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I like to wear women's clothes
by Jane Eagle
2006-10-09 10:27:51
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Ed Wood
Tim Burton
Touchstone Pictures, 1994

«This story's gonna grab people. It's about this guy, he's crazy about this girl, but he likes to wear dresses. Should he tell her? Should he not tell her? He's torn, Georgie. This is drama. »

Oh yes it is. Let’s talk my friends about this classic Ed Wood, which Tim Burton loved, critics also and the audience threw tomatoes at the screen, the few people - I mean - that consisted of an audience for this huge box office failure.

So. In the mid-90s the Edward Scissorhands’ director made a film named after another Edward, the Edward D. Wood Jr. He, Edward D. Wood Jr (what a name!), lived in the '50s and bared on his back the attributes of the actor, screenwriter, director, producer and the peculiar plus cute of the transvestite. He accomplished to combine tiny doses of talent with inextinguishable (cool word) optimism causing the creation of the most weird, hard featured and unforgettable “B” movies. Even though Eddie died in 1978, lost in a deep alcohol-juiced melancholy, his works are considered cult classics and meet hundreds of fans on earth and other planets.

Tim Burton happens to be one of his greatest fans. He expresses his good feelings by fine artistic film making, something which Wood never did. Tim chooses to depict the most innocent era of Ed’s life and cinema career, which reaches its highest peak with the notorious plus sweet (oohhh!), Plan 9 from Outer Space. Quite interesting are the secondagonists (did I just give birth to a word?) around the crappy director, like gothic Vampira (the nails and the boobs, wow) or gay Bunny Breckinridge (Bill Murray, you do gays so funny).

Dominant sense in the movie constitutes the bond that brings young Ed closer with weary drug-addicted Dracula, a relationship that adds drama to the story. Bela Lugosi, alone and bitter, tries to draw strength from Eddie’s burning optimism, while the aspiring film maker sees in the old actor’s eyes the sparkles of past horror glorious (oh, glorious) days. They will help each other regarding their posthumous fame, as Lugosi fed Wood’s ambitious plans and Wood enhanced Bela’s reputation: Lugosi did not only star in the greatest horror films, but also in the worst.

Burton’s movie filmed with excellent black and white photography, which emphasizes the whole Hollywood of the 1950's atmosphere and blended with Tim’s well-studied direction - scenes were shot in Citizen Kane style (Orson Welles was Ed’s role model, weird huh?) - bumps up the aesthetic quality of the film.

This stylish mercurial production captures the poetic absurdity of Wood's films and most of his unconventional life. The film is not historically accurate, containing many anachronisms, which, by the way, I overlooked and you should do too. We do know that good movie biographies are usually the ones that epitomize on the structural coherence of the story. These historic anachronisms are the ones that help Burton to demonstrate Ed Wood’s personality on the whole. After all, the movie stands beautiful for its completeness in meanings. Whether you face Ed Wood as a biographical film or not, it still consists of a gorgeous movie with genuine Burtonic humour and sensitivity, plus such a conscientious direction that holds you by the nose.

I mentioned above “the completeness in meanings”, these meanings agree with the classic Burton motives. The Hero exiled from society’s standard shapes, reflects in the level of dramatic plot the fundamental opposition between a conventional perception of the real world that always dominates in the environmental space and in his sincere innocence.

About the cast now: Each and everyone are lovable, Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jeffrey Jones, etc.

Johnny Depp, our shining star, attributes the role of Ed Wood with style and hearty enthusiasm. He has spoken occasionally for the way that shaped the character of goofy author: Thus (who has read Shakespeare?) Depp, as a talented mimic with exceptional synthetic ability used as his models Ronald Reagan, Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, and Casey Kasem (something about that man's voice…). Significant depth in his performance lends the sadness in his eyes - for that is to be blamed on his then unsettled personal life. Time for gossip, yeahh, he had just broken up with Winona Ryder… Sniff!

Martin Landau received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor on his swell performance as Bela Lugosi. Charismatic Landau composed the persona of the old man junkie with sadness and comical elements, weathering the chance of being grotesque. The Academy also awarded the movie Best Make-Up (transvestites, Dracula, Sarah Jessica Parker, you know).

This is a splendid choice in order to fill your evening: Ed Wood will make you laugh and will puzzle you too. Simply lay down on your couch, embrace a ball of freshly-made popcorn, don’t forget the Coca Cola and push the PLAY button.

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