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ED WOOD (1994)

ed-wood_poster

Tim Burton pays homage to “world’s worst” fringe filmmaker Edward D. Wood Jr., featuring some reenacted scenes of Wood’s most infamous films: GLEN OR GLENDA (1953), BRIDE OF THE MONSTER (1955), NIGHT OF THE GHOULS (1959) and PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1959).

The film not only focuses on the artistic struggles of this director, but also sympathetically portrays his obsessions, his love life, and many of his unusual friends.

Martin Landau was awarded the Academy Award and the Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor for his role as the forgotten horror legend Bela Lugosi (“Dracula”, 1931). [The movie garnered its second Oscar for the Best Make-Up.] Wood is played by a very enthusiastic young Johnny Depp, and you can also enjoy Bill Murray, Patricia Arquette, Sarah Jessica Parker, Vincent D’Onofrio and other great character actors in this film.

Despite being critically acclaimed, this film is the first of Tim Burton’s legendary financial failures with only making back a third of its budget in the USA [the other ones are: “Corpse Bride”, “Dark Shadows”, “Frankenweenie”, “Big Fish” and worst of all “Mars Attacks!” which again interestingly is a different form of homage to Ed Wood!]. It also marks Burton’s first R-rated film.

For our course, this film marks a new beginning, and from now we will delve into more “modern” and adventurous forms of film production. It will be a break from the classics we have been watching so far, but despite being made in the 90’s, the films setting is the 50’s, and Burton choose to shoot it in B/W, probably aiming to look more “authentic”. It also will introduce you to a different type of film production away from the glamour of Golden Hollywood (despite those small production companies on “Poverty Row” being geographically relatively close to their big competitors).

Wood whose directorial efforts could be considered in the very best case as mixed pleasures, nowadays is admired by many for his strong independent spirit, being an “auteur” type of filmmaker, and having made with “Glen or Glenda” (1953) the world’s first “serious” film about transvestism and transsexualism. Many of his films are also “So Bad It’s Good” type of movies being very enjoyable for their cult audience. The University of Southern California is holding a yearly “Ed Wood Film Festival” in which students are competing to produce short films in Wood’s style. Wood’s films also have been shown in the TV program “Mystery Science Theater 3000″, and there exists even a new baptist group of “Woodites” who celebrate Ed Wood as their savior 🙂

IMDb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109707/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_14

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28 responses to “ED WOOD (1994)

  1. Maddie

    It’s just like Tim Burton to make a film which celebrates one of the worst directors of all time. I’m wondering if Burton’s film is what kickstarted Wood’s cult following, or if Wood’s works were already praised by the time Burton decided to create “Ed Wood”. Either way, I seem to always gravitate towards films which examine the art of filmmaking. This film was interesting because Burton shows us a filmmaker who has absolutely no idea what he is doing, he bullshits his way through most of the scenes, and all the while we, as the viewer, are given beautiful shots of the madness that is going on. Still, Burton was able to produce an aesthetically pleasing film about a director who had no idea what aesthetics even were, let alone how to make a film with pleasing imagery.
    The story dealt with very dark topics. Bela is addicted to every drug under the sun. Ed dresses up as a woman simply because he likes to “feel” like one. Burton makes light of these topics but also portrays the main, most important characters as dealing with these issues. It could be argued that the queer characters represented are highly problematic, if only because we are essentially laughing at them. Bunny Breckinridge has an unsuccesfull sex reassignment surgery and because of his openness with it all, Burton delivers the scene in a laughable way. This is often balanced out by characters like Dolores Fuller who even calls them freaks. Since her character exists, and because she slowly becomes unlikeable, we are able to feel empathy for these queer characters and they are redeemed in our eyes.
    Although the film was in black and white, every shot had awesome lighting. The characters often gathered in dark houses, sets, during nighttime, in bars, etc., but I believe Burton knew exactly how to find the light and keep them in it. What I enjoyed most of all, though, was Ed’s fetish with blonde haired women wearing angora. I enjoyed Burton’s tracing this throughout the entire film. First with Dolores, then by exposing his own interests as dressing as a woman, and then through his relationship with Kathy O’Hara. This could have decreased Ed’s likability but it actually increased our love for him (or at least mine). He was entirely fallible.. he was consistently ridiculed and very often naive of what was to be done at all. But his quirks and screwy personality, his fetishes, and his father-son relationship with Bela makes him the ideal character to both love and laugh at.

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  2. Ian Ulman ⋅

    This is the first movie where I’m inspired in my blog post to talk about an actor’s performance. Johnny Depp just totally knocked it out of the park, and I was blown away.

    Depp has mastered the style of acting where he acts super enthusiastic but slightly off kilter. Every scene in the film I felt like Ed Wood was giving his all for the film industry, but was just slightly too insane to get it right. The hopeless grins on his face as he directed all of these terrible movies was a delight to see, even while it was totally creepy. I can see why Burton and Depp collaborated so often.

    On a related note, I found it very interesting how Burton made a film that definitely felt like his other while still being somewhat realistic and biographical. I am used to all of Burton’s movies being somewhat fantastic, and this film achieved that by just being about science fiction films. Without ever actually breaking reality, the movie still had vampires and monsters and all sorts of horror elements. This lead to a bizarre feeling where I couldn’t quite tell if I was watching a horror movie or not, which is, I’m sure, exactly what Burton wanted.

    I found this film to be really charming in a way unlike anything else we’ve watched.

