VIDEO: Ed Wood (1994)

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It’s the debut episode of The DVD Shelf, where your host David Rose reveals, reviews, and recommends the movies you should have on your own DVD shelf! He takes a look at the Tim Burton film Ed Wood, starring Johnny Depp as one of the worst directors in history, and delves into Wood’s real life to see how it compares to Burton’s hilarious vision of the man. Plus: a look at the Ed Wood Special Edition DVD. All this and more on the show where movies are celebrated, not incinerated!

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  • This is my first time seeing your show and this was a great run-down of an already heavily talked about movie. Adding all the extras from the DVD definitely helped separate your review from other people’s reviews and it was overall a good video.

    Maurice LaMarche is known for his Orson Welles impression a lot as Welles himself (Futurama, The Simpsons, The Critic) and through Brain, but he’s an incredibly prolific voice actor and impressionist. His work on Futurama is some of my favourite vocal work of his (in fact many voice actors on that show I consider some of their best or most memorable work) and deserves all the plaudits he gets.

    Will look up some of your other stuff and look forward to more on this site. 

    • David Rose

      Thanks, Brewerman!

  • Joseph Tedesco

    Lol, I didn’t know Vincent D’Onofrio and Maurice LaMarche would collaborate to play Orson Welles! It’s a match made in heaven as far as impersonations of Welles goes! Definitely a Tim Burton fan, but it’s weird that I still haven’t seen the film! I know i’m going to have to check it out! Thanks David, and welcome to the Booth!

    • David Rose

      Thanks, man.  You helped get me here!

  • kennzeichen1d

    Very nice!
    Very well researched!
    Looking forward to be “meeting you again in the future”.

    But: “the upcoming ´Dark Shadows´?
    ´Been a while, hasn´t it?

    • David Rose

      Thanks! Yeah, that’s the only problem with talking about upcoming films.  I first released this episode before Dark Shadows was released.  It’s pretty old :P

  • Jason Withrow

    Ah, wonderful to see you here!  I caught your Roger Rabbit review when the Golden Critic noms went up and it was well worth the trip.  Glad to see you here, and since I brought it up, good luck at the awards!

    • David Rose

      Thanks!  Glad you liked it!

  • The_Stig

    *starts a slow clap* 

    A bit more info for ya: According to Bela Lugosi Jr (and unlike in the film, Bela was surrounded by friends and family when he died), Bela was nothing like how he was portrayed in the film. He didn’t sit around in his cape, he didn’t swear, he didn’t lie in coffins, he didn’t talk crap about Boris Karloff. In fact, Karloff and Bela, while never close friends had a hell of a lot of respect for each other. According to Bela Jr, his dad was a gentleman. Luckily these little inaccuracies don’t even come close to ruining this movie.

    I’ve always seen Burton’s Ed Wood as less of a biopic and more of a love letter to the man, who doesn’t even come close to being the worst director of all time. Boothers like us have ALL seen worse.I adore this movie, plain and simple and recommend it as a must-own for not just aspiring film-makers but for anyone who loves movies.

    • David Rose

      Yeah, I’d seen that.  Bela Jr. was pretty pissed about the film’s portrayal.  I’ll bet he was even more pissed about Landau winning the Oscar for his performance. Although, as you know, folks who really cared about the real-life versions of these people know that the film took heavy creative liberty.  I know there are plenty worse directors out there.  At least Wood had passion.  I think the worse directors are the ones who just coast by, hence my Michael Bay reference at the beginning :D

      • The_Stig

        Bela Jr might have been pissed about Landau’s portrayal, but he was by far my favorite parts of the movie. 

        Ed Wood had loads of passion, but he’s also the living embodiment of reach exceeding grasp. His talent fell way short of his vision.

        And you know what? That didn’t stop him. Ed Wood is a hero for anyone following a dream.

  • $36060516

    Great production on this.  I look forward to the spin-off “The Blu-Ray Bin!”

    • David Rose

      Thanks! Actually, quite a few of my reviews lately have been Blu-Rays. “DVD Shelf” is essentially just a blanket title for both formats.  For instance, had I waited several months to do this movie, I would’ve reviewed the Blu-Ray release, but when I first did this episode, there was no announcement of a Blu-ray release.

  • James Summers

    this movie and Hitchcock are probably my favorite movies about making movies

  • PopcornJockey

    Ed Wood, and now Hitchcock, are my favorite movies about making movies. nice work

    • David Rose

      Thanks!  I look forward to checking out Hitchcock.

