Ed Wood

Director: Tim Burton

The medium for Burton’s story is Edward D. Wood. Jr., who long ago was accorded the title of ”Worst Director’ in Hollywood History on the evidence of movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space. Woods art is a mutation, writes his biographer, Rudolph Grey. There is no one remotely like him. An all-American boy who enlisted in the marines at the age 17, he became a war hero after brutal conflicts with the Japanese in the South Pacific. All the while he was a transvestite, an outsider to the mainstream of life.
Wood’s fetish won him his first big break when the was given the opportunity to direct a movie exploiting the hot subject of sex changes. The result, Glen or Glenda, represented a far stranger and more personal vision than the products were comfortable with, but the movie travelled the back roads of the exploitation circuit for years and provided inspiration for future directors like David Lynch and John Waters.
The Film’s climax is a chance encounter between Wood and his cinematic ideal, Orson Welles (played with eerie conviction by Vincent d’Onofrio), who admits to having his own difficulty in finding money to make films. The disparity between Wood’s talent and that of Welles is comical, but Burton doesn’t treat it so. Ed Wood demonstates that, some times the intent to be great is almost enough. Rightly acclaimed as a cult movie and curiously tender spin on what could easily have bee portrayed as a life of abject failure. From its amazing opening credit sequence, in which the cast names appear on tombstones, to ist poignant end (That’s it. This is the one I’ll be remembered for says Wood at the premiere of Plan 9) Ed Wood is a marvellous film. The performances are all excellent, but the acting honours are stolen by Martin Landau’s astonishing, Oscar-winning triumph as Bela Lugosi.

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