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  3. Snow Fairy ⋅

    I was really excited when I saw Tim Burton’s name on the screening lineup. Moreover, I had never seen this film. Unfortunately, Tim Burton let me down. Ed Wood wasn’t very engaging for me, story wise. I can’t put it into words, but none of the events seemed so interesting or amusing that I felt compelled to keep watching. Perhaps the most interesting part of this story was Bela and the relationship with Ed Wood . Bela was a dynamic character and showed the multi-faceted affects on those in the industry, while Ed was a hopeful and naive newcomer with a few secrets. The codependency of these two ‘outcasts’ was riveting and felt authentic, and thus, in my eyes, carried the story. Other than this, the film lacked the magic and fantasy spin I expect from a Tim Burton film.

    The cast and production quality, however, was no less than what would be expected from Tim Burton, so I am happy about that. It takes skill to film a ‘bad’ filmmaker well, if that makes sense. Also, I feel Tim Burton is one of the few who pull off a black and white move in modern society for stylistic purposes, and does so without compromising visual information. I think it is important to have very talented actors (note, I did not say very POPULAR actors, but very TALENTED actors) in order to drive a black and white film because the whole color aspect of a film is omitted. Tim Burton did just that with this cast, who all played their parts very well.

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  4. sumdood ⋅

    That was… one of the most bizarre movies I’ve ever seen.

    Where do I begin… hmm. Ah, well that opening scene and credits. I had no idea what to expect from seeing the opening. I mean there’s the dude in the coffin, but then the opening credits with the octopus, UFOs, possible lightning-caused seizures, all that. By the end of the movie you could see what it was all about because ALL of it was in the move somewhere. Speaking of opening credits, this is the first film we saw with a modern opening credits scene I believe.

    So yeah, this film is by Tim Burton who makes some pretty quirky films already, but this one is… whew. Speaking of quirky, the characters in this move, man; especially our main character. Ed Wood is a very confusing man. Not only is he terrible at making movies (and doesn’t realize it) but has that strange habit of dressing up in women’s clothing. Talk about a combination. Johnny Depp did a very good job portraying this strange character who doesn’t know when to quit. His movie making “skill” reminds me of some student films I’ve seen. I think he should’ve focused on getting into a film school instead. As for the women’s clothing thing, I knew something was coming related to that ever since the scene in the beginning about his former girlfriend trying to figure out where her (weird fashion) sweater was while he stared off into space on the bed. As for the rest of the characters, I like how even if they didn’t have too much attention in the movie as a whole, were still all unique and “likeable” in a way.

    The second character that is obviously focused on is Count Dracula, aka Bela Lugosi. We first saw him as a grumpy old, former actor but as the film went on we came to see more of his character and to like him. The drug addiction was an easy pickup. I kind of felt like after all the buildup with the Bela’s time in the movie that when he died, he kinda was just, “kicked off” in a way. But, what can you really do I guess. He died so…
    Also I can’t believe this guy was so desperate to be a star again that he actually wanted to act in these… “movies”. Did he not see how terribad they were?

    The music for this movie worked very well with it’s bizarre-ness and “other-worldly/out of this world” feel which perfectly matches Ed Wood’s character.

    Now, the way the movie ended. Were all those people at the theater because they reeeeally wanted to see that movie? How’d he pull that off? Then it kinda just fast forwards to after the screening leaving us not knowing what happened exactly. But I’m pretty sure we all know how it went.

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    • Endless Dusk ⋅

      “Now, the way the movie ended. Were all those people at the theater because they reeeeally wanted to see that movie? How’d he pull that off? Then it kinda just fast forwards to after the screening leaving us not knowing what happened exactly. But I’m pretty sure we all know how it went.”

      They were just the people from the Baptist church that financed the project. Which I think is both sad and hilarious at the same time.

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  5. Endless Dusk ⋅

    So, someone in class said they were disappointed in the fact that this movie did not champion LGBTQ recognition as much as they hoped. I disagree. Sure, there was no great speech or any scene that conveyed an all-embracing acceptance of gays or transvestites, but I think that is because Ed Wood, and others in his generation, never got to experience that. Neither his lifestyle nor his films were taken seriously. In spite of everything, however, he and his colleagues continued what they were doing and never made any compromises. Dolores (Sarah Jessica Parker) even called them out on it, always shushing Ed and Bunny Breckinbridge when they talked openly about it in public. And then there’s the dramatic scene at the party when she called them “freaks” and “horrible people.” Even then, Ed Wood didn’t give up and continued doing what he loved. He remained true to himself and his artistic vision, despite being ridiculed for his work and his way of life. Finally, he finds acceptance in his new girlfriend, Kathy, after coming out to her about his love for wearing women’s couture. And then he enthusiastically continued to make bad movies.

    Bunny Beckenbridge, by the way, actually did book a sex change operation, first in Denmark, and then in Mexico, but each time it fell through and he made the decision not to pursue it after that. He was arrested multiple times for perversion, unfortunately, since there were no legal protections for his lifestyle. He spent the rest of his life in San Francisco. In his obituary he was quoted, “I was a little bit wild when I was young, darling, but I lived my life grandly.” Now, that is the voice of someone who has no regrets. (And Bill Murray- I have never hated anything he has done, his performance of this character was quite enjoyable).

    I don’t think the point of the film is acceptance, because Ed was never accepted during his lifetime, either for his lifestyle or his work, but he remained true to himself despite his many difficulties. I think that’s the message Tim Burton wanted to convey, to continue to do what you are doing and do what you love, even if the rest of the world hates it, and remain true to yourself.

    Did anyone else find Vampira interesting? I did. Apparently Vampira actually did have something to do with the conception of the character Elvira, but she backed out of the project. I actually watched some youtube videos of Vampira, and find her mellow and morose character preferable to Elvira (not to mention Vampira has a waist that a million corseted goth girls would kill for). To me, Elvira is just obnoxious.
    Incidentally, I did some research… At the end of the movie it states that Vampira was in the jewelry business… But before that, she made a living by installing linoleum flooring in kitchens. Don’t know why I found that interesting, but I did. All that obvious corset training she did, and ended up installing flooring. Gosh, that waistline, though…
    Oh, I read somewhere that she had bipolar disorder and was heavily involved in the S&M scene. Just a bit of trivia.

