The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.
Helena Bonham Carter,
A down-on-his-luck American Indian recently released from jail is offered the chance to "star" as the victim of a snuff film, the resulting pay of which could greatly help his poverty ... See full summary »
Martin Landau's winning of the 'Best Supporting Actor' Academy Award for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi marked the first time in Oscar history that a performer in any category won for playing an actual movie star. A decade passed before this happened again; when Cate Blanchett took the 'Best Supporting Actress' trophy for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator (2004). See more »
When Ed visits Bela Lugosi's home, sidewalk outside his house appears and disappears depending on whether camera is aimed at exterior of house or is depicting Lugosi's view from front door, indicating two different houses were used for scene. See more »
Immediately preceding the final credits, the film features a "What Ever Happened To" and/or "Where They Are Now" sequence about 'Edward D. Wood Jr.', Kathy Wood, Bela Lugosi, John Breckinridge, Dolores Fuller, Tor Johnson, Vampira, Paul Marco' , 'Conrad Brooks (I)', Tom Mason, and Criswell. The commentaries include such statements as: "Bela Lugosi never rose from the grave, but after appearing in 103 films, he is more famous than ever. Today, his movie memorabilia outsells Boris Karloff's by a substantial margin" and "Dolores Fuller, after leaving Ed, went on to a successful songwriting career. Her compositions include the Elvis Presley hits 'Rock-a-Hula Baby' and 'Do the Clam.'" See more »
I am a Johnny Depp fan, and this film only reinforced my enjoyment of his genuine talent. He's whatcha call a real actor. He's on record ("Inside the Actor's Studio" & elsewhere) as saying that his characterization of Wood was a mixture of "the blind optimism of Ronald Reagan, the enthusiasm of the Tin Man from 'The Wizard of Oz' (1939) and Casey Kasem." Well, I must add that either he left out channeling Jon Lovitz or that's where Lovitz got his inspiration, too. It is at moments positively eerie how well it works, and without feeling like Depp stole Lovitz's act--his overall character is so much more, so much else, that the Lovitz echo becomes a small part of a larger coherent whole, although it never disappears entirely.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Patricia Arquette as the principal women in Wood's life are each endearing and effective in their own separate ways. Bill Murray is fun as always, and the secondary and bit players are very well cast.
Martin Landau . . . well . . . Martin Landau simply left me awestruck. Depp is all over the screen doin' his best wacky movie guy and chewing the scenery, Parker, Arquette, Murray, and the rest are obviously having a real fun time backing him up, and Martin Landau is shuffling around in the foreground muttering in Romanian and writing a book called "How to Steal a Movie." Mind boggling performance, and absolutely deserving every award it got him in 1995, which included a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG Awards, and the American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. (Incidentally, his daughter Juliet, better known to millions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans as the vampire Drusilla, is one of the supporting players.)
If I weren't already a Tim Burton fan this movie would have made me one. He here makes an almost perfectly crafted period piece (anachronisms noted--see the "goofs" page--and dismissed), half cheesy fake scifi B movie and half period noir thriller, as a cinematic biography about the quintessential cheesy fake noir scifi thriller B movie guy. This film goes beyond pastiche, and beyond homage to a genre, although it is both. With this film Burton genuflects--no, prostrates himself--before the gods of 1950s low-budget black and white, and the gods are pleased indeed. It seems like he must have watched every movie made in America for under a million dollars between 1948 and 1962. I lost count of the echoes and parodies and pastiches and mini-homages that fill, I think, every darn frame of the movie, and which by no means are mostly of Wood and his work.
As with, I think, every movie biography, there's the odd gratuitous fact changing (see the "goofs" page again)--you know, the "Why'd they do that when the truth wouldn't make any difference?" kind of stuff, and as glowing as this review obviously is I must also say that it is in some ways an imperfect film--it glosses over Wood's later career, for example. But it it so obviously a labor of love and joy for all involved that in my opinion its imperfections are inconsequential. Ed Wood stands proudly, with that slightly odd gleam in its eye, with the best movie biographies made.
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