TechnoFILE is copyright and a registered trademark © ® of
Pandemonium Productions.
All rights reserved.
E-mail us Here!
Ed Wood, the Special Edition,

Ed Wood, the Special Edition, on DVD

Tim Burton turns his lens on the man considered by many to have been the worst movie director of all time in this highly entertaining flick.

Ed Wood wanted to be a moviemaker, a storyteller, and he wanted to create legitimate works of art. The fact that his most famous film was “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” generally considered one of the worst movies ever made, is an indication of just how much talent he brought to the job.

But he brought other things, too, such as wit and optimism and, well, a penchant for cross dressing. Not that he was a homosexual, mind, he just – as Ray Davies put it so well a couple of decades back – "feels restricted in conventional clothes.” It was from a childhood trauma and it may have been weird, but it didn’t make him any less of a man.

Or so he said, but his “tendency” – and his habit of turning out crappy films - caused angst with his girlfriend and co-star Dolores (Sarah Jessica Parker), who eventually walked out of his life and undoubtedly managed to keep better control of her wardrobe from then on.

The movie covers Wood’s career from wannabe director through “Plan 9" and covers his first “major” directing effort "Glen or Glenda?" That, not surprisingly – at least as portrayed in Burton’s movie – was a film about a man who feels restricted in conventional clothes and is having trouble living with this secret.

Burton then moves on to “Bride of the Monster,” another schlockfest, before recounting the gestation of Plan 9.

Most of the action takes place off camera (as in off Wood’s camera, but “on Burton’s”), the behind the scenes story of a man driven to succeed but not good enough to pull it off. But he never gives up and manages to finance his projects one way or the other. And some of these quests for funding are also quite entertaining.

Johnny Depp is terrific as Wood, a charmer with a weird side, but Martin Landau steals the show with his bang-on portrayal of the aging and drug-addicted Bela Lugosi. His performance is worth the price of admission, and that isn’t meant to take anything away from Depp.

Also along for the ride is Patricia Arquette as Wood’s main squeeze after Dolores bugs out, Jeffrey Jones as Criswell, the fake psychic, Bill Murray as Bunny Breckinridge – a man who wants to be a woman. And watch for Vincent D’Onofrio in a small part as Orson Welles. He’s very good.

The whole movie is very good, highly entertaining and with many good laughs. Burton shot it in black and white and the movie looks like it's from the 1950’s – as if it were a Wood film itself, except that it’s good.

Burton has done a marvelous job of taking a topic about which few would undoubtedly care and characters who are uniformly smaller than life and making it work while making us care about them. And he faithfully recreates some of Wood’s “classic” scenes – so faithfully they look as if they were made on the original sets and with the original actors (well, almost).

The DVD is excellent. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, 16x9 TV compatible, the black and white image is sharp and clean. We wish fewer young people would find black and white abhorrent, because it really has nothing to do with the quality (or lack thereof – Plan 9 would still suck in color!) of the film in question.

And sometimes black and white is better! Take a look at the black and white vs. colorized “Night of the Living Dead” to see what we mean.

This special edition is supposedly extended and restored to the director's “original vision,” but since we hadn’t seen the original we can’t comment on what’s new and how it fits in. We can say, however, that nothing seems tacked on or superfluous and the movie never, ever drags.

Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, though in keeping with the 50’s feel there’s little if any surround use and while all three front channels do get used, the overall result is of “state-of-the-art mono.”

Extras include a running commentary by director Burton and "Lugosi himself,” Martin Landau, as well as a selection of deleted scenes. You also get some behind the scenes stuff hosted by star Johnny Depp, as well as a featurette on the film’s outstanding production design,

One interesting featurette is about the use of the theremin, a 50's vintage predecessor of the synthesizer, for the film's music.

And of course there's more, too.

Ed Wood, from Touchstone Home Entertainment
127 min. anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
Starring Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Bill Murray
Produced by Denise Di Novi, Tim Burton
Written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, directed by Tim Burton.


Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think













Support TechnoFile
via Paypal

TechnoFILE's E-letter
We're pleased to offer
our FREE private,
private E-mail service.
It's the "no brainer"
way to keep informed.

Our Privacy Policy