    And Bela Lugosi. Martin Landau’s portrayal of this guy is phenomenal. I don’t know if the heroin addiction is accurate though. It could have been. I did google it, but nothing turned up. It could very well have been real, I guess. I think it might have been a generic reality for some forgotten actors and actresses.
    Oh! And actually, Bela never requested to be buried in his cape, but that actually really is how he was buried.

    And Ed Wood. Oh, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. You were such an endearing character to me. You were so naive, yet so determined. You didn’t care how bad you were, you just really loved to make movies so much. And if something went wrong, (“oh, no sound? Oh, ok! And… Action!” and “oh, no motor for the tentacle monster? That’s ok, ganbatte, Bela!”) you just plowed cheerfully ahead and got it done. I think Ed Wood must have been a very charming guy in real life. How else would he get all these people to work with him (and actually STAY with him and finish the projects)?

    Also, I don’t think anyone except Johnny Depp could have played that character. I think he was pretty much smiling in every shot (except after Dolores was a total rhymes-with-witch to him).

    Hmm, and it seems evident by previous comments that most people do not think that Ed Wood’s movies have any merit at all. I strongly disagree! Glen or Glenda, while not exactly the most enjoyable film, is an important film because it was the first film to deal with such a controversial topic. So, he was a pioneer, in a way, and he lead the way for others to make movies dealing with similar topics. Not to mention, he pioneered the “so bad it’s good movie genre.” In a way, he is the grandfather of low-budget classics such as “Birdemic” and “Sharknado.” Also, Ed Wood made a lot of mistakes in his films, which other people learned from. He also serves as a role model because of his enthusiasm and determination.

    And most importantly, let us not forget, Tim Burton himself was influenced by this guy. Where would we be without Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, both which have Ed Woodian elements.
    And also, to be fair, Ed Wood’s movies might have been a bit better if he had a bigger budget, but he made do with what he had.

    And even this film itself had Woodian elements. Aside from the obvious of being black and white, the acting and lighting was stylized. The film definitely had a distinct feel to it. I can see why it was a flop. It wasn’t because it was a bad movie. It’s just that it does not have a flashy blockbuster topic, and it has a distinct atmospheric style (not to mention an element of surrealism because it blended the 1990s with the 1950s, so you have to give into that “suspension of disbelief”), so it doesn’t have a wide appeal.

    I for one, enjoyed the style, as well as the message of the film and it’s great cast.

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  6. bluebird of happiness ⋅

    This film can be say as documentary film. It is a film based on the worst filmmaker-Ed Wood’s life. This movie is filmed in the style of B-movie and the style of Ed Wood (so called-Ed Wood style).
    To be honest, I really like Ed Wood personality. He might not be good filmmaker, but he can be a really good friend. At the beginning, we see that he, in order to make his film success, he is kind of using Bela. Bela is a really famous movie star when he is young; however, he is not famous anymore. No one cares about whether Bela is dead or not. Whenever Ed Wood mentions about Bela’s name, everyone said “I thought he is dead.” Bela has a hard time on his later life. He has a mental problem and addicts to morphine. He loses himself. However, with Ed Wood on his side, he finally finds himself and his status.
    Although Ed Wood fails in his first movie, he is not giving up. He tries very hard on making his second and third movie. Ed Wood, of course will feel depress through the failure; however, he then rally his courage and continues making his movie. He always believes that he will succeed, and everyone will like his movie.
    Through this film, we can see that how hard it is to make a film. Filmmaker needs to have enough budgets and needs to find a well-known movie star (so called star value) to promote the film. We are able to see the works behind the scene and all the hard work filmmaker makes to make the movie success.

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  7. emicanna ⋅

    While I was watching this film, somewhat I got bored and didn’t really like it at first although it is Tim Burton’s movie. But after I finished watching, well technically, after I watched the entire film, I realized how this film artistically portrays very controversial topics. Also I noticed some differences in film from Golden Hollywood era.

    The thing that I like the most of Tim Burton’s film in general is that he has very unique taste in it as everyone know. Especially, the way he creates certain moods on his footage by mixing animation and sounds. In this film, in the intro, he uses some animation and strong characters, that makes me excited somehow and I really liked because I almost felt it is kind of like fairytale. In addition, the way of his continuity was very smooth and I felt it was artistic. The fadeout, blackout and combination of aperture was very natural. Second of all, the background music was very interesting because it was used as motif. And also It helped to give strong impression to the audience. That was very natural yet had enough impact.
    Although there were several fantasy kind of aspects, the topics that the film pointed out such as transsexual, and drugs which was very controversial I believe, and I assumed that it was even taboo in the society at the moment. However, because it was Burton, the entire film did not describe these topics as serious as it was in the reality, yet it was depicted as one of accepted characters. It is the power of this great auteur and his humour. The balance of seriousness and humorous was perfectly blended and actors and actress showed very well, that is why I was amazed after I watched the every last scene.
    As a film and as an art it was not successful or may not be so impressive, but I personally strongly felt this person “Ed Wood” was definitely Burton’s inspiration and his role model as an auteur directer.

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  8. TUYN ⋅

    Probably, most students in class didn’t know about Ed Wood, and he wouldn’t have been so famous if Tim Burton made a film about him. I see Tim Burton’s talent there. If I made a movie about somebody’s life, no one would be interested. But, because world famous movie director Tim Burton made a film, he was able to get many people’s attention. Who is interested in watching movie about a person who was not so famous? But, Tim Burton was talented and made it very interesting.

