Ed Wood is known for being the worst director of all time. But his enthusiasm, optimism, and charisma have also made him a symbol of the energy and power required to believe in oneself. Tim Burton made him a biographical film in 1994.
Ed Wood was a film director, screenwriter, actor and producer who wanted more than anything else to see his creations on the big screen and create film history.
In a way, he did, but maybe not in the way he expected. After his death, critics said he was “one of the worst directors of all time”. They also called his film Plan 9 From Outer Space the worst of all time. This film served as inspiration for “z-class movies,” a worse version of b-class movies.
But over time, Wood became a cult figure in the film world. Important filmmakers such as John Waters and Tim Burton both listed him as an influencer. Was Ed Wood really that bad? His films left a lot to be desired: plot openings, script problems, microphones in the background, cardboard staging, and other things made them less credible.
The producers rejected Wood’s works, which meant that his films were made on an extremely cheap budget. This, combined with the poor technology of that era, was a big reason why his films were so poor quality.
But he was also not a perfectionist or ever unnecessarily worried about mistakes and inconsistencies. He just filmed believing that the films went beyond perfection and that everything was believable.
For all his flaws, there was something endearing, something unique about his films. At that time (in the 1950s), many of his subjects were perceived as provocative and were not taken seriously. That’s what happened with Glen or Glenda . Wood tried to tell a heartfelt, personal story about transvestism, but people considered it a comedy.
Ed Wood : Biography
In 1994, Tim Burton released a film about the life of Ed Wood. Burton has often spoken of the impact of b-grade films (especially horror films) on him. It can definitely be seen in his films.
Ed Wood was one of those influencers. Burton saw the film Plan 9 From Outer Space as a child and he pampered his memory of it. Wood’s films may be full of mistakes, but they are also full of enthusiasm. This is exactly the enthusiasm that Burton brought to his film about the director’s life.
Unlike Wood, Burton is a consistent director and the film is perfectly crafted and enjoyable in every way. He was assisted by an awesome screenplay and experienced Actors such as Johnny Depp and Martin Landau. But not everything went smoothly. When Burton said he intended to film the film in black and white, the producer decided to end the project.
He wanted to capture the essence of that era, Bela Lugos, as well as 1950s b-class films. To do that, the film had to be filmed in black and white. The film was not particularly successful when it was released in 1994. But it won an Oscar for Best Disguise and Best Male Year.
Both awards are due to one of the film’s protagonists: Bela Lugosia. This legendary actor came to life with excellent disguise and Landau’s incredible acting.
Many people consider Ed Wood to be Tim Burton’s best film. It has a lot of personality and stands out from other films he directed. He managed to convey the basic essence of the dark side of Hollywood and portrayed Lugos and Wood in a beautiful way.
Tribute to the movies
Burton’s film was more than just a tribute to Ed Wood. It was also a tribute to b-grade films. It’s an ode to movies, ’50s, black and white movies, and the“ old splendor ”of movies like Bela Lugos. It has magic and nostalgia right from the original, which contemporary films seem to have lost.
The style is pure Ed Wood. The film begins with a description of tombstones in which the actor’s name is inscribed with images of both tentacles and flying saucers. Then the ghostly music takes the viewer with them to a dark, mysterious room. The camera reveals a coffin below a gloomy window and a storm raging outside.
The coffin opens and Criswell, played by Jeffrey Jones, steps forward, telling viewers that they will see the true story of Ed Wood’s life. This introduction to classic b-class movies is incredibly captivating and culminates in the camera sliding and focusing on the window, taking the viewer into the depths of the storm.
The last scene of the film takes us back to the beginning, but vice versa. The camera zooms away and returns the viewer back to the room. Then the coffin closes. Simply magical.
Another scene we love is the Hollywood sign, which is seen several times in the film and is surrounded by darkness and lightning. It makes you wonder if the mecca of the movie is really as awesome as we’ve been made to believe. Burton creates a sharp contrast by showing us the symbol of a small, simplistic room, the dark side of Hollywood.
Ed Wood: the embodiment of enthusiasm
Wood was passionate and he felt a deep love for movies. But people always questioned his skills. He felt like Orson Welles and was sure he could do something huge, something significant. He was so confident in himself that he also worked as a screenwriter, producer and actor for his own film.
Burton’s film portrayed Wood as a heartfelt, innocent man with childlike hopes and dreams. Despite all the fierce criticism and setbacks, Wood never stopped smiling. He believed in himself and continued to make films despite the small budget.
He befriended Bela Lugos, a Hungarian-American actor known for his performance of Dracula. In that friendship, Burton saw a reflection of what happened to him with Vincent Price, a popular horror film actor to whom Burton gave the last role of this career, as Wood did with Lugos.
Wood was charismatic and his friends helped him endure the struggles of the film industry. In fact, they wanted to be baptized themselves to get funding from a religious group so Wood could shoot Plan 9 From Outer Space . His incredible optimism made him a cult figure. That church even worships him now.
Towards the end of his life, Wood’s optimism began to wane and he died as a poor alcoholic. Fortunately, however, Burton managed to capture his essence and create a film full of optimism and hope.
The film is nostalgic, and it makes us appreciate the strange director, maintain hope in the face of adversity, and reflect on what Wood’s life would have been like if he had been born in another era.