about cringeworthy entertainment. These movies are so outrageously bad that you'll enjoy them, no doubt, but you'll have to look away whenever it gets REALLY bad. What was Ed Wood thinking? At least, his cast had the excuse that a paycheck is a paycheck.

Call it irony, but Tim Burton has assembled a fine cast of character actors and made a film about the worst director of all time, that cost more than all of Ed Wood's movie budgets put together.

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Say what you want about him, but 50 years after his monstrosities were produced, people are still watching them. I doubt you could guarantee the same for Pearl Harbor, or Road To Perdition.

Martin Landau carried away an Academy Award, as Best Supporting Actor, as did Rick Baker for his make up effects. But, even with these selling points, audiences never gave it a chance, which is a real shame because the movie needs to be seen to be believed.

Chronicling the events of the mid-Fifties, through the production of the aforementioned turkeys, Tim Burton's biopic achieves the impossible. We, the audience, side with Ed, despite the fact that if he was alive today, he would be subjecting us to some truly godawful crap (*cough*Michael Bay*cough*).

Alternately hilarious and touching, our sympathies lie with Wood and his ever loyal, declining co-star Bela Lugosi (a barely recognisable Landau). Other characters pop up, including the hairy-as-hell Tor Johnson (George 'The Animal' Steele), a wannabe transsexual (Bill Murray), a very, very buxom Elvira-type (Lisa Marie), the most famous predictor in the land (Jeffrey Jones) and a beleaguered Orson Welles (Vincent D'Onofrio) - a typical assortment of rejects, failures and weirdos.

Burton is inclined to produce a flop, when he indulges too much. Just as the audiences stayed away from Mars Attacks!, they never even considered Ed Wood, because of the black-and-white photography, which was a truly inspired decision. One cannot imagine how much the movie's legitimacy would have been lessened if it was in colour.

I must assure you that, no matter how offbeat and strange it looks, this film is an absolute classic that begs to be seen. It may not be to everyone's taste, but it has a wicked sense of humor and is sure to have you in stitches. And it definitely gets the Gator MacReady Claw of Approval.

Reviewed on: 23 Nov 2002
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Biopic of 'the worst director of all time'.
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Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski

Starring: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, G.D. Spraldin, Vincent D'Onofrio, Bill Murray, Lisa Marie

Year: 1994

Runtime: 125 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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If you like this, try:

Ed Wood: Vol 2
Plan 9 From Outer Space