    Usually we check the films that were made by famous director or if famous actor or actress act. But, on the other hand, there are films that we usually don’t even check because the director is not famous or casts are not famous. And, Tim Burton picked the worst movie director up to make his film. In the film “Ed Wood,” we can see lots of drama, laughs, and impression. Especially, the ending made us happy. Although this film is about a person’s life for almost two hours, I didn’t even get tired of watching, and I really enjoyed.
    Moreover, using a monochrome technique fit to the film. What I liked most about this film is Ed Wood’s feeling that he really loved film more than anything. I could feel his strong passion about film. But, at the same time, I understood the reason why he was called as worst film director. He didn’t spend much time on one scene. Usually, good film director spend so much time and make an effort on every scene, but Ed Wood didn’t even retake. Probably, that is one of the interesting points of him. The other point I liked was friendship between Ed Wood and Lugoshi even though they had a huge age difference. Their friendship was very heart-warming.

    After watching the film, I understood that Ed Wood had a strong passion about making film, but I wonder if he has ever realized that he was not so talented about making film.

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  9. bes ⋅

    First of all, I did not get it what’s going on in this film at first because there is a guy in the coffin and he said something like “this include really scary things and you will see the truth of Ed Wood” something like that. And I saw the name of Tim Burton on the credit so I thought like ah this is kinda horror movie? However, soon after the credits scene, there are UFOs, a gigantic octopus, and something like odd stuff, and I got confused and thought it might be a just cult movie that only a few type of people would be able to enjoy. In other words, I got bored and disappointed a little at first because I like Tim Burton’s works.

    However, while I was watching Ed’s behavior, personality and his passion for making film, as other characters in this film, I became to like him and got into this film too. Although I did not Ed Wood at all before I watched this film and of course I have never watched his works including the cult movie “Plan 9 from Outer Space”, I became interested in him and his works because of this screening. If I watched his works, I guess I might get bored easily because I can tell by seeing this film. I agree with that he is the worst director ever, However, from seeing this film, I think its because Tim Burton likes and respects Ed Wood too though, Ed Wood is described as a really charming and enthusiastic person, and I am sure that most of viewers would like him.
    Unfortunately, he did not have enough talent as a movie director, but he was as a good producer, I think. Basically a producer has to get job and management the budget of the film. At this point, Ed was not a quiet good producer because he has stopped the shooting many times because of the money issue. However, he persuade the producer in studio again and again, and succeed to persuade the Vampira actress to join his film even he failed first. He is really good at engage people and their hearts in his works. I think his passionate attitude for making film help it too.

    As technical things, Tim Burton used black-and-white motion pictures because its about in 1950s. However, it seems awkward somewhat because the screen tone was too much and everything looks too sharp as a movie in 1950s. Some scene, for instance when Bela passed out at his home and Ed came to help him, the contrast was beautiful and l like that way. But through the whole scenes, the screen was too clean and sharp that made me feel awkward somewhat.
    And, as the professor said, they did not speak old English. I did not noticed that until he mentioned, but I though it might help me a lot to understand and get into this film because when I watch old movies, sometimes I do not get their conversations because of their English. Not only the words they speak but also HOW they speak too.

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  10. Chloe ⋅

    I was very happy to watch this film because I am big fan of Johnny Depp and like to see him in Tim Burton’s works.

    Since I have seen a lot of Tim Burton and Johnny Deep movies, such as Edward Scissorhands, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, Alice In Wonderland, and Dark Shadows, I thought Ed Wood is really like “Tim Burton’s work”. That’s because it is kind of like an animation film, and the camera movement, and the mood of the film (including dark lighting) make me feel like I am watching Tim Burton movie.

    One thing I was surprised is that Ed Wood came out after Edward Scissorhands. Since Ed Wood is a black-white film, I thought it is older than Edward Scissorhands, so I did not know why Burton made Ed Wood as monochrome film.
    However, it actually made based on a filmmaker Ed Wood, so I realized Burton is trying to recreate what Ed Wood have done on film as he uses the black and white film. That makes it more realistic portrayal I thought.

    Also, although Ed Wood actually screened about 20 years ago, I thought it is more like modern film in terms of having smooth camera movement and perfectly matched music with scenes.
    After watching Ed Wood, I got a fresh reminder of how Tim Burton is a great director to bring out Johnny Depp as screen chameleon.

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  11. lala ⋅

    I was really looking forward to watching this film because I like Tim Burton’s films. I did not know that “Ed Wood” was directed by Tim Burton and it is one of his earliest works until I take this course. I think that Ed Wood, played by Johnny Depp, is one of the parts which shape Burton’s unique world. Tim Burton’s films tend to include unique and humorous characters such as “Edward Scissorhands” and “Alice in Wonderland”. Ed is an unique and comical character, and he likes to wear women’s clothes. Johnny Depp played such a strange character in this film, and his character attracted the audience. Also, Bela is also an important character in this film. I like the scene that Ed and Bela sit on a sofa and have a conversation in front of TV. These scene and unique characters make us be drawn into the story.
    In addition, it was much easier to catch what actors said because of the use of language. I sometimes couldn’t understand the conversations in other films which we saw in this course. However, “Ed Wood” uses contemporary English compared to other films.

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  12. Mikako ⋅

    First of all, this film is good for knowing general idea of how the film is made. In Ed Wood, he faces the financial issue many times. Those scenes remind me of our class talking about budget. Also, as showing behind scenes, I saw how strong Ed Wood’s passion for making films. 
    For me, the way Ed Wood films was funny. He mostly takes only one shot even though actors or other crew were suspicious about the shot. And the gap between other crews and Wood’s confidence and satisfaction made me laugh. Through the film, I became curious about Ed Wood’s film, and I would like to watch some in next vacation.. 

