Ed Wood (1994)
A peculiar coiffured man rises from a coffin to inform us that what we are about to see is based on “the secret testimony of the miserable souls who survived this terrifying ordeal”. It is the perfect start for a biopic about a filmmaker who believed all his films were perfect, yet achieved his greatest fame for being voted the Worst Director of All Time.
Filmed in glorious black and white, Tim Burton’s movie portrays Edward D. Wood Jr. as an eternally cheerful optimist who won’t let his lack of talent and finances stand in his way of committing to film such travesties as Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster and his masterpiece Plan 9 from Outer Space, which was given the Golden Turkey Award for being the Worst Film of All Time. Joining him in the endeavours was an assorted bunch of misfits that included a busty TV host, a professional wrestler and an ailing Bela Lugosi.
In his Academy Award winning role, Martin Landau is both funny and sad as the drug-addicted former horror star. His odd-couple friendship with Ed Wood, superbly portrayed by Johnny Depp, provides this biopic with a heart at its centre that complements the hilarious depiction of the underside of filmmaking.
In the words of Ed Wood himself, IT WAS PERFECT! (if perhaps a little long).
Most of the factual discrepancies in Ed Wood concern the depiction of Bela Lugosi, who -
was not known to use profanity, particularly in the company of women
did not die alone, having married a fan shortly before his death
did not own small dogs
was 73 years old when he died, not 74
did not live in the house that he was filmed in front of for Plan 9 from Outer Space. It was in fact Tor Johnson's house.
was not unemployed for the four years prior to meeting Ed Wood, having starred in Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla and Vampire Over London, both in 1952
Further inaccuracies have Bela telling Ed on their first meeting that horror movies today are all about giant bugs. That genre did not start until at least a year later, with the release of Them! (1954).