Film Review: Ed Wood (1994)

Into the Dark: Video Vault Review - Ed Wood

I doubt Tim Burton will ever make a finer film. Armed with a powerhouse screenplay by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, Burton turns the biography of Hollywood’s most infamously bad director into a poignant and hilarious film.  The film is admittedly white-washed, concentrating and embellishing upon Ed Wood’s relationship with Dracula star Bela Lugosi, and the making of now-infamous films like Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 from Outer Space. It skips over Wood’s later, seedier years. But who cares? This is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, chock full of witty one-liners and memorable performances.

Into the Dark: Video Vault Review - Ed Wood

Martin Landau in his Oscar-winning turn as Bela Lugosi

Johnny Depp colors his title performance with a believable sense of naivete and inexplicable courage, necessary for getting an audience to empathize with a transvestite hack who thinks he’s the next Orson Wells. Martin Landau shines in his Oscar-winning characterization of Lugosi, balancing tender moments of fear and insecurity with joyous, over-the-top moments (of which my favorite is when he is asked to jump in a makeshift pool and pretend an inflatable octopus is killing him). And then there’s Bill Murray as the effete Bunny Breckinridge. Murray, as we all know, is a genius. At one point, Wood has his ragtag team of misfits and losers get baptized in order to secure financing. When the preacher asks Bunny, “Do you renounce Satan and all his evils,” Murray simply responds, “Sure.” But it’s enough to make me roll out of my chair laughing.

In fact, it’s hard for me to go five minutes without laughing out loud at Ed Wood. Adding to the film’s cinematic appeal are its gorgeous black & white cinematography by Stefan Czapsky and quirky music score by Howard Shore. Don’t let the fact that it’s a biopic turn you off — Ed Wood is a true cinematic delight.

Rating: 4.5/5 ★★★★½ 

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About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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