    However, this film was a little bit long even though there was no strong climax or some high point as a film. I know this film is based on real story, of course, but I almost got tired of watching it.  

    The film was black and white, but I did not feel old. Language, camera work, and sound made it easy for me to get into the story. Also, for me, this is first time to see Depp’s acting without any face painting or weired looking. Then I realized he is really good actor.

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  13. Miraijinnohara ⋅

    I must say “Ed Wood” is technically well done by Tim Burton. The film is an outdated style, for example Black and White, with contemporary writing, editing, lighting, and camera techniques which make it entertaining for current audiences. Comparing to old black and white films, it is more strong contrast. I can say it is very stylized black and white movie. In addition, shadows on the film very well work to make characters look even weird, for instance, Landau’s shadow reflected on a curtain becomes oddly bigger when he is having a drug.
    Ed Wood’s characteristic cheers me up in a certain way. He is very honest his desire what he wants to do as a director, no matter what everyone complains about his film, and he does not care he is known as “A Worst Director of All time”. He still thinks he is taking a best film because he believes himself just the way he is. He is the worst director, but at the same time he is a best director who could go beyond “Art” that everyone generally thinks, which is super difficult to active.
    To define what is art, what is not art is very hard. Artists can not call their art is art unless they can convince audiences what they want to tell through their art. The lack of communication between people providing art and receiving art does not create “art”. Ed Wood did not fail this essential point as a director, one of the artists. He has a brilliant talent to make worst films that still people love.
    I like how the film represents a characteristic of Ed Wood well, and cinematography of this film is great.

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  14. Rara ⋅

    I honestly do not say that this film was my favorite (but I enjoyed it). Especially how Johnny Depp performed “Ed Wood” was very funny and impressive. Maybe the reason why I could not fully enjoy this film was because I had never heard of Ed Wood until we watched it in class, so did not really understand what was going on in the beginning. If I had researched a bit about Ed Wood and had some ideas about the film, I was definitely able to enjoy it more.

    Ed Wood was very unique, innocent and crazy person who had strong passion to make films. I liked that even though many people criticizes his films, he kept trying to make new films and never gave up on his dream. And I could see that through out the movie, Ed Wood was always enjoying making films. However, at the same time, I didn’t understand why he did not listen to other people’s advice and improve his films. Moreover, in fact he was always struggling with making money to film new movies, but people still helped him making new movies. Maybe because people around him knew that his movie quality was bad; however, they liked his personality and attitude towards movies. I personally liked Ed Wood’s character. And if Ed Wood did listen to other’s advice and tried to improve his film technically, the uniqueness of his film would be disappeared and his movie became just like other bad movies.

    In addition, Johnny Depp’s performance was one of the best parts of this film. I have watched some of his other films and he played funny, unique and strange characters. I always impressed his acting and felt that his performance made those films funny and creative. In this film, he also did great job and without his acing this film might be a bit boring for me. Also, I liked how Tim Burton created this film with black and white. This might be because he wanted to reflect the time Ed Wood was making it. For me, the black and white color gave the better feeling of the situation and, it made a good atmosphere.

    From the Johnny Depp performance, I thought that Ed Wood was funny, crazy and innocent person; however, I wonder how much this film reflects the actual character of Ed Wood. Since Ed Wood in this film was pretty much like to the characters that Johnny Depp acted in other movies, it might have influenced by Johnny Depp’s usual style of acting. I would like to know that if Johnny Depp just fitted Ed Wood’s actual character or the character in the film was influenced by Johnny Depp a bit.

    I still have some unclear parts about this film, but this was enjoyable. If I have any chance to watch this film again, I will definitely understand and enjoy it more.

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  15. emiferrie ⋅

    I thoroughly enjoyed this movie – it was definitely more relateable than the earlier Golden Age Hollywood films because, well, it was modern. Lots of swearing, lots of casually scandalous scenes (drug use and bribing).

    Someone mentioned during class discussion that it was disappointing how the LGBT community was portrayed in Ed Wood. I understand that perhaps it could be said that Tim Burton did a half ass job of representing this community because although he sheds light on them, it is mainly for comic relief (not that we really needed relief because the movie was more or less upbeat and positive). However, in the end it is the director’s decision to choose his message, and it doesn’t necessarily have to please everyone. I was having a conversation with a friend recently about how Disney movies were so much more risque and original back in the days, because people didn’t make all these claims for universal acceptance. Now all the Disney films seem to blend into one another, with a set pattern that will not offend anyone. Watching Ed Wood made me ponder how much ‘freedom’ a director should have on portraying his story, and when to be more considerate about his potential audience. I mean, if a film nowadays was blatantly anti-sematic, for example, the world would go crazy!!

    Also, if Bela Lugosi did not actually swear all that much in real life, is it fair to portray him like that in a movie?? Just wondering.

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  16. minnie ⋅

    I was looking for watching Tim Burton’s film since I saw the syllabus of this class. I have seen another movie produced by Tim Burton, but I have never seen Ed Wood. The actors in the film look familiar to both American and Japanese people, especially female people. Because there is a famous actress, Sarah Jessica Parker, some people would remind the drama, “Sex and the City.” Even though the film is black and white, the motion of film was really smoother than other films. Through watching this film, I felt that Tim Burton respects Ed Wood (not Johnny Depp). In the film, Ed Wood, Wood is expressed Wood ironically. Wood gets booing from the audiences in front of Bela, who is respected by Wood. However, the film ends the scene when Wood finally successes his film making. I personally think that Burton does not want to shoot the scene when he fails his career and dies for alcoholic. I like the way it ends because every actors in the ending roll smiled or seemed smile. Burton is really clever because he succeeded to produce this kind of ironical film.

