Because of his eccentric habits and bafflingly strange films, director Edward D. Wood Jr. is a Hollywood outcast. Nevertheless, with the help of the formerly famous Bela Lugosi and a devoted cast and crew of show-business misfits who believe in Ed's off-kilter vision, the filmmaker is able to bring his oversize dreams to cinematic life. Despite a lack of critical or commercial success, Ed and his friends manage to create an oddly endearing series of extremely low-budget films.Written by
In a scene with Wood and Dolores, the camera angle showing the ceiling, is similar to a scene in Citizen Kane (1941). In the very next scene, Wood stands in front of a poster for the same film. See more »
Ed and Bela are watching a 1958-1960 Philco Predicta television, made at least four years later. It then changes to a mid-50s Packard-Bell television. See more »
[Bela, in his Dracula costume, hears the doorbell on Halloween night]
Children! I love children.
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In the opening credits, Johnny Depp's name appears in capital letters, followed by the title - both of them alternating in black and white, as though being illuminated by lightning - and the rest of the main cast are credited on tombstones. Supporting cast and crew names appear in white against dark, rainy sets featuring meant-to-look-low-budget effects such as a giant tentacle and flying saucers in outer space. See more »
If a life in film is a a relationship with a being, then this is the shoes. They're handy, and only seem necessary when not dreaming.
But they're not what gets you anywhere.
I consider this Tim Burton's best film. That stop animation thing was more successful, but its too artificially goofy. This is more real and the idea is to straddle the line between homage and distanced observation. Its the only one that I think works, though "PeeWee" comes close. But that's because that whole movie is in its tone. Here, the movie is centered in the beings involved and how they relate to the films they are making, which of course happens to be the same relationship the characters and actors have with the movie we are watching.
Its because it is a real movie, with arcs, three acts, and an end that works. Burton isn't so picky about these things in his other projects and none has all three.
I wonder why no one holds him to this value, of building a film from the inside out. He needs someone to guide him away from merely starting with tone, and Elfman honks.
There are two folds here. The first is obvious, a self-described quirky filmmaker making a film with wit about an unintentionally quirky filmmaker making what he sees as serious films. The second is the "Shadow of the Vampire" bit about Landau's Lugosi. Its something of a wholly separate thread, handled with a different tone in all dimensions.
Meaningful narrative needs tension, and I am increasingly convinced that in cinema that requires two different whole personalities. It seems better if those wholenesses have their own cinematic space, as it is here.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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