Ed Wood (1994)


“Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else’s dreams?” – Orson Welles

Number of Times Seen – 1 (6 Aug 2017)

Brief Synopsis – Based on the true story of a struggling director in 1950’s Hollywood who is trying to make a film that everyone will remember him for.

My Take on it – I am so glad that I finally got to see this film and I can now kick myself for having missed out on such a gem for 23 years.

I never thought much of the premise of this film and I’m sure that my personal feelings about Tim Burton’s dark films helped keep me away from this.

Burton actually does a great job here mixing his usually Gothic style with a serious kind of biopic and he gets the balance between the two just right.

Johnny Depp is quite good here and he plays the lead as a half insane half ambitious director who only wants to be remembered for his craft.

Depp’s performance is overshadowed by Martin Landau’s performance as Bela Legosi who is truly amazing in this kind of role.

I actually laughed out loud when he started his cursing diatribe because I didn’t expect it, but as the film progressed, I could understand his anger which is probably mirrored by so many once famous actors and actresses who were pushed aside when they reached an age that was perceived as being too old to bring in the crowds and cash.

I always assumed that Landau’s wins at the SAG, Globes and Oscars that year in the Supporting actor category was merely a lifetime achievement award or perhaps even a fluke, but I now know that he was truly deserving of such accolades for this role.

This film is also can be seen as a cautionary tale about the world of films because sometimes people try so hard to achieve fame that they end up getting it in places where they didn’t expect.

This is definitely a film, I’m gonna have to see again soon.

Bottom Line – Such a great film that I can’t believe I never saw it in the 23 years since it first came out.  Burton does a fine job balancing between a serious drama and his usually Gothic tales. Depp is quite good in this role, but there is no debate as to who steals the show here; Martin Landau is superb as Bela Legosi and I now know that his wins that year as Best Supporting Actor at the Sags, Globes and Oscars was no fluke.  This is also a great cautionary tale about the world of films and how sometimes it can be dangerous when making wishes about fame and fortune. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – When Ed Wood talks to film backer Old Man McCoy in the meat packing scene, Mr McCoy says “I got a son, he’s a little slow, but a good boy.” In real-life, Rance Howard’s son is Producer and Director Ron Howard. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy

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8 thoughts on “Ed Wood (1994)

  1. No one ever said that Landau’s win at the Oscars was a fluke. On the other hand, you can’t discount out of hand what percentage of his vote actually was a sort of “career award” for his long body of work. Whenever I think of Ed Wood (which isn’t often – I saw it when it was released and have never had any desire to revisit the movie) – I think of Landau’s win – and how I thought at the time, and still do, that Leonardo DiCaprio would’ve had my vote for his spectacular performance in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?”

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    • sorry Mike, wrong year… Landau was up against Samuel L Jackson for Pulp Fiction (a role and performance I truly love), Chazz Palminteri for Bullets Over Broadway, Paul Scofeld for Quiz Show and Gary Sinise for Forrest Gump (the winner in my book). Leo was the previous year.

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  2. Damn – you’re right. Thank you. And all these years I’ve been pissed off for the wrong reason. Leo had (IMO) even stronger competition in ’93 when Tommy Lee Jones won. I don’t know who I would’ve voted for in ’93 – but I still think Leo was excellent in Gilbert Grape.

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