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  17. Momoko ⋅

    I actually did not know this film and also who’s the director, but I could tell Tim Burton directed this movie by watching only the beginning. I have ever watched only a few Burton’s movies, but I think his movies, including Ed Wood have his own world. I was laughing throughout the film, and I really liked this hilarious but dramatic movie. I think that Sunset Boulevard portrays some kind of same theme as Ed Wood because both of them are a story of creepy and unusual person’s life but also an analysis of their emotions. In the film, I particularly liked how this film begins with as it really gets attention and captures audience. I also thought that it scene was really showing Tim Burton’s world. In his movies, Burton uses black and white as a way of showing old times. In the beginning of Ed Wood, I thought that this film was old because it was black and white, but I later realized that black and white is one of the way to make a mood of the old time because Ed Wood was a real man who lived in the era of black and white. It was effectively used in this movie. Also, makeup and dresses are great as it successfully used to create the old time. I cannot talk much about techniques, but I think that Burton did not use any advanced techniques in this film. Because of this, the film successfully has unique perspective of the world.

    The casting was great, and I was surprised that may of famous actors such as Sara Jessica Parker was in the movie as supporting actress. The main character, Ed Wood was played by Johnny Depp, and when I realized him acting Wood, I thought that Tim Burton loves him so much because I know in many of Burton’s movies Deep plays a main character. I did not know why Tim Burton cast Johnny Deep so often, but in this film, his acting was absolutely fit and great. This film is a story of Ed Wood who is creepy, unusual, and persistent man. I strongly think that Johnny Deep is one and only who can play that guy. Ed Wood believes himself as a great filmmaker and Johnny Deep did a great job to portray this part. Well the story was quite unique and dramatic, but what I liked about this movie was the way Tim Burton filmed Wood’s passion towards a movie. Even though this movie has a lot of black humor and was hilarious, importantly it also portrays a life of a filmmaker. I could see how Burton admires Wood as a film director even though people call Wood as the “worst director ever.”

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  18. Pinkpearl ⋅

    This movie was very unusual. I have never seen a movie like this before. This movie deals with the subject of sexual orientation and society at that time. This movie stood out to me because it almost seemed to not care if it offended any on but simply wanted to tell the truth which is that not everyone fits into the mold of one side or another. There are tons of people who are in between and keep quiet about it because they are ashamed or afraid that it will destroy their lives. I think that Ed Wood was a very special person that had a very unique personality. His style of movies did not do well in his time however I truly believe that they simply were not ready for him yet. I think that if he made his movies in the present that they would do very well and that he would have a very strong following. I also like the way this movie showed the ‘behind the scenes’ story of how a movie is mad. Kind of the way Sunset Boulevard did. I often think that more drama goes on behind the scenes of a movie than in front of the camera. This movie is another perfect example of that.

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  19. cool cool cool ⋅

    There were many things that I appreciated about this film as a whole. The cinematography, for one, was something that ended up being really visually pleasing in a way that was a kind of comedic contrast from the films that Ed Wood himself was producing. Lots of use of symmetry and playing with light. The choice of placing the camera at severe angle in the scene where Ed Wood goes to Bela in the middle of the night to answer his call really puts the audience in the moment with them and is able to visually convey with the unsettling shot how ill Bela truly is. The scenes with Bela and Ed Wood always ended up being my favorites of the film. In fact as a whole, that was the part of the movie I enjoyed the most.
    As we spoke of in class, Ed Wood was not a great film maker. His scripts were bad, his takes were bad, his overall films were laughable, yet he ended up drawing a cast of people who would stick with him for years. The scene where Ed Wood sheepishly apologizes to Bela for keeping him out all night in a shoot, Bela smiles and pats his back and says something like “there’s not a lot of fellows I’d do it for, Eddie.” And this just seems so true to the kind of character Ed Wood had. There was a real tenderness between Ed Wood and Bela, a love there that was touching, especially when you step back and look at how much the two truly needed each other. Much like in Sunset Boulevard with Norma’s character, Bela Lugosi was a star of yesteryear, but a nobody today. In fact, the running gag in the beginning was that every person Ed Wood would brag of Bela to would comment “I thought he was dead.” Bela Lugosi was no longer headline news. As he says when he firsts meets Ed Wood, Hollywood is a business that chews you up and spits you out. But Ed Wood’s coming into his life was something new.
    Ed Wood respected him and saw him as just as much a star as he had always been, and he offered him a return to the screen that Bela so desired. And for Ed Wood, he had a named actor that he had always looked up to willing to take a chance on his films. Bela was an incredibly important role in his life during the coming years of trying to get his films produced. The sweetness and sincerity of their relationship was, in my opinion, what this film did best. The scene where Eddie wrote a big final monologue for Bela and then apologized for it being so last minute, but Bela was so touched saying “these lines I will have no problem remembering”—that was such an important moment for them. The two of them truly understood each other and in that scene, Ed Wood gave Bela a tribute to who he really was. And when Bela recited it on the streets, people stopped and applauded. This, I think, was the true great last scene for Bela, more than his moment at the rehab center. Although Bela was happy to have gotten the cameras back and around him, they were more scavengers than anything and I’m glad Eddie chased them away. Bela had his speech on the steps, and I think it was a great last role.
    As a whole, this is not my favorite film we’ve seen. I understand what Tim Burton was trying to do with this film, but I think in the end I would have enjoyed learning more about Ed Wood through the form of a documentary rather than what we got here. I really enjoyed the clips and bits of footage that we got to see of Ed Wood’s work in class and who he really was as a person, much more than I did the hokey chipper portrayal of Johnny Depp as the friendly and determined transvestite Ed Wood, which I think, outside of his interaction with Bela, left something to be desired. I do appreciate the overall message of the movie though, addressing the struggle of “the artist”. Do I produce for myself or do I produce for the audience? It’s something that any creator can relate to, and Ed Wood isn’t too bad of a role model for this kind of thing. I understand why the film didn’t do that well in theaters, but overall I wouldn’t consider it a failure.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. abc ⋅

