Monday, 4 October 2010

Film: Ed Wood, 1994, Tim Burton

Recently, as part of the Narrative Project, We watched the film Ed Wood, directed by Tim Burton.
This film is a biographical film, showing the live of Ed Wood, a director labelled by Hollywood as one of the worst.

Ed Wood is a iconic director in the Golden Era of Hollywood Sci-fi, either for good reasons or bad.
According to the film, Wood started as a director for small low budget theatre plays, realising that theatre was leading nowhere, he decided to take a step further into the world of cinema. In the search for a studio where he could work as a director, he found a small one with a rather peculiar project. It was supposed to be a sex change film, really in the need of a job, Ed Wood was ready to even tell his darkest secrets to get this job. However, it didn't help.
One day, when crossing a funerary home, He spotted Bella Lugosi, a famous old film actor, known for films such as Dracula or The Invisible Ray, searching for a casket to accommodate his death.
That day was marked by the beginning of a really important friendship for both of them.
Firstly, knowing Bella Lugosi, helped Wood to get the job he earlier failed to achieve, being a director of the sex change film. In compensation, He made Lugosi feature in his film.
Having a really small budget for the film and only a limit of reels to use, Wood had to work efficiently fast. At first, the film title was changed to Glen and Glenda, Ed Wood ,himself, add to feature as the trans-gender protagonist Glen and Glenda, which did fit quite well with his little secret of liking to wear women clothes. Bella Lugosi despite his old age, was the scientist, and considered by Wood, “The God” in this film.
Unfortunately, with such a tight budget, and little time to record, the film didn't receive any good reviews. As can be seen, it didn't help Wood's starting career as a director.
Although, many bumps along the line, Ed Wood was able to direct more films, Such as the Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 from Outer Space.
This two films were characterized once again by the use of a micro-budget or almost none, which really complicated the production of the film, it even delayed many times the production of the film.
Though not everything was lost, Wood never lost his passion for creating feature films, to help him with his films he found a crew of actors who would be considered the actors ever featuring in his films, with such names as Bella Lugosi, Ted Johnson and Vampira.
His films being really low-budget, were consisted of poor storylines, cheap acting, and cheap visual and sound effects.
These factors didn't help Wood good reviews about his films, and to date is considered one of the worst directors in hollywood, however he continued to make films.

Burton's biographical film is told in a rather interesting way, instead of being populated with facts and dates, Ed Wood's life is portrayed in a funny way, with a lot of humourous scenes, catchphrase etc.
Burton's tells in depth how Wood started his career as a director and the struggles he had to face to be able to release his films, however, we don't know how accurate he really was.
Exposing someone's little secret is quite unique, unless it was made up for this film and only for entertainment purposes, though it fitted quite well with the humourous yet struggling life of Ed Wood.
In terms of acting, once again is proved that Johnny Depp is a multi-talented actor, who can easily absorb and live in the skin of the character, despite humourous, his acting was actually very believable.
Another high point of the film, was the use of the 1940/50s film layout, a black and white feature taken us back in time to that era. The actors playing in the film had a resembled with the real-life people, from Orson Welles to Bella Lugosi, or even Depp's Ed Wood.

Overall, a really enjoyable film, exploring the life of one of the most iconic characters in cinema, for all the wrong reasons.

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