  • Bob_in_Baltimore

    Welcome to the Agony Booth, and thank you for the well-made, well-researched, thoughtful review.  “Ed Wood” is one of my favorite movies, and I am glad that you enjoyed it as much as I did.  You covered everything important about both the movie and its (acceptable) departures from the truth, so I have just a couple of minor corrections and nit-picks:

    1. You mention (and dialogue in the movie also states) that Lugosi was addicted to formaldehyde.  Lugosi was actually addicted to paraldehyde, which is a very different chemical.  Paraldehyde was prescribed in the 1950s to treat insomnia caused by delirium tremens, but unfortunately could become addictive itself.  (It is no longer widely used, having been replaced by safer alternatives.)  If Lugosi had tried injecting himself with formaldehyde, it would have done nothing to get him high, and almost certainly would have been immediately fatal.

    2. The scene with the colorblind cameraman may indeed be poking fun at the black-and-white nature of the film, but it is also based on the truth.  Bill Thompson (Director of Photography for “Bride of the Monster”) actually was colorblind.  This is according to the excellent book “Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr.” by Rudolph Grey, which I strongly recommend to anyone interested in the truth about Ed Wood the man.  (And yes, the last chapters about Ed’s alcoholic porn director days are pretty depressing.)

    Anyway, welcome again to the Booth, and I look forward to more of your reviews.

    • David Rose

      Huh. I remember reading from several sources, most notably an interview with Tim Burton saying that Lugosi had gotten old by taking morphine and drinking formaldehyde, but that was the best source I had, so you could be right.  Who knows, maybe he only knew that by reading the script.  That’s cool, though.  I never knew that about the director of photography.  Thanks for watching!

  • Cristiona

    This was a pretty excellent “first” video.  I really enjoy the background information and it’s nice to see positive videos from time to time (even if this is the -Agony- Booth).  Looking forward to seeing more of your stuff!

    And I’ve always kind of admired Ed Wood. The poor bastard did what he loved, and was so damn earnest. He just wasn’t very good at it.

    • David Rose

      Thanks!  Technically, it’s my 15th episode. I just figured it was a good one to join the site with :)

  • Sofie Liv

    Wauw.. I really highly enjoyed this video! Ones again some-one else brought up the quality of the Agony booth.. I should really do some-thing about my own quality….

    What can I say.. i’m sort of the Ed Wood of the site, have absolute no budget, or even space.. make videos any-how X)

    I love this movie! absolutely one of my favourite Burton movies, it’s an absolutely beautiful movie and so sincere in its story. All though.. I do think the ending is bittersweet. Yes Ed Wood is happy, for the one hour his movie last, we the audience all-ready knows that the movie sucks and as the movie ends, his life wont go places. I like the bitter sweet ending, but it always did feel like that to me, bitter sweet, this fun, nice, passionate, loveable character wont have a good ending :/ 

    The Story of Ed Wood the figure is of cause also endlessly fascinating, and though I have heard it many times now, I am actually not tired of it at all, I liked hearing your re-collection of it ones again.

    • $36060516

      And just like Ed Wood you probably enjoy wearing women’s clothing…  shameful!

      • Sofie Liv

        Oh no! My secret has been revealed, my closest is filled with dresses, my drawer filled with lingery, I even wear nail polish in all kinds of colours! And Mascara every day! I am so ashamed.. I am even wearing a bra right this moments… Truly I am a disturbed mind and need help!

    • David Rose

      Thanks!  I too love the ending.  It perfectly encapsulates Wood’s delusional nature.  It was a personal victory for him, but yeah, he didn’t make a good movie…

  • Cheshire Cat

    Confused editing? Bad writing? Reusing the same actors over and over? Wow, Tim Burton WAS influenced by Ed Wood!

  • Dennis_Fischer

    A couple small corrections, David.  First, while Burton’s movie gives the impression that producer George Weiss never wanted to work with Wood again, in fact, they reteamed right away for a couple more movies.  Secondly, the flying saucers in PLAN 9 were not paper plates, but toy saucer models purchased from a local store. Third, THE GHOUL GOES WEST had a full script written for it, and the Lugosi scenes were filmed for it, but not enough was available to salvage the project, so Wood repurposed his footage into a new scenario.

    • David Rose

      Yeah, personally, I found a few of the facts challenging to research, so I just took what the movie was saying to heart.

  • Thomas Stockel

    I remember seeing this film in theaters and enjoying the hell out of it.  Landeau really is awesome as Bella and I thought the cast as a whole were terrific.  It’s too bad the film bombed because this is one of Burton’s best films.

    This was awesome, and I look forward to seeing your other videos!

    • David Rose


  • John Sco

    This was fantastic man. I loved every minute of it. Pure polished gold. Great to see that you’re still at it.

    • David Rose

      Thanks!  I appreciate it!

  • edharris1178

    Fantastic job, David.  Can’t wait for the next video.

  • romanl123

    One of the greatest movies ever. A must see.

  • James Elfers

    Bob Burns, Hollywood science fiction film collector extrodinare and sometime movie gorilla knew Ed Wood personally and Summed Wood up perfectly. “Ed Wood had everything needed to be a great director except ability and talent.”

    Or as Robert Browning put it, “A man’s reach should extend beyond his grasp or what’s a heaven for.”