    Humm. Where do I start? First of all, I just want to say that it was one of the weirdest films I’ve ever seen. And it is even weirder to think everything had actually happened in real life. Ed Wood was a bizarre, unique, and surprisingly bad director. But at the same time, he managed to become famous and be the main subject of a whole film! I guess the “so bad, it’s good” really worked out in that situation. I wouldn’t say he doesn’t deserve all this attention, but I wonder how many good directors passed almost unnoticed by the media and audience while bad directors like Ed Wood manage to hit the media. Indeed, he has a unique personality. The “only-one-take” scenes were unusual and funny at the same time. But, in regards of the quality and production value of his movies… Well, i guess I can’t say the same.

    Secondly, I was really interested in Ed Wood’s story and his unique way of directing, but i felt the film itself was a bit tiring and too long. Towards the middle, I was already wondering whether the ending was close or not. I would say it could’ve ended earlier. However, I understand that Tim Burton wanted to show the “happy ending” of Ed Wood’s career and I’m figuring that is why he did not show his “Worst director of all the times” award!

    In regards to the film quality, cast and production, I found it amazing! The image was very sharp and the light was beautiful in almost all the scenes. The actors were also good and, personally, I think the actor who interpreted Bela was the best! That accent and interpretation were funny and entertaining… I could never get enough of that!! Johnny Depp also did an awesome job (as usual!).

    Finally, although I felt the movie was a bit long, i think it has its charm. We can clearly see that Ed Wood was really fascinated about his job, ideas and films… And I guess that is always a good thing. I also liked how he found people who supported him even through the worst times and failures. So, I am kind of glad that Tim Burton chose not to show Ed Wood’s tragic ending. Therefore, we all could finish the film thinking that Ed Wood was a kind of successful director… even though he was not!

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  21. mewpudding101 ⋅

    The film “Ed Wood” directed by Tim Burton was critically acclaimed, but was a box office failure. I feel I can understand why. I think this film is good, without a doubt, but it feels a bit long in places it didn’t have to be. The non-compressed history of Ed Wood’s history as a director is indeed fascinating, but maybe not for a one-sitting movie. True, the film is only two hours, a little over the average, but the content is so emotionally draining that it feels so much longer. 
    I think it was an interesting choice to make the film monochrome in a time where color was commonplace. I feel it does play into the tone of the film, making it seem as if the world is more twisted, and difficult to live in, but this also adds on to the emotional strain. For this kind of film, the monochrome works well, however, despite the negative points.
    The strangest part in the movie was the audience riot scene. Although it makes sense in history that people rioted against a pro-trans film, a monster movie that hasn’t even started seems strange to riot about. I think was a serious plot hole.
    I feel as if this film was Burton’s love song to Wood, and like fate, the film bombed like so many of Wood’s films. It was almost as if Burton was put into Wood’s shoes, albeit with more of a budget.
    This film was interesting, but I don’t know if I could watch it again, as it really did drain me. It’s an emotional roller-coaster that is very long.

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  22. Maxine ⋅

    I thought the style of Ed Wood was very interesting. Although I am not really into the whole black and white film, I do think it stays true to the 1950s black and white theme. This reminds me of the Oscar winner/nominated movie, Nebraska. Using black and white is risking using in film now a days; however it does leave a lasting image. I however find the movie boring. It might be because of how silly the movie is. It just wasn’t smart or deep enough for me. I understand that Tim Burton tends to go for the wacky and that’s cool, it just would have been more interesting if the characters had more depth.

    The characters were another thing I had a problem with. I would have been fine with the characters if they were not based on real people. It just felt like the movie was belittling the characters and the audience was just there to laugh at the train wreck that was created. Tim Burton should have showed Ed Wood at least writing down how being transgender is another way of human improvement. It just didn’t sit well with me how two dimensional the characters were. Also the movie was too long. I understand why this movie didn’t do well. It is kind of ironic how a movie about failed movies became a failed movie.

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  23. Beyonslay

    The film “Ed Wood” had me waiting on tenterhooks the entire time, but not in the way it should have.

    To start I’ll try to address the main issue I had with this film, and then I’ll go over what I thought was admirable about it.

    The main issue I had with the film was how it portrayed LGBT people. These people existed in real life and, in my opinion, should be given the credit they’re due. Ed Wood, albeit not one of the strongest directors of all time, was definitely a maverick in the way he obstinately lived his life despite the critics of his lifestyle, directorial skills, and perceived lack of talent. His unabashed cross-dressing was one of the focal point of the film, and I don’t think it was handled the way it should have been. On top of this, I feel like Bunny Breckinridge was the victim of character assassination. Highlighting Bunny Breckinridge, I felt like the film portrayed him as a transgender person as something strange. He wasn’t a three dimensional character, and his defining characteristic was that he wanted to undergo SRS. This wasn’t a glimpse into the plight of trans men and women in America, but a narrative that was strange enough to put out as a joke — a defining characteristic that could be used to further classify him as a freak and thus justifiably shunned by the American film industry. Furthermore, his final text box describing his life after the events in the film chose not to take the high road, but instead highlight the fact that despite all his talk, he never actually transitioned. What the film fails to acknowledge is that transgender identities do not rest solely on SRS. One does not need to undergo SRS to be trans, and characterizing him as a gay man who dabbled in transgenderism, hurts not only the reputation of trans men and women who are seen as gay men who have gone too far, but also hurts the actual man behind the character. Also, as far as Ed Wood’s characterization goes, I think that his cross-dressing was used less as a tool to express individuality or a means to explain what it’s like to defy gender roles, but also was cheaply used as a tool to make him “weird”. The film clip that Professor Neubert showed in class from the real Ed Wood and his explanation of gender identity and what it means to separate gender identity and sexual orientation was much more respectable and taught the audience much more than the film about him did. I think Ed Wood’s explanation in that film was decades ahead of its time, and could be screened now and still be met with ignorance and intolerance. I only wish the film Ed Wood could have incorporated some of what made Ed Wood extraordinary, instead of highlighting what made him weird.

    As for what I liked about the film, I thought the style that Tim Burton used was incredible. The color grading, the special effects, the camera angles and movement, and the sound were all particularly extraordinary. I just think it’s a shame that he used all of these brilliant tools and creativity at his disposal to create a film that merely skimmed the surface of the real issues at hand and alienated the people who are depicted in the film and the others who share their identity.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. lala ⋅

    I was really looking forward to watching this film because I like Tim Burton’s films. I did not know that “Ed Wood” was directed by Tim Burton and it is one of his earliest works until I take this course. I think that Ed Wood, played by Johnny Depp, is one of the parts which shape Burton’s unique world. Tim Burton’s films tend to include unique and humorous characters such as “Edward Scissorhands” and “Alice in Wonderland”. Ed is an unique and comical character, and he likes to wear women’s clothes. Johnny Depp played such a strange character in this film, and his character attracted the audience. Also, Bela is also an important character in this film. I like the scene that Ed and Bela sit on a sofa and have a conversation in front of TV. These scene and unique characters make us be drawn into the story..
    In addition, it was much easier to catch what actors said because of the use of language. I sometimes couldn’t understand the conversations in other films which we saw in this course. However, “Ed Wood” uses contemporary English compared to other films.

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  25. Gleb Torubarov ⋅

    I am totally not a fan of Tim Burton’s style and films, but among them all I still enjoy watching a Nightmare Before Christmas & Ed Wood. While the first one takes me with its unusual story, the second one has something different to offer me.

    Usually by watching black and white movies people consider them to be old, but in case of Ed Wood, Burton could avoid tying his picture to a specific time, and the way how Wood looks like is suitable for 50’s and will be suitable for 2030’s. The director of photography really did his job, and the BW colors represent hope and sorrow through the timeline. Burton doesn’t look on Wood’s life through pink glasses – the movie is pretty sharp and gloomy. Unfortunately, the story leaves behind further story of Ed Wood, and neglect to mention his connection to porn business in the future; though I may understand why they did it.

    In conjunction, the movie about Ed Wood itself is not very catching actually, the stories of individual people are not revealed, and Burton uses just few lines at the end of the film to tell us what happened to them further. The reason for that is that it is a character drama, it is not about the story, but about people and their spirit. Another point for what I like this film is that Ed Wood is a black-swan symphony to human’s spirit, and the ability to believe in themselves, their goals, and dreams.

    The character and Johnny Depp playing it still grabs us and inspire to accomplish our dreams. Depp is good at creating very unusual characters, and Wood is not an exception. I find cooperation of Lugosi and Wood pretty symbolic: one is young and idealistic, another is old and desperate but they share a dream and learn from each other. The other bunch of actors also done well: it is hard to distinguish them from the real figures (probably due to make-up). Overall, I like this film, as some kind of pseudo-anthropology of Z-movies, but I definitely would not recommend it for everyone to watch.

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  26. Anna Duck ⋅

    Ed Wood was a B movie about B movies… kinda threw me off. Several parts of it were interesting, but nothing really seemed developed enough. All of the characters came off really underdeveloped; the struggling director, the transsexual, the pushover assistant, the girl whose better than her costars but get stuck with them, the washed up actor. There was only one distinction given to a character, and their actions in the film completely revolved around this one trait. It took what I assume was an attempt at showcasing odd people and turned them into bland, one-note props. It was very unfulfilling for a full length movie. Had it just been a short film, no longer than 45min, I feel like the characters wouldn’t have gotten old so quickly. About an hour in and I was ready to start wrapping it up, but the movie kept going for another hour! It was way too long to hold my interest.

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  27. simoastronaut ⋅

    I have to say that this was by far my favorite film that we watched in class. Johnny Depp’s acting, cinematography, and the contrast was absolutelly gergeous. Usually I never get dissapointed by watching Tim Burton’s movie’s because it’s always like a refreshing experience from other movies shown on the big screens. This one more so because of the themes that are related to the struggles of a filmmaker. I can sort of relate to those struggles being an aspiring filmmaker myself and it was interesting to see all the troubles Ed Wood has to face in order to get the movie going. For example,  how hard to find actors, find the money, and put everything together. And in the end you have hope that the film will be succesful and earn a profit back or otherwise you will be in a big trouble. That’s exactly like when I finish making a short movie after puttting lots of effort and time, then receiving a really bad feedback is just a terrible feeling. 
    After watching this movie, I became sort of fascineted about Ed Wood. Prior to watchin g this movie I had no knowledge about him, so I didn’t knew if Tim Burton was romanticizing him or it was based on facts. I checked on wikipedia and most of the facts reported matched what I saw. I was amazed because he’s actually a very peculiar individual not just the fictional character portrayed by Tim Burton. I can totally understand why there is a cult behind his movies because he created something unique, that he liked, regardless what people thought of it. That’s the major theme that the movie offers, in my opinion. The struggle between what the audience wants and what the director likes. All directors would like to have creative freedom but in the end money is more important because making a movie involves tons of money. At the end I think this movie is in favor of personal vision over mainstream because towards the end of the movie Ed Wood meets a famous director that encourages him to chase his own vision no matter what. The director said that the movie he made that he hated the most was the one that got the highest ratings, while the one that got the lowest ratings was the one he personally liked the most. 

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